Singapore's Indian-origin blind champion of disabled no more

Chandran-Dudley breathed his last yesterday in a hospital where he was taken to after complaining of chest pain.

PTI| Updated: Dec 31, 2015, 11:15 AM IST

Singapore: Ron Chandran-Dudley, a Singaporean of Indian-origin who championed the rights of handicapped both here and abroad, has died of a massive heart attack. He was 81.

Chandran-Dudley breathed his last yesterday in a hospital where he was taken to after complaining of chest pain.

He is survived by wife Rena Chandran-Dudley, 87, who said it was the worst attack she had seen him experience as he earlier had heart problems for which he underwent a quintuple bypass.

Blinded at the age of 19 from a kick to his head during a rugby match, Chandran-Dudley was one of Singapore's key pioneers, having established many of the handicapped welfare associations here.

He went on to graduate from the London School of Economics and returned home to champion the cause of disabled people.

As a student he had aspired to be a brain surgeon and had been accepted to study medicine.

His social work includes establishing Disabled People's Association (DPA) in 1980 in Singapore and Disabled People's International (DPI) in 1981.

He was chairman of the DPI has affiliation to the United Nations and more than 90 countries.

"Ron was among the pioneers who saw beyond disabilities and paved the way for social inclusion, even when it was not a well-known concept," Ang Bee Lian, veteran social worker and director of social welfare at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, said.

"He shared selflessly of his understanding, of how to support people, to overcome their limitations. May our loss of Ron rekindle afresh our commitment to journey alongside fellowmen who have disabilities," added Lian.

DPA vice president Judy Wee said in mourning Chandran-Dudley's death that he did what needed to be done to make change happen.

"Even in the 1980s, when little was known about disabilities, he had the vision and foresight to realise it was an important area to look into," The Straits Times quoted Wee as saying.

Chandran-Dudley's book 'Tales From The Islands of Singapore - as told by Ron Chandran-Dudley' was published in 2001. The same year, he was given the Singapore National Day Award.

In 1998, the couple lost their only 26-year-old daughter due to a tumour on her pituitary gland.