SAD NEWS: 20 May 2006


1. WAN KALTHOM (1959/60)

This morning I received a SMS from Saadiah (Kirkby 1958/59) at 9.31 am informing me that Wan Kalthom had passed away the previous night. The funeral took place early this morning, well attended by all those who knew her. Saadiah, Samsiah and others were there too.

When I recall Kalthom, I remember Sivagnanam; and when I recall Siva, I remember Kalthom. I suppose it is understandable. They were a pair in Kirkby. If anybody was hanging around Block 10, it had to be Siva!


After returning from Kirkby, I tried to keep in touch with as many Kirkbyites as possible. While trying to locate the addresses of Kirkbyites in the Panduan that I discovered what a strange address Kalthom had: c/o Mr. Rafik Khan, Hamzah English! There was no house number, there was no name of road; there was no mention of town or state. I didn’t bother to contact her!!

She was put in charge of Special Education in the Ministry of Education in the 80s. She came on a visit to St Nicholas School for the Visually Handicapped where I was attached to at that time. She remembered me and I asked her how was Taufik – I think that was Siva’s Muslim name. She told me, “Why don’t you call him Siva?” I was impressed that she did not allow other factors to come in the way of friendship.


I last saw her at the grand Kirkby Reunion in KL in 2001. She did not look well. I went up to her and chatted with her briefly. She told me she had health problems. And the last time I talked to her was soon after the Penang Reunion which she did not attend. I rang her up to say “hello” and find out how she was getting on. She invited me to come over so that we could go for some “thosai”, but I could not make it. Thinking back, I wish I had accepted that invitation.


2. SAW SEOK LAY (1958/59)

On 3 May 2006, soon after her return from Australia, Rosalyn rang me to ask if it was true that Seok Lay had passed away. I told her that I was not aware. She told me that Phee Chye was the one who informed her.

I rang up Seok Lay’s residence on two occasions - 3 & 6 May to get some details of her demise. I spoke to a man who said that Seok Lay had passed away “sometime in March” and promised to get back to me with regard to the date. When he didn’t I called again but he was still in the dark.

I seem to remember Seok Lay in her blazer and a blouse with a red collar. This is the image that keeps flashing back in my memory.

I met her once at the Subang airport many years ago. She was with a few people waiting to be picked up. I went up to greet her. She was surprised that I remembered her.

Then we all met her at the Penang Reunion. She contributed an item on the last day of the Reunion. Her Line Dance troupe gave a very enjoyable performance.

Seok Lay’s picture can be seen on page 13 next to Chong Lay in the commemoration magazine.

Well, friends….this is life….and time passes on.

Take care. With very warm regards,



Dear Rama,  
Thank you for the  sad news but I cannot recall Wan Kalthom. You mention  that her address was with Rafik Khan at Hamza English School....that would be in Machang, Kelantan where I have worked for 3 years and Rafik and wife were there. Kee Lee Chang, Robert Teoh, Maureen  and I were all there in the early 60's. 
We are all very sorry to hear of the demise of Wan Kalthom and Seok Lay may their souls rest in peace. 
Hope to meet up with all of you soon on 26/06 for lunch . I will remind Roz to organise it. 
Warmest regards. 

Sat, 20 May 2006: 12:20:25



Thanks Rama for keeping us informed. We are very sorry to hear of the demise of both Wan Kalthom and Seok Lay. Although I do not remember much of  Wan Kalthom, her name sounds familiar. I remember Seok Lay in Penang and the Line Dance performed by her troupe. It was very well done and entertaining. It frightens me sometimes to think as we see so many of our friends leaving this world.

We will post your message in memory of our 2 friends in the website which Sing has extented for another 5 years.

See you and Poh Yuk very soon in the 06 RE.

Sau San

Sun, 21 May 2006 14:42:04 +1000


Dear Rama,

Thanks for the update, although it is sad news.You know, every time I see "sad news" on the Subject column, I say to myself "Oh no, not another one". We, the endangered species of Kirkbyites, seem to be falling off the perch!

I remember meeting Mimi Wan Kalthom at the 2001 reunion in KL. She came to our table where the choir people were sitting. She didin't look good then and so different from the vibrant PE option girl we knew. Although she looked different, inside she was still the same Kirkby mate whom we knew. Never would we have thought that she will be gone 5 years after that Reunion. Just like we never would have thought that Richard Yong Ah Kow would be gone a few months after the 2004 Penang reunion.

As Rosalyn said, we must try to meet more often. We are looking forward to July when many of us will meet at the Ipoh/Camerons/Pangkor/Genting reunion. Long live the spirit of Kirkby!

Warm regards,

Mimi & Jim

Mon, 22 May 2006 19:24:37 +1000

Dear Rama, 
Thank you for keeping us informed of the really sad news. Like you, I met up with Mimi Kalthom in 2001. We chatted a while and like you said, she didn't look well at all. I was most touched however, when the day before I left K.L. for the airport to return home, ( I stayed with the Yoongs) a car pulled up at Wee Hee's place and to my great surprise and delight, Siva came out of the car and with him, Mimi. I just had a few previous minutes to see them before I had to leave. Just imagine, coming all that way to say "hello and good bye." I'll never forget that generous gesture!  
Is it possible to give me Siva's telephone number please. 
It's always sad when one of our significant others dies...I shall remember her, Siva and the children in my prayers. 
For now, all good wishes, good health and love. 

Mon, 22 May 2006 20:03:05 +1000


Thanks Rama for letting us know. Sad indeed, but these days with most of us getting older and frailer, it is inevitable that we lose some of our group.



Sun, 21 May 2006 14:37:18 +0800


Dear Rama,

      Read your email this morning as I was very busy yesterday.Anyway I managed to contact Siva to convey my condolence on Wan Kalsom's demise through a mobile phone no. I got from En. Rafik. Kalsom used to live in the same neighbourhood until she sold the house and moved to Bangsar.But I know her better because she was incharge of Sp.Ed.and used to meet her often.After paying our last respect that morning, Shamsiah,Mahani, Salmah Deen, Siti Rohani,Wan Zahaah and I went for breakfast at a nearby restaurant.We asked Amthulla to join us.......strangely enough this is Siva's breakfast place too.I used to see Siva here.........Amthulla too.......small world!

By the batch of 1959/60!.......hello,I'm your honourable SENIOR MISS remember?........batch of 1958/1959.

Siva's mobile no. is.........012 3113231 and his Muslim name is Taufik lah not Zulkifly.



Tue, 23 May 2006 02:09:22 +0100 (BST)