Daisy Tan



Daisy Tan Quee Hong née Lim (b. 12 February 1926, Singapore–d. 26 January 2004, Singapore1) helped establish the Singapore Women’s Netball Association (now Netball Singapore) and led it for 25 years.2 She also co-founded and headed the Asian Netball Federation.3 Despite minimal resources, Tan brought the world championships to Singapore in 19834 and established a national team, with netball becoming the most popular sport for Singapore girls.5

Early life
Tan was the second of six children of an accountant and a teacher.6 Tan learnt to play the game in her youth at her church and at Raffles Girls’ School. Her education at the latter was interrupted by World War II. During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942–45), Tan, her sister and father were employed by Echigoya, a Japanese textile company. She then learnt stenography before working at Seletar Naval Base as a clerk.


After the war, Tan worked for the British army as a typist in Goodwood Park Hotel before joining the Young Women’s Christian Association as a secretary around 1949. In 1950, she was employed by Fraser and Neave (F&N), where she was a stenographer8 and then a secretary until 1979.9 Thanks to the recreational facilities on River Valley Road that F&N offered its employees, Tan organised and captained a netball team from the clerical and typing pools in the early 1960s.10

Major accomplishments
Development of netball in Singapore
Tan’s team was one of many in Singapore, but the popular sport needed a national body to regulate and promote it. In 1962, she and over 20 other clubs and teams founded the Singapore Women’s Netball Association (SWNA).11 Tan served as one of the association’s two vice-presidents from March 1964 until 196612 when she became its president and served in that capacity until 1991.13 In 1981, the organisation was renamed Singapore Netball Association. Since 1997, it has been known as Netball Singapore.14

The SWNA was an amateur affair, with Tan conducting meetings at home, doing much of the administration herself and relying on volunteers including her siblings.15 Besides being an efficient administrator, Tan was also a motherly figure to the players,16 and the SWNA was said to enjoy a level of camaraderie.17

In addition to organising schedules and training coaches and umpires,18 the SWNA bolstered the game’s expansion by encouraging commercial firms to sponsor teams in the business houses league,19 as F&N did.20 It was said that Tan was driven by “her dream was to give every girl in Singapore a chance to play netball”.21 Tan also tried to interest men in the game, but this endeavour did not take off.22

In 1972, the National Sports Promotion Board launched the interconstituency games programme but excluded netball. Tan subsequently persuaded the board to add netball to the event, and it became one of the most popular games.23 She managed the Serangoon Gardens club, which won the first interconstituency title24 when the netball tournament was introduced in April 1977.25

Tan also fought the government’s removal of netball from the school calendar in 1971, which had resulted in declined interest in the sport for a time.26 In 1980, the Ministry of Education reinstated netball in its sports calendar,27 thus forming a wider base for future selections for the national team.28

Singapore netball at the international level
According to Tan, one of the SWNA’s major achievements was the establishment of the national team in 1965, for which she was variously coach and manager throughout the years. The team did not find great success during this time, but still attempted to play abroad every year so as to sharpen their skills and learn from stronger teams, supported by fundraising activities.29

Although the team could not always attend the world championships, Singapore was named host of the World Netball Tournament, which was held from 11 to 24 June 1983.30 Singapore became the first Asian country to participate in the tournament, and the first in Asia to host it.31 Tan chaired the organising committee and persuaded F&N and the distributor of the tournament ball to contribute S$40,000 each towards the cost of the tournament,32 which was held at Kent Ridge at the National University of Singapore.33

During the 1985 World Netball Tournament, the Asian Federation of Netball Associations (ANF) was formed34 with Tan as its first president.35 Her tenure helming the ANF followed closely after her presidency of the International Federation of Netball Associations from 1979 to 1983.36 Prior to this, she had served on IFNA's council between 1967 and 1991.37

Recognition and retirement
Tan worked at all these different levels in a wholly voluntary capacity. Her efforts were recognised when she was awarded the Public Service Medal from President Wee Kim Wee in 1990.38 She also received a Certificate of Commendation from the Singapore Sports Council in 1979, and IFNA’s Service Award in 1987.39

In early 1992, partly due to poor health, Tan stepped down as president of the Singapore Netball Association, as it was known by then,40 and was succeeded by Ivy Singh-Lim.41

Her retirement was commemorated by the first Daisy Tan Challenge Trophy season opener (now known as the Daisy Tan Netball Carnival), which inaugurated the new netball centre in Kallang.42 After years of playing on temporary courts plagued by poor lighting or drainage, unsatisfactory surfaces and killer litter from public housing blocks,43 the centre marked a new era in Singapore netball. By 1992, netball had become the most popular team sport for women in Singapore.44

Tan died in Singapore on 26 January 2004, 10 days after officiating at her eponymous carnival.45

Family
Husband: Geoffrey Tan Hoay Djin (b. 13 July 1916, Javad. 1 May 200746), a magistrate.47
The couple had four children.48



Author

Duncan Sutherland




References
1. Untitled: Daisy Tan-Lim Quee Hong. (2004, January 27). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Big loss for Netball Singapore. (2004, January 28). Today, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Aid for world netball meet. (1983, April 18). Singapore Monitor, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 1). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/6]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/15]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
5. New netball centre boosts sport. (1992, July). Sports, 20(6), 18. (Call no.: RSING 796.05 S)
6. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 2580/20/1]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
7. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/1]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/2]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

8. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/1]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/2]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 4). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/4]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/ Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

9. Tan, J. (1979, August 5). Singapore almost certain to host next World meet. New Nation, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/2]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/7]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
11. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, November 21). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/3). Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Koh, N. (1974, February 2). Getting ready for new season. New Nation, p. 11; Netball S’pore tour by Ceylon and Aussie teams. (1963, April 1). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. SWNA officials. (1964, March 3). The Straits Times. p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Netball pioneer Daisy Tan dies at 78. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Netball Singapore. (n.d.). Netball Singapore celebrates 50th anniversary. Retrieved 2017, January 12 from Netball Singapore website: http://www.netball.org.sg/news/item/470-netball-singapore-celebrates-50th-anniversary
15. Tan, J. (1980, February 24). It’s Daisy again – for 15th time. New Nation, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Netball pioneer Daisy Tan dies at 78. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/7]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, February 5). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/19]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
18. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/13]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

19. Tan, J. (1980, June 22). SWNA score another first. New Nation, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/8]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
21. Untitled: Mrs Daisy Tan. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 8). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/12]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
23. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 8). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/11]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

24. Chew, C. (1985, May 8). Serangoon Garden bow out after 8 years. Singapore Monitor, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Tan, J. (1977, February 20). It’s Daisy Tan again as president. New Nation, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 8). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/10]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
27. Tan, J. (1980). Schools ask SWNA for rule books and coaches. New Nation, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. New netball centre boosts sport. (1992, July). Sports, 20(6), 18. (Call no.: RSING 796.05)
29. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 4). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/6]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/7]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/9]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
30. Aid for world netball meet. (1983, April 18). Singapore Monitor, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Netball Singapore. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved 2017, January 6 from Netball Singapore website: http://www.netball.org.sg/about-us
32. Aid for world netball meet. (1983, April 18). Singapore Monitor, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/13]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
33. Netball Singapore. (n.d.). Netball Singapore’s past presidents. Retrieved 2017, January 6 from Netball Singapore website: http://www.netball.org.sg/roll-of-honour/past-presidents
34. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 8). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/11]. Retrieved from Singapore: National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
35. Netball pioneer Daisy Tan dies at 78. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Service awards 1987. (1987, December). Netball, 10(3), 3. (Call no.: RSING 796.32095957 N)
37. Netball pioneer Daisy Tan dies at 78. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Singapore. Government Gazette. (1990, August 9). National day honours. (G.N. no. 2248). Singapore: [s.n.], p. 6678. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SGG)
39. Service awards 1987. (1987, December). Netball, 10(3), 3. (Call no.: RSING 796.32095957 N)
40. New netball centre boosts sport. (1992, July). Sports, 20(6), 18. (Call no.: RSING 796.05 S)
41. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2001, December 12). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/7]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/14]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, February 2). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/19]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
42. Daisy Tan carnival. (2005, January 8). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/14]; Zarina bte Yusof. (Interviewer). (2002, January 16). Oral history interview with Lim Daisy Quee Hong [MP3 recording no. 002580/20/15]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
44. New netball centre boosts sport. (1992, July). Sports, 20(6), 18. (Call no.: RSING 796.05)
45. Netball pioneer Daisy Tan dies at 78. (2004, January 28). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
46. Untitled: Geoffrey Tan Hoay Djin. (2007, May 3). The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
47. Mr. Tan makes legal history with a first… (1966, September 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
48. Untitled: Daisy Tan-Lim Quee Hong. (2004, January 27). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
International Federation of Netball Associations. (1985). International Federation of Netball Associations: Report of the sixth conference 11th—24th June 1983. Singapore: Singapura Press, pp. 57—58.

(Call no.: RCLOS 796.32 REP)

Interviews with prominent women in sports officialdom: Daisy Tan, president of SWNA. (April 1988). Sports, 16(4), 10.
(Call no.: RSING 796.05 S)

Tan, C. (July 1978). History of netball in Singapore. (1978, July). Netball, 1(2), 2.
(Call no.: RSING 796.2095957 N)

Tan, D. (1989, June). President message [sic]. Netball, 12(2), 2.
(Call no.: RSING 796.2095957 N)



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Tan, Daisy, 1926-2004
Sports officials--Singapore--Biography
Sports and games
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Netball
Women netball players--Singapore--Biography