By Neville Spykerman (The Malaysian Insider, 8 February 2010)
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — If Tunku Abdul Rahman were still alive he would not only be 107 years old but a blogger too, said his grand-daughter Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan today.
“He had a vision of a different Malaysia and if he were alive he would take up blogging,” said the 25-year-old programme coordinator with Wild Asia, referring to the online journal popular among the younger set.
She pointed out that Tunku had always been vocal and even after he resigned as prime minister, he didn’t stop.
“He had a column in The Star and was famous for criticising Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad”.
Sharyn, who was among three generations of Tunku’s family at the launch of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, at his memorial in Jalan Dato Onn, pointed out he was a proponent of “unity and racial acceptance.”
She said he would have been happy to see the dawn of the Internet which allows the public to express their views.
On calls by the Government to make Dec 6 Tunku Abdul Rahman Day in memory of his death in 1990 and his struggles for the nation, Sharyn quoted an editorial in The Malaysian Insider which stated that it was 20 years too late.
“I don’t see the point,” she said, adding the Tunku already has a memorial which no one comes to.
“I came here on a Sunday and it was empty, I believe it’s the same as other memorials.”
She said it was no use commemorating Tunku’s memory for a day, if his legacy, what he stood for and believed in had been forgotten and erased.
“It’s like Valentine’s Day or Hari Pahlawan (Warrior’s Day), if you love someone or if you appreciate our ex-servicemen who fought for the country, you don’t express it just for one day and forget the next.
“The younger generation are not being exposed to his vision, because history has been written by those in power,” Sharyn added.
When he was alive, she said he treated everyone equally and fairly, regardless of a person’s race or religion.
She said he never hid his vices, including his love for cards, horses and a nightcap.
“He never claimed to be a saint,” she said, but added he remained a Muslim who fulfilled his responsibilities.
Sharyn was five when Tunku died in 1990 and remembers mourners in a “sea of white” coming to pay their respects.