100 memorable Malaysian Women - Part 6


  • Lifestyle
  • Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011

MARINA CHIN

Age: 55

IT was her combination of winsome looks and speed that made Chin such a star on the track and off it.

She was the national women’s 100m champion as well as a top hurdler in the late 1970s. During her career as a national athlete, she won seven SEA Games gold medals and a gold and two silver medals in the Asian track and field competition.

She is most remembered for winning both the 100m and 200m hurdles at the 1977 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

She was further named Sportswoman for the Year two years in a row, 1976 and 1977.

Chin, who was actively involved with the National Sports Council to draw up strategies for athlete training, is currently the principal of the Bukit Jalil Sports School.

Appointed to the post in 2007, she is the first former national athlete to head the school.

DATUK M. RAJAMANI

AGE: 67

The “Queen of the Tracks” was the first Malaysian woman to win a gold medal in any sport at the Asian Games when she won the 400m in record time at the 1966 Games.

From 1964 to 1968, she also won seven gold medals in two SEA Games and represented Malaysia at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

Rajamani was awarded the coveted National Sportswoman of the Year Award two years in a row, in 1966 and 1967.

Following an accident at the age of 24 in 1968, Rajamani retired from athletics and took up coaching, and saw the emergence of sprint star Marina Chin under her guidance.

SHALIN ZULKIFLI

AGE: 33

Shalin Zulkifli started bowling at nine and in 1994, she became the youngest player and first Malaysian to win the Ladies Open of the Kent Malaysian All-Stars. This professional 10-pin bowler and former Asian number one has raked up numerous wins in national and international tournaments, winning the hearts of her countrymen.

She holds a degree in Sports Science that specialises in Sports Psychology and Coaching. Her latest project is the baby she’s expecting with her husband, Azidi Ameran. In fact, she was pregnant during the recent Asian Games in Guangzhou. The women’s team, led by Shalin, won one bronze medal.

SYLVIA NG

AGE: 61

Ng made history at the 1978 Commonwealth games in Edmonton, Canada, by becoming the first Asian woman to win the badminton singles gold, as well as the first Malaysian female athlete bag a gold in the history of the Games. She was also the only player to win a gold medal for the country at the 1975 SEA Games. She was honoured as Sportswoman of the Year twice, in 1975 and 1978, and won the national badminton champion title five times before she retired in 1980.

In 2004, Ng was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame.

JUDY CHENG-HOPKINS

AGE: 60

The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support is an ex-St George’s girl from Penang.

Cheng-Hopkins holds a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Beloit College in Wisconsin, a Masters in economic development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and diplomas from Universite de Haute, Bretagne in France and Harvard University.

She applied for a job with the UNDP and received her first posting to Africa in 1982 where she spent a decade in Zambia and Kenya.

From Africa, she was reassigned to the World Food Programme (WFP) headquartered in Rome where she headed the WFP for Asia, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans.

From 2006 to 2009, she was made Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, in charge of operations in over 118 countries.

On August 17, 2009, she was appointed to her present position by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a role she earned after having served 30 years in the UN in many different areas.

She is married to Dr Thomas Hopkins, a consultant in development work, and they have two daughters.

ROSE CHAN

AGE: 62 (DIED MAY 26, 1987)

It was a “wardrobe malfunction” that launched the career of the country’s bestknown striptease artiste. Her bra snapped and the audience went wild. At 27, she changed her dance routine to a striptease act and a Malayan legend was born.

Rose Chan’s real name was Chan Wai Chang. She was born in Soochow, China, in 1925 to acrobat parents and moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1931. She did not receive much schooling, and started work in a buttonmaking shop at 12. When she turned 16, she was married off to an older man for some cash and jewellery, all taken by her mother.

When her marriage broke down, she was left alone and penniless. She went to work as a cabaret dancer at The Happy World in Singapore, to spite her husband. She became an accomplished dancer, even winning a dance championship and a beauty contest.

She was now in great demand, dancing in several cabarets at a time.

She started her own touring show in Malaya. As the Striptease Queen, she pushed the boundaries even more, introducing more and more risque acts into her repertoire.

She became internationally famous. She was married four times.

In conservative Malaya, Chan often had to avoid arrest for contravening indecency laws.

By the 1970s, it had become impossible for her shows to go on. She performed her last striptease in 1976. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1983 and spent her last few years in Butterworth, Penang, leaving behind a husband, a son and three daughters.

MONA FANDEY

AGE: 45 (DIED NOV 2, 2001)

Her name is synonymous with black magic and murder most foul. She killed a politician in such a gruesome and spectacular fashion that it is almost the stuff of fi ction.

Mona Fandey was a self-styled bomoh who had lured Batu Talam assemblyman Datuk Mazlan Idris into her lair with promises of, presumably, political invincibility through the use of black magic.

Mazlan paid her RM500,000 and gave her 10 land titles as security for the remaining RM2mil “fee”. The ritual was set for July 6, 1993. Mona, her husband and her aide murdered and decapitated him and chopped his body into 18 pieces which they buried on their property. After that, the couple went on a shopping spree before the law caught up with them.

During the 65-day trial, Mona and her Rasputin-like eyes gained further notoriety when she appeared always fashionably dressed with bright red lipstick in court. She seemed to love playing to the gallery, smiling for the camera and the public developed a morbid fascination with her.

The trio was found guilty and sentenced them to death. They were hanged on Nov 2, 2001 at Kajang Prison, Selangor.

In 2006, a movie, Dukun, which was based on the sensational case was made, starring Umie Aida. But it was never released due to “sensitivities”.

DR HARTINI ZAINUDIN

AGE: 40s

Hartini Zainudin is well known for her work with marginalised children. She cofounded Rumah NurSalam, a 24-hour crisis centre for children under 18 in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. The centre provides abused, neglected, abandoned and trafficked children with basic needs and counselling and protection services.

The centre is a collaborative effort between Yayasan Salam Malaysia and the Department of Children’s Welfare, KL.

DATUK SHEILA MAJID

AGE: 46

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the career of Datuk Sheila Majid, or Shaheila Abdul Majid, the youngest of eight siblings.

She sang in her teens and released her first album Dimensi Baru in 1985. Many more albums followed, most notably Legenda in 1990.

She performed at the Tokyo Mysic Festival in Japan, the first Malaysian singer to penetrate the Japanese market. She is vastly popular in Indonesia as well, and held her 25th anniversary concert in Jakarta to sellout crowds.

In 2000, Sheila became the first Malaysian singer to perform with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Today, the mother of four who is still passionate about singing but has also become an entrepreneur, owning a spa, a rehearsal studio, Jerneh skincare products and an artiste management company.

JOANNA KAM POH POH

AGE: 37

Regarded by many as Malaysia’s funniest woman, Joanna Kam Poh Poh has been a comic for well over two decades. She started in the late 1980s when she had a comedy/ cabaret act in one of KL’s most popular night clubs at the time, the Boom Boom Room.

Joanne was known not just for her bold, bawdy humour but because of her size: she was a whopping 99kg at the time.

Now, 30kg lighter, she is still a riot and continues to perform and recently joined forces with Jit Murad and Bi Bi Kay Poh to stage The Real Comedy Queens.

WOOK KUNDOR

AGE: 108

Here was the ultimate “cougar”: centenarian Wook Kundor from Kuala Berang, Terengganu, who made headlines worldwide when she married Mohd Noor Che Musa, 70 years younger than her, in 2005. Wook Kundor claimed he was her 23rd husband.

Despite being separated for about a year while Mohd Noor underwent drug rehabilitation, the couple reunited last July. However, he was re-arrested a month later for a drug offence.

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