IT was with much pain and sadness that I learned of the death of Azah Aziz on July 9. During the 1970s, I shared with my Mak (deceased) how I admired and looked up to the bond between Azah and her daughter (now Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the current Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia), especially when they were photographed together at Zeti's graduation.
She was a mother icon to me. Very loving. Now, it appears as a "double blow" for me, as I have also lost my Mak as well, on May 4. I cannot help feel the loss of a great figure.
I have been an avid fan of Azah as I love the arts, literature and Malay culture and tradition. I read and followed her work closely, and one fine day I got to know her niece in the late 1970s.
In 2009, I had this wild notion to ask Azah, through her niece, to grant me the honour of launching a book, which I had written and dedicated to my mother.
Without much persuasion, and to my greatest delight, she granted my wish. With the aura that she exudes, she kept my family agog especially my late Mak who had not seen her in person until then.
Azah was always immaculately dressed in traditional baju kurung. I will remember her as a graceful and beautiful lady, full of gentleness and elegance, qualities that add up to her motherly and natural persona.
She will be remembered always and I will remain inspired by her model family.
It would be apt to close with a pantun from one of her works:
Tinggi bukit gilang gemilang
Air laut tenang-tenangan
Budi Puan tidakkan hilang
Tetap abadi dalam kenangan.