Siti Hasmah serenades guests to raise funds for former school

KUALA LUMPUR: Playing three songs on her violin, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali delighted 1,000 guests at the SMK St Mary’s gala dinner with her performance.

Accompanied by Winnie Cheah, also on violin and Nor Raina Yeong Abdullah, on piano, the wife of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad played Secret Garden, You Raise Me Up and Que Sera Sera.

The dinner was held to raise funds for SMK St Mary’s primary and secondary schools.

Earlier, Dr Siti Hasmah said one of her strongest memories of SMK St Mary’s was when she was sitting for her last paper for the Senior Cambridge examination in 1941.

“(On that day), bombs dropped on Singapore and in Penang and the Japanese army crossed the borders into Kelantan,” she said, adding her experiences could be reflected in the gala dinner’s theme of United and Strong: Past and Present.

Dr Siti Hasmah said she stopped playing the violin at the age of 16 to focus on her studies and only took up it again at the age of 86.

This, she said, proved that age should not stop anyone from pursuing their dreams.

Dr Siti Hasmah was also presented with a floorboard from SMK St Mary’s old location in KL’s golden triangle before it was moved to its present location.

SMK St Mary’s KL Alumni Club president Wan Mai Gan said the dinner was meant to raise funds for the Saleha Hospitality and Culinary Arts Centre (SHCAC), including the employment of a chef-instructor.

SHCAC was opened three years ago and named after the late Tan Sri Dr Siti Saleha Mohd Ali, an alumnus of St Mary’s and Dr Siti Hasmah’s elder sister.

“For the primary school, we want to equip it with smart classrooms and interactive whiteboards so pupils an learn more effectively,” Wan said.

Dr Siti Hasmah , violin , SMK St Mary s