Mr Ong was born on 22 January 1936. He was the second eldest of five children, with one elder sister, one younger brother and two younger sisters. His English-educated father felt that Chinese is important if one wants to make a success in life, and especially business, so he sent all his children to Chinese medium schools. Mr Ong completed his primary education at Chong Zheng Primary School (1949) and graduated from The Chinese High School in 1955.
Mr. Ong’s passion for the culture is marked by his vision for Singapore as a centre for the arts, later known as Renaissance City. This led to the establishment of organisations promoting Singapore’s artistic, cultural and history heritage, like the National Heritage Board and National Arts Council. As an arts patron, Mr. Ong initiated the President’s Charity Art Exhibition and Concert, and President’s Start Charity.
Mr. Ong’s artistic and cultural contributions as an active arts practitioner, is demonstrated by his own calligraphy works, which are featured in the exhibition.
His love for Chinese calligraphy probably was developed during his years in the Chinese medium schools he had practiced the art probably till the last day of his life. In 1990, he demonstrated his calligraphic skills by writing a seven-word couplet at the First International Calligraphy Exchange Exhibition organised by the Chinese Calligraphy Society of Singapore. In 1999, during his visit to his alma mater The Chinese High School, he wrote on the spot four Chinese words ‘宾至如归’, which means to make the guests feel at home.
His demise is a great loss to the Singapore art community.
毫无疑问的，新加坡第一个民选总统王鼎昌先生（1936 – 2002）喜爱书法。他是新加坡的第五任总统，任期由1993年九月2日至1999年九月1日。