Daughter writes book on life of a ‘truly remarkable woman’


  • Nation
  • Friday, 08 May 2009

PETALING JAYA: A descendent of the Tok Abdul Jabbar clan that produced five Johor mentris besar, Zainab Ahmad, remains in good health with a sharp memory as she marked her 90th birthday yesterday.

“She remembers details like the colour of her wedding dress and that it was bought at Robinsons in Singapore,” her daughter Datin Kalsom Taib said.

Zainab’s colourful life and deep roots – Siantan, Bugis Malay and Semantan – and the rich Johor customs and tradition have led to Kalsom writing a book about her mother.

“I interviewed her every morning for one week,” Kalsom said.

The outcome, a 248-page biography titled Zainab Ahmad: A Truly Remarkable Woman, was launched yesterday by Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, the mother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“When I dated my husband back then, I had a chaperone,” said Rahah in her speech, to the laughter of the audience.

It is a known fact that Zainab and her late husband were the ones who played matchmaker to Rahah and Tun Abdul Razak.

Zainab, who was present at the launch yesterday, received hugs and kisses upon her arrival. They also brought out a huge birthday cake which was baked by Kalsom’s daughter.

Besides descending from the clan that produced five MBs – Datuk Jaafar Mohamed, Da­tuk Abdullah Jaafar, Datuk Mustaffa Jaafar, Datuk Hamid Yusof and Datuk Onn Jaafar – Zainab’s great grandmother Maimunah Mo­­hamed was also Jaafar’s sister.

The book, which is published by MPH Group Publishing, is Kalsom’s second book. Her first, Taib Andak: In a Class of His Own, was about her father. It was launched by Najib on Dec 11.

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