Note from Wales

dixie card wales1dixie tan card wales

Romans 16:2

Dixie … “one worthy of high honour … for she has helped many in their needs including me.”

We have known Dixie ever since she started coming to Penarth to visit her family. She is sadly missed, both as a friend, confidante and counselor to many in Imanuel Church.

Dixie was always generous with her time, caring and supportive. She was a great contributor to the Tuesday afternoon study group. She always had something interesting to add and gave insight from her wealth of knowledge of life and the Lord.

As for me, she helped and advised me at difficult times in my life, always coaxing my own solutions to problems rather than just giving her own suggestions.

I shall miss her enormously.

–Joanna and Quentin


Eulogy for Dr Dixie Tan by Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon

mrs yu-foo yee shoon dixie tan funeral

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I am humbled to be here to say a few words to honour the life of Dr Dixie Tan.

I got to know Dr Dixie Tan through the 1984 General Elections. Dr Dixie Tan, Dr Aline Wong and myself came into parliament through the 1984 General Elections, after an absence of women in parliament for 14 years.

Dr Dixie Tan, myself, and a few PAP Women supporters met frequently for lunches and Lohei. I remember that when I met her a few months ago, Dr Dixie Tan remained the kind, peaceful and amiable person I knew her to be when we first met. When faced with challenges in life, she handled it with grace, perseverance, dignity and courage.

In politics, she was very vocal and outspoken for the less fortunate & disabled, arts & humanities, and language policy. She always put her thoughts across in a gentle and genuine manner, and spoke with conviction. She voiced out her opinions honestly even if they were not popular.

When I met her recently, she told me that although she sacrificed some of her personal life and leisure for politics, it was worth it, especially when she was helping the disabled children. In politics, she was a strong advocate for children with Special needs. Dr Dixie Tan also helped found the Association for Educationally Subnormal Children in 1976 and participated in the Advisory Council for the Disable.

What we can learn from Dixie and remember of her is that she was very successful, but selfless, and didn’t look for rewards.

Dr Dixie Tan is an independent spirit who came from Malacca and did her further studies after marriage. Both her and her husband, Dr Tan Ngoh Chuan, were very outstanding in the medical field. As renowned cardiologists, together they performed Singapore’s first successful heart valve operation in 1971.

Admirably, despite their success, they both had a strong spirit of serving others, never focused on personal gains. As a career woman, with a family of 4 with 2 of them intellectually disabled, Dr Dixie Tan still agreed to join politics to serve the people. Eventually, due to her busy political life, she opted to focus on serving the people and closed her clinic.

After leaving politics, with a heart for learning and the people, Dr Dixie Tan went on to further her studies in Counselling. She went on to graduate top in her class in Counselling in the UK. Her spirit of serving and giving persisted even after retirement. When she returned from studies, she gave free counseling.

I am very pleased and happy for her that in her later years, she really enjoyed her time doing Charity work, and spending time with her daughter’s family in UK. She always spoke about her grandchild with joy.

Dr Dixie Tan stood out for her many wonderful character traits. Her charitable helpful spirit, independence and tenacity in life are things that all of us can learn from.

My sincere condolences to her family for losing their beloved family member.

My memories of Dixie

This was written by Yoong Schleif to Dr Dixie Tan’s daughters. Yoong’s  family was close family friends with Dr Dixie Tan’s family

taken in 1952 when Dr Dixie Tan was in medical school

taken in 1952 when Dr Dixie Tan was in medical school

I am saddened to hear of your loss and wish to express my condolences to you and the family. I apologize for this mode of communication as I do not know the family’s address but was able to read about you on the internet.

My father, Ho Cheong San, was your grandparents’ close friend and I have fond memories of visiting your grandparents in K.L., and holidaying in Port Dickson with them. Dixie was big sister Chun to me and we all knew and admired her accomplishments throughout her life. She was the apple of her father’s eye and could do no wrong, a well cherished and beloved daughter who clearly became the best mum one could ask for. You and your siblings were blessed to have her as your mother and I was privileged to have known her.

When she was in medical school in Singapore she would sometimes visit our HDB flat in Tiong Bahru and sing to me hymns with her clear and lovely soprano voice. I remember how happy she was at her engagement to Dick at the Methodist Church. Sometime in the 90’s your parents visited me in Baltimore – we did some sightseeing and one day she had a special request: “to eat an American hotdog”!  Through the years, we maintained occasional email contact – since she knew my family background well, I could confide in her and ask for advice on child rearing issues, etc. She was always positive in her outlook and advice.

– Yoong Schleif, USA

Homily from Reverend Kang Ho Soon


Dixie’s Affirmation of Faith


I stand here, not as Dixie’s Pastor, but as her friend. Yes, I was her Pastor at the Barker Road Methodist Church some 40 years ago, and yes, I was her Pastor at the Paya Lebar Methodist Church some 30 years ago. However, today, I bring God’s message as her friend. Indeed, we have been friends these past 40 years.

This afternoon, I join you in kindred spirit, in the presence of God, to remember our beloved Dixie, and to give thanks to Him for her life and witness on Earth.

Memories of Dixie

Dixie has been an inspiration to all of us. She made a difference in the life of many people, regardless of their station in life. People in low places as well as those in high places have been touched by her gentle, gracious and caring ways. A good number of people shared their memories of Dixie during the wake services and at the earlier part of today’s funeral.  Others have penned their thoughts of her in the Facebook and in the blog “dixietanmemorial”. Still others have sent text messages about Dixie to Grace and Jacinta. The tremendous outpouring of grief and love is evidence of how God has used her many gifts to reach out and transform lives.  Someone has summed up very poignantly Dixie’s impact on all of us: “She was like an angel sent from God to touch the lives of many”.

The Last Leg of Dixie’s Life Journey

Perhaps, not all of you have had the opportunity to see Dixie when she was about to begin treatment for her tumour and when she was nearing the end of her life journey. My wife, Yeok and I were given the honour of doing so. Our two meetings with Dixie have helped shape my thoughts for the sermon today.  I would like to describe the meetings in reverse order, beginning with our visit when she was nearing the end of her life.

Five days ago, in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday 22 April, as I was praying for Dixie, something stirred within my heart.  I felt the urgings to see Dixie before leaving for the Malaysia/Singapore Combined Methodist Pastors’ Retreat in Malacca.  About 3 p.m. Yeok and I went to the Singapore General Hospital to visit Dixie. In the ward, we were received by her daughters Grace and Jacinta who were keeping a devoted watch over their mother. Dixie was in a coma but her countenance was peaceful. Yeok and I held her hands and I laid my right hand on her forehead as we prayed for God’s grace, peace and love to be upon her. Ten hours after our visit, word came from her Grace that in the wee hours of Wednesday 23 April, Dixie returned home peacefully to her Lord. I travelled to Malacca with mixed emotions – with a heavy heart for the loss of a very dear friend, yet grateful to God for blessing Dixie with eternal rest and freedom from the shackles of suffering.

Let me now re-visit our meeting with Dixie on Tuesday 11 March. Late in the evening of that day, Yeok and I visited Dixie at her home in the Bishan Park condominium. Some days before our meeting, Grace told us that Dixie was scheduled for an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for her brain tumour on 12 March. We decided to have a meal with her on the eve of the treatment. We were also told that Dixie missed Japanese food. We bought a big box of sashimi and sushi, as well as freshly-wrapped local ‘popiah’ just in case she craved for it too.  Before dinner, Dixie requested that we hold a simple worship service as she was unable to attend church from the time she was taken ill. Grace produced two United Methodist hymnals (UMH) and copies of the Bible. I suggested that everybody chose a hymn, and these were the hymns chosen:

  • Dixie chose UMH 472: “Near to the Heart of God”,
  • Grace chose UMH 451: “Be Thou My Vision”,
  • Yeok chose UMH 369: “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine” , and
  • I chose UMH 407: “Close to Thee”.

Regarding the hymns chosen, what stood out for me was Dixie’s choice – with a strong voice, she sang with child-like confidence “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”

After our communal prayer, I suggested, almost spontaneously, that we turn to Psalm 46 on UMH 780 to sing collectively the First Response and read the text of that Psalm as printed. As we were singing and reading, I felt there and then that Psalm 46 had ministered to her – it affirmed that her faith in God was not in vain. As for me, I saw very clearly, in my mind’s eye, that Dixie’s life is a powerful witness and testament to three statements of faith found in Psalm 46.

What are the three statements of faith so clearly evident in Dixie’s life?



Dixie’s First Statement of Faith

The writer in Psalm 46 does not say that God will prevent disasters, tragedies, troubles and all manner of suffering from entering our life. Neither does he blame God when these happen. He sees God, not as a protector, but as a real (“very present”) source of comfort, solace and strength when bad things occur.  Dr Mark Chan, a lecturer at the Trinity Theological College puts it beautifully and succinctly when he analysed this verse:

“God is not our escape FROM trouble. Neither is He our shield AGAINST trouble. Rather, He is an ever-present help IN trouble. God does not trouble-proof His children; He proves Himself in times of trouble.”

Throughout her life, Dixie faced many difficulties and challenges, yet she did not flinch. One of her relatives wrote these words in the Facebook: “Dixie was an amazing woman who went through such horrible things. She was thrown into nightmare after nightmare, and while most people would not have survived, she conquered her fear and the fear of others, and did what was right.”

I am convinced that Dixie’s life is an embodiment of the ideas in Psalm 46 verses 1 – 3.  She had consciously turned these ideas into her own statement of faith and was therefore able to face those challenges:

   “God is my refuge and strength,

     a very present help in trouble.

     Therefore, I will not fear,

     though the earth should change,

     though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

     though its waters roar and foam,

     though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

Dixie’s Second Statement of Faith

Dixie’s second statement of faith from Psalm 46 is this: “I will dwell in the city of God forever.”

To the psalmist, the city of God is a metaphor for the kind of security that he finds in God. History has shown that man-made cities rise and fall as a result of wars and sheer decay. However, the city of God, by contrast, will remain forever. The psalmist paints a graphic picture of the desolation brought upon man-made cities by powerful forces such as tsunamis and earthquakes, but to him, the city of God will not be destroyed! Again, he painted the contrast between the inexorable destruction wreaked by the waters of the angry sea with the rejuvenating power of the waters of the river running through the city of God, to underscore the message that there is joyful life for all those residing in God’s city.

Dixie dwells in that city! If you were to ask Dixie for directions to that city, she would, without doubt, tell you that it is inside you. It is that spiritual sanctuary where God dwells. It is in the soul of a human being. How can I be so confident that she is living in that city? Throughout the brief period of her illness, when the cancerous cells seemed to be relentlessly consuming her body, Dixie’s spirit never wavered. Inwardly, she grew from strength to strength. She remained courageous, gracious and serene right till the end. That was how everyone saw her. Indeed, she lives on in that city!

The way Dixie bore her illness reminds me of Dan Richardson, another fervent believer in Christ. Like Dixie, his body finally succumbed to the ravages of cancer.  At his funeral, a poem which he wrote during his illness was read out. It says:

   “Cancer is so limited…

     It cannot cripple love,

     It cannot shatter hope,

     It cannot corrode faith,

     It cannot eat away peace,

     It cannot destroy confidence,

     It cannot kill friendship,

     It cannot shut our memories,

     It cannot silence courage,

     It cannot invade the soul,

     It cannot reduce eternal life,

     It cannot quench the Spirit,

     It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.”

Dixie will definitely say “Amen” to the poem because she dwells in the city of God.

Dixie’s Third Statement of Faith

Dixie’s third statement of faith is this: “I have learned to be still, cease my striving, for I know that God is in control”.

This statement is derived from verses 8 to 10 in Psalm 46 where the psalmist asks us to “…behold the works of the Lord…” (verse 8) and “Be still, and know that I am God! (verse 10).

In my interactions with Dixie, I never failed to notice her calm demeanour and her lively sense of humour. It speaks of someone who knows that no matter what happens to her, God is in control. I can hear Dixie singing the hymn penned in 1873 by Horatio Spafford:

    “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

      When sorrows like sea billows roll;

      Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

      It is well; it is well with my soul.”


What then did Dixie’s life affirm?

  • God is myrefuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;
  • I dwell in the city of God forever;
  • I have learned to be still and know that God is in control.


APSN Tribute to Dr Tan

apsn tribute

The following tribute was first published on the APSN website –

When the Association for Educationally Subnormal Children was established in 1976, we only had one school, Katong Special School.  We had no funding from any of the Government bodies, except that the Ministry of Education would provide us with reverted school buildings for our use and the secondment of one teacher for every 25 students on our register. Thus our founding President Dr Dixie Tan spent much time in speaking to service clubs to help raise funds for us, and to attract suitable people to join her in the management of the Association.

Dr Tan was a tireless advocate for the welfare of the intellectually disabled, as she was only too familiar with the problems faced by such people as both her sons suffered from this condition.  She was a member of the Advisory Council on the Disabled in 1988 under Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam when the latter was the Education Minister.  Her inputs had resulted in more progress being made for special education and the interests of the disabled.

At the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN, as the Association was subsequently renamed), we remember her fondly for her personal warmth and caring nature, to her colleagues on the Board, to the staff, parents and students of the schools.  Although she retired from APSN some five years ago, she was very interested in APSN.  She had intended to attend the official opening of the new premises of Delta Senior School by the Education Minister Mr Heng Swee Kiat on the 15th of this month, but informed us that she could not as she was “not feeling well”.  She did not want to distress us by disclosing her medical condition, so this in a sense encapsulates the person Dr Dixie Tan was, always having consideration for others, and service before self.

My colleagues and I on the Board of APSN, and all the staff, parents  and members of APSN, are saddened at Dr Tan’s passing.  We are comforted however that her Christian faith had sustained her in times of adversity and made her the very fine person she was.

– Dr Francis C. Chen

More information about the Association for Persons with Special Needs can be found at

Dr Dixie Tan was my Doctor

subianto leonardi

Subianto Leonardi, from Jakarta, Indonesia, was a patient of Dr Dixie Tan when she was in private practice as a cardiologist. When he found out about her funeral in the newspaper, he made it a point to attend the wake to pay his respect for his former physician. His condolence message is below, together with a photo taken with Dr Jacinta Tan and Dr Grace Tan, daughters of Dr Dixie Tan

With deepest condolences to Dr Dixie. Our prayer for her that she is accepted by God Almighty.

Forgive all her sins in life and we also pray that the love of God enfolds her relatives in strength during their journey through grief

– Subianto Leonardi