Tun Rahah the only ‘Tok’ we have known

Why Tok (Tun Rahah Mohd Noah) is called Tok has always been a mystery to me.

It’s maybe because as kids, Tok was the only grandparent we had.

We did not have the privilege of knowing our grandfather (Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) as he was taken very early but how Tok loved us and touched our hearts was more than we could have ever wished for.

I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her love and inspiration.

Tok was special in every way. She did not have to do a lot, but every time she did something, it made a lot of difference not to just the family but others too.

She touched the lives of so many in her own calm and subtle ways.

Only now looking back I can see her kindness and sincerity.

My fondest memory of her is of when I came to her house one day, before which word had got out that I had nearly drowned in a pool as I did not know how to swim.

It was not something I was proud of to confess to her but she immediately took action the next week. Before I knew it, every morning, sharp at 9am she would pick me up from my home and bring me for swimming lessons in Royal Selangor Golf Club.

She had already arranged for a swimming instructor to coach me twice a week. She would make sure I learned and after every lesson would treat me to a wonderful lunch.

That was our weekly thing. I remember having a big juicy burger after at least 20 laps in the swimming pool.

You can imagine how hungry a growing kid was after that. Week after week, she never failed to pick me up until she was satisfied that I knew how to swim and till this day, I will never forget the love she showered upon me.

Some relationships are not of words but memories, fond memories that you can now look back on and understand that what was important to her was for us to know what we should value.

As a child, it was hard to understand, but today all those times with her, it was to shape us to become good humans with good habits.

I would come over to her house with long nails, but her quick inspection made short work of my unseemliness.

I remember her cutting my nails at her bedroom dresser to make sure I was always prim and proper.

As a kid, I wasn’t always well behaved but if there were good habits, it was because of her.

I wish I could thank her for loving me the way she did, it’s hard to only be able to miss her now.

I want to say that she was right then, but I’ll never have the chance now.

Tok was from an era where there was no social media or any kind of social application yet she touched so many lives.

During the funeral, people from all walks of life came to pay their respects – the young and old transcending race and political divide.

She was the last of her generation, the generation of independence.

She had seen everything there was to see in this country. No matter how bad the situation was or how difficult life was, one certainty was that there was always Tok. She was our rock and now she’s gone.

No one can replace her or even come close.

Her deeds will never be forgotten. She is our Tok and we will love her in life and hereafter.

Love you always Tok, Al-fatihah.

Editor’s note: Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, the wife of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, passed away on Dec 18. She was 87.

Rahah was given a state funeral and buried at the Heroes’ Mausoleum. She had been an inspiration to her five sons – former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Ahmad Johari, Datuk Mohamed Nizam, Datuk Mohamed Nazim and Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazir.

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