The Star Malaysia

Book on Tunku’s thoughts launched

‘Dia­log’ com­prises his ‘Time­less Think­ing’ and di­verse re­sponses to them

- By FA­TIMAH ZAINAL fa­timah@thes­tar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: At age 87, wheel­chair-bound for­mer prime min­is­ter Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man Pu­tra Al-Haj ig­nored doc­tor’s or­ders, to at­tend the lay­ing of the Sarawak War­riors Mon­u­ment’s foun­da­tion stone in Kuching.

Then, in the midst of a down­pour there, the Tunku who was not sched­uled to ad­dress the crowd, in­sisted on giving a speech, in which he called on Malaysians to unite and be loyal to the coun­try.

Tears ran down his cheeks dur­ing the ad­dress and he con­cluded it by rais­ing his arm and shout­ing “Merdeka” three times.

As he boarded a plane to re­turn, he re­marked, “Now I can leave this world.”

He died six days later.

This is one of the anec­dotes recorded in a new an­thol­ogy, Dia­log: Thoughts On Tunku’s Time­less Think­ing.

Aimed at fos­ter­ing new con­ver­sa­tions among Malaysians, Dia­log com­prises his say­ings and the fresh re­sponses to them from a di­verse range of lo­cal per­son­al­i­ties.

Among them are for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Tun Musa Hi­tam; MP and se­nior politi­cian Tengku Raza­leigh Hamzah; co­me­dian Harith Iskan­der; Tun Siti Has­mah Mohd Ali, wife of for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad; for­mer na­tional foot- ballers Datuk Soh Chin Aun and Datuk San­tokh Singh; rap­per Al­timet; and the cast of OlaBola, a 2016 Malaysian foot­ball film.

This book is the first of its kind be­cause it puts to­gether 23 es­says from con­trib­u­tors be­tween age five and 90, bun­dled with colour­ful il­lus­tra­tions by art stu­dents from The One Academy.

In the book, foot­ball leg­end Datuk Peter Ve­lap­pan re­called how the Tunku once gave the shirt off his back and money from his wal­let to a beg­gar.

“He never wanted to see any­body poor, with­out food or dis­eased. He was the best ex­am­ple of hu­man­ity,” said Ve­lap­pan dur­ing the book’s launch at Bangsar Vil­lage II yes­ter­day.

He also shared the Tunku’s wis- dom in hold­ing the Merdeka Tour­na­ment in Au­gust 1969 af­ter the May 13 race riot.

“The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia de­cided not to or­gan­ise the event that year.

“When I went to tell him, he told me to go to the Asian na­tions in his name and in­vite them for the tour­na­ment,” he said.

Dur­ing the event, more than 50,000 Malaysians of all races poured into the sta­dium to support the na­tional team.

“That was the event that brought to­gether all Malaysians,” he said.

Tunku’s grand­daugh­ter Datin Shar­i­fah Menyalara Hus­sein noted how, as a district of­fi­cer, he spent a lot of his own money to open up Pu­lau Langkawi.

“His pa­tri­o­tism started way be­fore he was the prime min­is­ter,” she said.

A fact known by few, Shar­i­fah said the first line of the na­tional an­them, “Ne­garaku, tanah tumpah­nya darahku” was penned by Tunku him­self.

Also in the book is how Tengku Raza­leigh had asked Tunku why he did not buy a new car and in­stead drove around in a jalopy.

The Tunku told him that he did not want to waste public money.

Dia­log is an ini­tia­tive by ad­ver­tis­ing agency M&C Saatchi Malaysia and the In­sti­tute for Democ­racy and Eco­nomic Af­fairs.

An ex­hi­bi­tion, pro­mo­tions and spe­cial screen­ings re­lated to the book is go­ing on at Bangsar Vil­lage II un­til May 28.

The 270-page hard-cover re­tails for RM110 and is avail­able at the ex­hi­bi­tion and in ma­jor book­stores.

 ??  ?? Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Tunku’s el­dest daugh­ter Tunku Khadi­jah Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man (fifth from left) pos­ing with con­trib­u­tors (from left) Ro­jak Pro­jek co-founder Faye Lim, Pro­jek57 founders Collin Swee and Syed Sadiq Al­bar, In­sti­tute for Democ­racy and Eco­nomic...
Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Tunku’s el­dest daugh­ter Tunku Khadi­jah Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man (fifth from left) pos­ing with con­trib­u­tors (from left) Ro­jak Pro­jek co-founder Faye Lim, Pro­jek57 founders Collin Swee and Syed Sadiq Al­bar, In­sti­tute for Democ­racy and Eco­nomic...

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