Friday, 14 March 2008

Goodbye my dear Peggy

I have lost a very dear friend, Datin Peggy Taylor. During the precious few months of our friendship, she had taught me a lot. She was 83. Like a history teacher, she narrated events leading up to Merdeka and beyond; the chitchats with the late Tunku, the contents of letters and communications with prominent politicians from both sides of the political arena, the social scene of the sixties and the seventies and many, many more that are now safely recorded in my tapes and notebooks.

And as I sat there by her feet, with the fire crackling in the background, I couldn't help but felt a sense of awe and admiration for this feisty lady who had witnessed the independence of three countries, hobnobbed with prominent leaders and celebrities and even made a mark in our country's political scene. Peggy, who was at the Padang to witness the raising of the Malayan flag on Independence Day fifty years ago and who later became a member of ADMO (Alliance Direct membership Organisation) for citizens who were not from the Malay, Indian or Chinese community, would be most amused by what is happening in post election Malaysia today. I can almost here her say her famous phrase: It is so kelam kabut! Like bangsawan!!

I remember the days spent with her, typing away as she dictated her memoir on her life in Malaysia. I remember her suitcase full of letters, pictures, documents: That's my history. That's my book, she had said to me.

Peggy left for South Africa last month to concentrate on writing this memoir. She phoned to say goodbye before leaving for the airport. But on 12th March, I received the sad news of her death.

And now I remember Morrie's beautiful quote from Tuesdays with Morrie: Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Rest in peace, my dearest Peggy. Your words, your laughter will live on with me forever.

An article in the NST about Peggy.
Over the past few months, I have written a lot about Peggy and how she had touched my life:

Shamelessly Plugging Peggy
History in a suitcase
Weekend of sorts
A Painting incomplete
Magical Merdeka Moments

An Update and Message from David Kirkness in Johannesburg

Dearest Kak Teh, and to all of Peggy's many friends, I've just returned home from her funeral service, St Charles' Church, Victory Park, Johannesburg, at which I was privileged to speak in her honour. Marilyn had some beautiful words to say, and sung one of her own compositions "We Never Say Goodbye". What a true Taylor she is. A moving moment in time for me. On her behalf, thanks to all for so many wonderful wishes in this past week.


LifeBloom said...

Sorry to hear the passing of this wonderful lady with a big heart and uncommon generosity. My condolences to her family. Thank you K Teh for telling her story.

Kak Teh said...

Lifebloom, thank you. She has certainly enriched my life and I am feeling so selfish that she has gone and now not able to share more with me. She has had a good life - a wonderful life.

Alang said...

Kak Teh,
So sorry to hear that and thank you for the stories of this wonderful person. It was the point where I'd started reading your blog and was blown away by the history behind it. It was the point where I know more about Malaysia compared to what I've read from our Malay history books. My condolences to her family.

mutalib saifuddin said...

i first got to know her through your blog. then i told my parents on it and they said that this eclectic woman has witnessed all the precious moments that perhaps my generation never had. Merdeka, Formation of Malaysia, etc etc. And that ADMO.

And i found out on her passing through your article in NST this morning.

My condolences to her family, and may she rest in peace.

By the way, i think her memoir project should be on, despite her passing.


wonda said...

My condolences to her family. Her life itself is history.

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

Sad to hear the passing of Datin Peggy Taylor.

In her own way, am sure she was a sobering influence on Malaysian history, esp during its infancy. Well respected by both sides of the political divide is a very rare accomplishment.

Able win trust from both sides speaks volume of her trustworthiness and wisdom as a person.

She definitely leads a very blessed life and Malysia is well-blessed by her presence during its formative years.

This little I know from your accounts and vague memories from gleaning the papers during my school days.

Kak Teh said...

zuraini, thank you. I was very much inspired by her. Although i met her quite recently, we became very close and if we didnt meet, we spoke on the phone. She had taught me a lot.

mutalib, insyaallah, somehow, her stories will be told.

Kak Teh said...

wonda, thank you.

hi&lo, when i look back at the interviews and the quotes, i felt a shiver up my spine. I can almost imagine what she'd say - so kelam kabut!

NorAiniJ said...

My condolences to the late Datin Peggy's family. Thanks to her and you Kak Teh, for sharing those wonderful historic stories.

Kak Teh said...

Thank you NJ. Peggy shared a lot with me before she went. I am thankful for that.

ikanbilis said...

my condolences to you and the family of Datin Peggy Taylor.

i knnow the feeling as i lost a great idol with the nickname Muse Monkey. She was a great artist, poet and storyteller and 3 days after arriving in USA, she died at the age of 67, and i made promise to her to have a cup of coffee when she offered to meet if i ever step in the States.

now that i am back, i still remember her as the friendship from online blogging friends became so special to the level she became an idol.

its good to know how wonderful person she was and may she rest in peace.

Kak Teh said...

Ikan Bilis, thank you and I am sorry about yr loss too. It is sad when we lose someone - but i think we have to let go. One day.

[danial][ma] said...

hej! kak teh...a deepest condolences of the passing of a great friend, Peggy. May she rest in peace. I hope one day all the late Peggy's priceless stories shared with you can be documented.

p.s.: can i have the address of Jeanie in York. Hope to taste her noodle curry...will go to York next week...cheers!

Kak Teh said...

danial ma. thank you. and yes, Jennie has gone back to Penang for a breaka nd will be back in York in time for the finals on 7th April. Anyway, just google jennie cook and that will take you to her guest house in York. her details are there.

Theta said...

My deepest condolence to her family.
And for your loss of a great friend.

She's such a rare gem in Malaysia's history having witnessed many momentous events.

David Kirkness said...

Having heard so much about her,I eventually met Peggy on Tuesday 5th February, when my best friend - her daughter Marilyn - and I collected her at the airport here in Johannesburg. Over the last few weeks I've come to know and love her indomitable spirit and infectious humour ... we shared conversations, lunches, and some good jazz at our local hostelry. I'm honoured to be speaking at her funeral service next Tuesday 18th. Datin Peggy arrived in my life too late, and left too soon.

Kak Teh said...

theta, thank you and she was indeed a gem.

David, thank you! I dont know how you found my blog, but THANK YOU! My husband and i are wondering when the funeral will be held. And now I know. And I really want to get in touch with Marilyn - convey to her our condolence. I will miss Peggy very much, I will miss her phonecalls in the mornings, I will miss meeting her at Battle station and the chitchats with her. I will miss her. I worried abt her taking the flight back - and somehow I suspected that she wanted to go back there for the last time.
You said it well: She came into our lives too late and went too soon. Too soon, Peggy!

msiagirl said...

Dearest Kak Teh, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. Lots of hugs from me.

[danial][ma] said...

hej! thanks kak teh...

Kak Teh said...

m'siagirl, thanks and hugs to you too!

danial ma - no problem!! or you can come to london cos there's melati with very good curry noodle!

J.T. said...

Hello Kak Teh

I would not have known about Datin Peggy Taylor if not for your writings about her. Thank you.

It is sad to lose such an extraordinary individual for she took with her an ocean of wisdom and experience. But Morrie was right, "Death ends a life, not a relationship." She will live on in the hearts of those who loved her.

My condolences to her family and friends. May she rest in peace.

wanshana said...

So sorry to hear about Datin Peggy Taylor's passing.

She was an amazing lady indeed.

My condolences to her family.

ManaL said...

kak teh, there goes another national treasure, finally laid to rest, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but as the old saying goes: harimau mati meninggalkan tulang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama, and her name is definitely forever etched in the history of malaya and to those who have known her closely like yourself. I am a big drama queen when it comes to close friends nak beranak and so, u can imagine how deeply affected i would get to see someone so dear to be in demise.

May she continues to smile up in heaven.

I think many malaysians only perceive the british during pre-merdeka as the colonials only. Maybe kak teh can publish a collected stories of those like Datin Peggy on their fond memories of malaya.

Kak Teh said...

j.t. sometimes i wish I had spent more time with her. But that is being selfish. But when i meet someone with lots of interesting things to tell, that's how i feel. Now Peggy is gone. And certainly in a better place. Thank you.

wanshana, than you to you too.

manal, insyaallah, I will do what I can. It was Peggy's wish to see her story out in print.

MrsNordin said...

Just read this. Sorry to hear about her passing.

Kak Teh said...

mrs nordin . Thank you. You would have loved her had you met her.

Mama Rock said...

kak teh, sad to hear the passing of Datin Peggy Taylor. at least i manage to seeyour interview with her which was aired sometime last year.

Kak Teh said...

mama rock, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this sad news. How true it is as said by you, 'Death ends a life but not a relationship".

Ordinary Superhero said...

My deepest condolences for the passing of a great friend. It's a loss to our nation too.

nadya.s said...

My deepest condolences, kak teh. she live her life to the fullest.

may she rest in peace.

u take care too, kak teh.

Kak Teh said...

Judy, thanks. It was morrie's word: Death end a life, not a relationship. so true.

osh, thank you. a loss indeed.

nadya, thanks. take good care of yourself too.

David Kirkness said...

Dearest Kak Teh, and to all of Peggy's many friends, I've just returned home from her funeral service, St Charles' Church, Victory Park, Johannesburg, at which I was privileged to speak in her honour. Marilyn had some beautiful words to say, and sung one of her own compositions "We Never Say Goodbye". What a true Taylor she is. A moving moment in time for me. On her behalf, thanks to all for so many wonderful wishes in this past week.

Kak Teh said...

Thank you, David. Please keep in touch and keep memories of the Peggy we know alive.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
Not many people know who Peggy was. When the copy went in, one of the sub-editors asked me, "Who is she?" He hadn't heard of ADMO before.
We all need a refresher course on the local history.

Kak Teh said...

That is true Fauziah. But the older generation do know. When I went back for Tun ismails' book - the Reluctant politician, Tauwfiq Tun Ismail remembers her as AUnt Peggy. Musa Hitam knows her. Dato najid would remember - in fact a lot of the offsprings of leaders of that generation - Marina included knew her as Aunty Peggy. ADMO was such a brief period in Malaysian history - I asked Syed Nazi and many top editors abt ADMO - not many had bulbs flashing. But Chamil wariya covered quited a few of ADMO events and was in touch with Peggy just before her death. Some events in history were rewritten or wiped out - I think this is the case with ADMO.

Nazrah Leopolis said...

salaam kakteh,

i have just been unblocked from blogspot.

truly very sorry for your loss.datin peggy's legacy lives on forever, especially in you.