All entries for Friday 21 October 2005

October 21, 2005

Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood 1940–2005

The Malaysian First Lady passed away yesterday 0755 Malaysian time.

I didn't know about it until many hours later – when my flatmates mentioned it, casually, in passing. I read the newspaper and I get the impression that people at home are wondering whether Monday will be a holiday.

And I couldn't help but feel sad, sorrowful.

I've never met her, I've never met the PM. But I guess what made me feel sad is this – if I ever do become famous or achieve a higher status back home, I would really have liked to meet her. They say the media distorts people's perception of a person – people as portrayed by the media may not be as nice or goody-two-shoes as people think. But in this case I believe it. Because she avoided politics. She chose to stay out. She and her husband seem like the most humble people around in the higher echelons. And all these stories that came out. No different from other First Ladies around the world you might say. Or of many people who are famous.

But what came out from reading those writings about her is this – sincerity, motherly care.

So yes, I trust what the newspapers reported about her. More stories are emerging now of how reporters and politicians and normal folk remember her. The petty stuff she did for them. As well as her major charitable works (the First Lady in Malaysia naturally heads an organisation consisting of ministers' wives who work on the charitable and giving side of things).

It feels strange to be in a half mourning state for someone I don't know. And as patriotic as I consider myself to be, I would never have expected to feel this so personally.

Her last words couldn't have been more emotional. "Take care of everybody and the family."

October 2005

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