31 May, 2010

The Launch of the Three Swans – Tribute to Datin Fakhriah, Tun Suhaila Tun Rahah


Bismillahirrahmanirrahim
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, good afternoon And Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Bin Tun Hussein
Minister of Home Affairs
Yang Mulia Tengku Datin Seri Marsilla Tengku Abdullah

The Three Swans :
Yang Berbahagia Datin Fakhriah Tan Sri Mohd Noah
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Suhailah Tan Sri Mohd Noah
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Rahah Tan Sri Mohd Noah

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr Fawzia Abdullah
Author of The Three Swans

Yang Berbahagia Datin Paduka Dr Faridah Abdullah
Chairman, Yayasan Mohd Noah

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Seri Ismail Yusof,
Executive Vice Chairman, Yayasan Albukhary

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun-Tun, Toh Puan – Toh Puan,

Tan Sri – Tan Sri, Puan Sri-Puan Sri, Dato-Dato, Datin-Datin,

Family members who have come from near and far

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. By the grace of Allah, we are able to be here today to witness the launch of Datuk Dr Fawzia Abdullah’s book – The Three Swans. A tribute to three rather extraordinary women who have been the pillars to the nation’s leaders, and exemplary, wives, mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. They are none other than my dear mother, Tun Rahah and my two dear aunts, Datin Fakhriah and Tun Suhailah.

2. Theirs is a story of a close-knit family that stayed together in good times and in difficult times. This is a family that sowed the seeds of national unity that is today embodied in 1Malaysia. Theirs is a story of always being supportive of their husbands while taking on the roles of father and mother to their children.

3. The three graceful, genteel and elegant Swans shouldered the heavy responsibilities, calmed the waters in turbulent times, brought up their children and nurtured them to be courteous and responsible young men and women. The product of their hard work and sacrifice is clearly evident in this hall today.

4. The story of the Three Swans is a reflection of the struggles, hopes and aspirations of all Malaysian mothers. It is a story of the courage, the sacrifices and the inner strength of all mothers. It is a tribute to all mothers who can identify with some of the anecdotes in this book, especially its humour and tender moments.

5. I am proud that a member of the family, my cousin, Datuk Dr Fawzia or Abang Ngah, (She has proudly announced that she is 10 years older than me), has taken the time and effort to document the life journeys of our mothers. I congratulate her for initiating and completing this book which is a fitting tribute to the women behind the prominent men acknowledging the silent, solid and supportive roles they played not only in nurturing their families but more importantly, inculcating good family values in them.

6. Abang Ngah could not have chosen a more appropriate title for the book – The Three Swans. The three sisters – Mak Ngah, Chik and my mother– personify the grace, elegance, charm and beauty of the swan. Many young men were attracted to them and captivated by their beauty. In fact, the story goes that when 30 year old Razak saw 18 year old Rahah from a distance, he was mesmerized by her grace and beauty. When my dad asked Haji Mohd Noah for his youngest daughter’s hand in marriage, Haji Mohd Noah did not need much persuasion. After all, it was an “orang kaya” who was asking for his beautiful daughter’s hand in marriage. However, little did he realise then that the “orang kaya” was an honorific title and not a measure of his wealth.

7. The Three Swans grew up in rural Muar, under the watchful eye of their father Haji Noah who doted on his daughters. They lived ordinary lives, played games together, made their own dolls from scraps of material, went to boarding school, where they discovered that the food was atrocious , travelled together on holidays and they even dressed alike.

8. They endured the difficult times during the Japanese occupation. Their education was disrupted. My mother and Chik had just started school in Mersing when the war broke out and followed their parents to the jungles of Kempas. My mother recalls the awful food in the jungles. The family was happy when they returned to Muar when Haji Noah was appointed Magistrate by the Japanese. Even during these difficult times, the Three Swans kept their dignity and remained gracious.

9. Today, we pay tribute to the Three Golden Swans – three ordinary women who led extraordinary lives. They retained their quiet dignified charm, remained in the background and provided solid support to their husbands and demonstrated formidable strength in the face of adversity to bring up their children. They carried out their supportive roles as wives, mothers, grandmothers and now as great grandmothers. May Allah S.W.T continue to shower his blessings upon them.

10. Dr Fawzia spent a year researching and interviewing scores of relatives and friends. She had the full support and help from her other half – her husband. Ahmed has been fully involved in the book since its inception – being her co-worker at computer work, her photographer, her critic and also her editor. Their labour of love has produced a book that is not just a story of the Three Swans but also documents important milestones in the history of the country. I am pleased to be here amidst family, good and dear friends of my mother and my two aunts.

11. I understand that some 500 members of the Noah family are here today. This certainly makes for a unique book launch with so many relatives all in one place. It just shows what a big family I come from. Muarians must be very productive people.

12. I saw the exhibition outside this ballroom just before coming in. I notice that my mother’s Bugis ancestors, Raja Chempa Bugis, are from Makassar, Sulawesi. That coincidently is also where my father’s roots are. Could there be a common ancestry between my father and my mother centuries ago? That could possibly be another subject for Dr Fawzia to follow up. I hope Fawzia will continue with her excellent effort and that more books will follow.

13. I commend MPH group for publishing Datuk Dr Fawzia’s book, “The Three Swans” as well as the Mohd Noah Foundation for supporting the publication and contributing to the success of this publication.

14. It is now my singular honour and with the words Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I Hereby Officially Launch the Book, “The Three Swans”.

15. Thank You, terima kasih. Wabillahi Taufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

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