Wee Kim Wee – President, Diplomat, Journalist
The late Dr. Wee Kim Wee rose from humble beginnings to excel as a journalist, diplomat and eventually serving as the President of the Republic of Singapore between 1985 and 1993. Before his presidency, he was High Commissioner to Malaysia, and Ambassador to Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Journalism molded Dr. Wee Kim Wee into a people-oriented President who could understand and address the needs of the citizens.
Dr. Wee passed away on 2 May 2005.
His groundbreaking contributions to Singapore’s media landscape
Dr. Wee worked in the news media for many years. He started humbly as a clerk in the circulation department at The Straits Times. In 1966, he was the first Singapore journalist to enter Jakarta and interview the then new Indonesian leader Suharto and Foreign Minister Adam Malik. His journalistic efforts played an important role in improving relations and ended the confrontation between Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. He also covered the civil war in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) and demonstrated the highest qualities of a professional journalist in keeping the public informed of global issues.
Aside from his journalistic beginnings, Dr. Wee was also the Chairman of the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. Media scholars cite him as critical in shaping Singapore’s media scene.
He once said this of the profession, “Journalism has given me so much and more, allowing me to meet kings and emperors, famous Hollywood actors and actresses, taxi drivers and sweet potato sellers.”
Gone but never forgotten
By naming the School of Communication and Information after Dr. Wee Kim Wee, NTU hopes to inspire its students to emulate his noble example and continue to uphold his values.