Thursday, 5 June 2008

Human rights activist Zaiton dies

Human and women’s rights activist Zaiton Kasim (pic) passed away at 5am yesterday, after months of battling cancer. She was 41.

Zaiton, affectionately known as Toni, died in her sleep at her sister’s home in Batu Tiga, Shah Alam. She was laid to rest at 1pm at the Batu Tiga Muslim cemetery.

Her peers described her as “witty, passionate, a wonderfully caring person, one who had an infectious smile and a great sense of humour, a defender of human rights, and one whose heart and soul was in her advocacy”.

Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) director Saira Shameem said she was “multi-diverse and a very strong lady”.

Among the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Zaiton was involved in was Sisters-in-Islam (SIS), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Joint Action Committee (JAC), Arrow and Women’s Candidacy Initiative (WCI), where she became the first independent woman candidate to run in the 1999 general election.

“She contested for the Selayang seat. She didn’t win, but she reduced the majority-vote by 30,000," said Saira.

Zaiton was diagnosed with fourth-stage duodenal cancer in February, and underwent chemotherapy once. She also practised reiki as an alternative treatment. --- The Star

Al fatiha.


Hi&Lo said...

Condolences to Zaiton's family.

Altruism and compassion best defined her life. She lived to give and give without expecting anything in return.

I wished I am 10% of Toni. She made every second of her life count. Short as it may, but it was rich and enriching to community.

Anonymous said...

Al fatiha

May she rest in peace.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Maria,

Can I please address Hi&Lo? Thanks!

Dear Hi&Lo,
That's really beautiful, what you said about Toni. I don't know her personally, but I have attended one of her talks (organised by SIS) a while back and I was impressed.

I think we all hope that we can emulate someone like Toni, the zest she breathed into her own life and others. And when we 'go', if even 1 person remembers us fondly, I think this life would not be in vain...=)

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Ton,

May I thank Daphne Ling for her compliments.

I didn't have the privilege of meeting Toni.

I would like to say of Daphne Ling. Young as she is, Daphne Ling also stands out as a woman of power. She makes a life by giving, serving and reaching out.

I visited her blog. A lot of times, i was so touched by her stories that I couldn't stop my tears.

maria a samad (kak ton) said...

hI Hi&Lo,

Cant agree more with you.

Daphne may be young but I have nothing but admiration for someone her age who has given so much to the community.

There is a lot that we can learn from her. She is one great giving.

Btw, Daphne I am ok now. Thanks for asking.