Santokh’s pillar of strength

Santokh and Taljit

She wore an elegant smile each time legendary footballer Datuk Santokh Singh, 66, was greeted by his fans.

Datin Taljit Kaur, 59, graceful in her Punjabi suit, shied away from the limelight as she sat next to her beloved other half at Hong Chin’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant in Bukit Jalil on July 21.

Many continue to speak about the exploits of one of the nation’s best defenders. After all, the former Setapak High School student was with the national team that won bronze in the Asian Games in Teheran, Iran, won two SEA Games gold medals (1977, 1979) and helped Malaysia qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Taljit has been Santokh’s pillar of strength through their highs and lows. And deep in his heart, Santokh knows it.

After 39 years of marriage and blessed with three beautiful children –Kiranjeet Kaur (38), Sukhveer Singh (36) and Rajveer Singh (29) – Taljit shares with Twentytwo13 their love story and what it is like living with the legend.

“I was 16 when I first saw him at Tatt Khalsa Gurdwara (in Kuala Lumpur). And it was love at first sight (in jest). Of course he had many girlfriends then but he noticed me too and we started getting to know each other.

“When he started working, he used to come to my house for lunch. It was just an excuse to see me. My parents were very strict but he somehow managed to find his way to their hearts.

“Santokh (who was playing for Selangor) won the Malaysia Cup the night before our engagement in 1978 and the night before we got married in 1979.

“We used to face reporters, fans … to them he was a hero. To me, Santokh is my husband, the father of my children and the love of my life. There is nothing extraordinary about him when he is at home. We are a normal couple (laughs).”

“Even till today, fans still meet and greet him. I’m unfazed … used to it. But I’m happy for him as many out there still recognise what he has done for Selangor and Malaysian football.”

Beard or clean shaven?

“I like him with his beard. He looked like George Best (in jest).”

Long hair or short hair?

“He looked good in long hair.”

Santokh Singh
Santokh during his younger days with the national team.

What do you still love about Santokh?

“He is an honest and sincere man. And that is what I’ve always loved about him.”

And what has Santokh got to say about Taljit?

“Thank you Taljit for being my number one supporter and being with me through good times and bad times. I love you.”