Inspiring hope and resilience for peace

SGM Dove Dance Group performing a cultural dance at the event.

COMBINING the efforts of civil societies and non-governmental organisations (NGO) is necessary within local and global environments, says Malaysian Red Crescent Society chairman Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah.

“This works well not only for humanitarian issues but also arts and culture, particularly in literature,” she said at the launch of the Malay-language edition of Kaneko’s Story: A Conversation with Kaneko Ikeda.The book narrates the life experiences of Kaneko, wife of the late Daisaku Ikeda who was president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) which originated in Japan.

Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz said she found the words in the book deeply moving as they reflected Kaneko’s steadfast determination and her dedication to peace.

“Let us embrace the spirit of Kaneko and take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to peace, understanding and harmony,” said Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz.

Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz (centre) with (from left) Asmah, Nagaishi, Koh, Zainal Abidin, Hamzah and Nurul Nabilah at the launch. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The StarTunku Puteri Intan Safinaz (centre) with (from left) Asmah, Nagaishi, Koh, Zainal Abidin, Hamzah and Nurul Nabilah at the launch. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

The launch of Kisah Kaneko: Perbualan dengan Kaneko Ikeda at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM in Kuala Lumpur was organised by the organisation’s Malaysian chapter, Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM).

In his speech, SGM general director Koh Sia Feai said, “For over seven decades, she had been his steadfast partner and comrade, weathering life’s trials and triumphs.”

According to Koh, Daisaku had suffered from tuberculosis and had not been expected to live beyond the age of 30.

However, with Kaneko’s devoted care, Daisaku reached the age of 95 when he died last November.

Koh said Kaneko had supported her husband when the latter founded SGI and she took on roles to foster peace and understanding.

“Kaneko’s unwavering conviction, pure-hearted dedication and selflessness have been a source of inspiration,” he added.

The Malay-language version, translated by linguist Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Asmah Omar from English to Malay and published by the Federation of National Writers Association of Malaysia (Gapena), marked the book’s 11th translation.

“I feel most humbled to translate this marvellous biography.

“The book is reminiscence of Kaneko’s values and tenacity in her service to the organisation and community at large,” Prof Asmah said of her second translated work for SGM.

Gapena president Datuk Zainal Abidin Datuk Borhan said the writers’ association had previously published six books by Daisaku between 2007 and 2017.

He thanked Gapena vice-president Hamzah Hamdani and editor Nurul Nabilah Zainal Abidin for editing the latest book.

Soka Gakkai women’s leader Kimiko Nagaishi said Kaneko served as a role model and symbol of hope for all SGI’s women members.

“(In the book) she talks about her teenage days, her meeting her husband, marriage and taking care of their children.

“The book was originally published in 2005 and has been relevant to us until now,” said Nagaishi.

She also credited Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz as a source of inspiration and empowerment for women in Asia.

“She is the first female chairperson of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society in its 75-year history and has since been leading the humanitarian organisation with commitment to supporting young people.

“I’d like to express my gratitude for her continued support for activities in SGI too,” said Nagaishi.

An exhibition of vibrant artworks centred around the themes of hope and renewal was also held.

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