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The Singapore Law Gazette

Zaminder Singh Gill

Not all of you would have known or even met Zaminder Singh Gill. Zaminder was a lawyer in private practice. Unfortunately, Zaminder went through a difficult time in his personal and professional life recently. He passed away on Monday morning after suffering a heart attack in a prison cell. He died alone and in extreme despair. I am told by his close friends that as he stood in the dock to receive his sentence, he was in tears and cried out that he had lost everything.

It is not for me to talk about what he did or why he got himself into such a situation. I will say that I know and believe that Zaminder was a good man. Circumstances and bad decisions caused him strife and was his ultimate undoing. I choose to remember the many, many good things he did for people around him. I should start by talking about when I first met him as an eight or nine-year-old. He was a few years older than me but living in my neighbourhood. He took a kindness to me and organised football games with my friends in the void deck of our block. He was always seen as a friendly older brother to all the boys and always had a kind word of encouragement for all of us.

I got to know him again when he entered practice. I never got a chance to work with him but we would often sit and have a coffee or iced lemon tea in the old Subordinate Courts’ Bar room. He was funny and quick to make jokes even at his own expense. As practice got busier over the years, I saw less and less of Zaminder. I would occasionally see him in the corridors of the Court or even sometimes in the Bar room. However, I never took the time to stop and sit down with him. I deeply regret this. In my mind, I always thought I could catch up with him later. I never really did. When Zaminder got in trouble with the law, I approached his close friend Shievar to offer any assistance I could, but it was too late. I still feel that Zaminder could have avoided many of his troubles if he had talked to more of his friends, including many of us here. I still feel if I had made a little more of an effort to sit with him or chat like we used to, I could have helped him or got others to help him.

In a week where I have lost other friends and colleagues, and where I have seen heart-touching tributes and obituaries, there is a chilling silence on Zaminder’s passing. For those of you who knew him and even those who did not, I ask that you take a moment to think about Zaminder and the many other Zaminders in our life. We often take our friendships for granted thinking “I’ll have coffee another day“. Let’s remember Zaminder for the good man that he was. May he rest in peace.

Shashi Nathan
Withers KhattarWong LLP

The Law Gazette is the official publication of the Law Society of Singapore.