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In fond memory of Mr Reggie Thien
15 June 2014

HCA Hospice Care would like to honour Mr Thein, an unsung hero and key figure in our history.

Mr Thein played a major role in guiding the progress of HCA since 1987 – before HCA had been recognised as a registered charity and before hospice and palliative care were accepted by the government. He was a faithful and humble volunteer who served HCA’s cause untiringly for 16 years.

A senior partner at Coopers & Lybrands (now merged with Price Waterhouse to become PricewaterhouseCoopers), he contributed his skills as an accountant by volunteering as the council’s Honorary Treasurer until 1994.

In 1995, Mr Thein became Council President, leading HCA through some of its key milestones: the move to our current premises and opening of the Day Hospice Centre in 1995, the formation of the Singapore Hospice Council and HCA’s 10th Anniversary in 1999.

Under Mr Thein’s leadership, HCA coped with an exponential increase in patients as hospice care began gaining traction in Singapore. In fact, the number of patients HCA served doubled over Mr Thein’s term as President from 1995 to 1999.

“Reggie was the steady hand behind all this since 1987. He kept us on the straight and narrow, watching over our money and making sure it was safe and legal,” said Dr Cynthia Goh, former  HCA Council President, who had served in the HCA Council alongside Mr Thein.

Dr Goh shared an anecdote about Mr Thein’s experience during the then-mandatory visit all council members had to make with the home hospice nurses.

As the home care nurses were aware of Mr Thein’s privileged background, they mischievously decided to play a prank on Mr Thein by bringing him on a home visit to a patient with the poorest and most troubled of social conditions. Despite the culture shock, Mr Thein’s immediate reaction was to request that the nurses take his teen-aged children with them to experience what he had seen.

We should be mindful that the privilege of enjoying good life and health entails a responsibility to the community. This is what noblesse oblige is all about.

“We should be mindful that the privilege of enjoying good life and health entails a responsibility to the community. This is what noblesse oblige is all about,” he wrote in his President’s note in 1999.

This defines the many contributions he made, not just to HCA, but to rest of the community. With his commitment and strength, he has made a lasting mark on HCA that will last on, a legacy entwined in the very roots of the organisation.