Gerald Francis Pillay was born in Melaka (then Malacca), Malaysia on 2 Dec 1934, son of Francis Joseph
Pillay @ Odiang, a Chitty Melaka, and Janet Thomas, a Eurasian. The family migrated to Singapore in 1949.
He is married to Mabel Narayanasamy, and they have two sons, Leslie married to Deirdre Goh, and Carl
married to Sharon Loh. The latter have one son, Lowen Christian.
Educated at St Francis’ Institution, Malacca and St Joseph’s Institution, Singapore, he studied at the
University of Malaya (then in Singapore), where he was a University Scholar. He won the Economics Book
Prize (1956) and graduated with the B.A. Honours Upper II in Geography (1957).
Mr. Pillay served in the Singapore Administrative Service from 1957. He was Deputy Secretary (Technical
Education) in the Ministry of Education when in 1974 he transferred to the newly formed Industrial Training
Board as Secretary. He retired in 1989 as the Deputy Director (Deputy CEO) of the board, which had
enlarged to become the Vocational and Industrial Training Board – predecessor of the present Institute of
Technical Education. Altogether he had 33 years in the public service.
In 1989, he formed GFP Consultancy. For another 17 years, until his second retirement in 2006, he
practised as a consultant in Technical Education, serving international agencies such as the
World Bank, UNESCO and ILO, employers and employers’ organisations. In 1992-3,
at their request for an External Commissioner, the Singapore Government nominated Mr. Pillay to serve on
Botswana’s Presidential National Commission on Education.
Mr. Pillay was Aide-de-Camp (Extra) to Tun Yusof bin Ishak, Yang di Pertuan Negara (Head of State),
He was twice Club President and four times a Cabinet Officer, of Lions Clubs International District 308 A1
and predecessors, 1973 to 2008
He was Secretary, Catholic Aids Response Effort (CARE) from 2007-10
He has been Adviser to the Peranakan Indian (Chitty Melaka) Association Singapore since 2016
The Chitty Melaka Story, Second Edition
by Gerald Pillay
The book provides an historical overview of the Chitty Melaka community (also spelt Chetty Malacca or Chetti Melaka). It does so through descriptive snapshots covering their beginnings in Sultanate times in Malacca through their different sojourns under four colonial powers, over five hundred years.The book also touches on their dispersion, their changing composition, and their future identity.
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