In 1979 and 1980, a group of well intentioned Mensans led by Ms Sakina Kagda made an application to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to register Mensa (Singapore). Unfortunately, this initial application was turned down and nothing more was made of it.
It was not until March 1987 when Mr Edward Vincent, then Executive Director of Mensa International (MI), visited Singapore before any further efforts to register the society were brought up again. Mr Vincent conducted a talk entitled “Mensa Talks and Test Sessions” and subsequently invited Singaporean members of Mensa International to a follow up cocktail party. During the party, held at the Hilton Hotel on 19 May 1987, he announced his intention of setting up a local Mensa chapter and asked for volunteers. Two gentlemen, Mr Narinderpal Singh Bhalla and Mr Kannan Chandran came forward and began to form the Protem Committee which aimed to get Mensa (Singapore) registered.
Over the next few meetings, other interested Singaporean members of MI joined the Protem Committee. The office bearers were Mr Bhalla (Hon. President), Mr Chandran (Hon. Vice President), Ms Daphne Wong Hsiao Ya (Hon. Secretary) and Mr Chen Fei Wei (Hon. Treasurer). Dr Gerald Wong, Mr Adrain Tan, Ms Bernadette Chung, Mr Thomas Yeo, Mr Toh Kok Seng, and Mr Steven Ong formed the rest of the committee.
While the Protem Committee had various concerns such as selecting an appropriate psychologist to conduct testing and obtaining funds for publicity, the priority centered on drafting the constitution to suit the requirements of both MI and ROS. With funding from MI, Lee & Lee Solicitors were engaged to guide the Protem Committee in the application to the ROS. This was done because the committee was not very familiar with the requirements and practices in the ROS application process.
On 3 January 1988, Mr Chandran informed the meeting that Mr Bhalla had stepped down as Hon. President because he was leaving permanently for Canada. The Protem Committee then elected Mr Chandran to take over from Mr Bhalla as Hon. President. During that time, Mr Png Kim Chiang also joined the committee. The Protem Committee submitted a formal application to the ROS to register Mensa (Singapore) in March 1988 and after waiting for more than a year, the determination and perseverance of the early founders finally paid off. Word arrived on 28 May 1989 that Mensa (Singapore) would become a reality.
Amidst the general jubilation, a decision was made to launch the society in a grand manner, with lots of activities to create interest and awareness, and to coincide with the inaugural general meeting. Again, with financial support from MI, advertisements were placed in the New Paper and the Straits Times to invite the public to take the admission test and join Mensa. On 15 October 1989, these initial test sessions began at Braddell Primary School, and the rest as they say, is history.