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Elderly couple die just a few hours apart

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She came from a poor family and was given away to a richer family when she was just four.

There, she became good playmates and friends with the family's young boy whom she was raised to marry, as was the custom back in their time.

Mr Tai Hong Kee married Madam Chang Siew Lian when she turned 18 and he was 20.

The couple ended up sharing 80 years of their life together and had 10 children.

Over the weekend, the couple died just hours apart from each other in Segamat, Johor.

Madam Chang, 84, died of a stroke at a hospital in the early hours of Sunday (Nov 8) morning.

Mr Tai died about 10 hours later that day at home.

Both will be buried side by side after their funeral on Thursday (Nov 12).

The couple's daughter Tai Siew Kim told The Star: “When my father was informed of my mother’s death, he merely quietly said that he would be following her soon. He passed away shortly after that.

“We were surprised that he decided to be with her only 10 hours after she passed away.”


She said her mother was fine until Mr Tai fell ill due to a heart ailment.

“She lost her ability to walk properly and suffered a fall a week after my father was admitted to hospital for blocked arteries,” she said.

She added that her father, who was later discharged, wanted to visit his wife at the hospital, but his heart was too weak.

“They did not get to see each other for the last time,” she added.

Despite their grief, Siew Kim, along with her six brothers and three sisters, were touched by their father’s love for their mother.

“We are sad but at the same time moved at how greatly they loved each other,” she said.

Siew Kim, who is deputy news editor-in-chief with Sin Chew Jit Poh, said her mother would often relate stories of the couple's life when they were growing up.

Chang came from a poor family from Gemencheh, Negri Sembilan, and was given away to Chang’s family in Durian Tunggal, Malacca, to be raised as his future bride, as was the Chinese custom back then.

“She was only four years old when she was adopted by my father’s family in the mid-1930s,” said Siew Kim.

Her father was only six at the time.

“They grew up as playmates and later as friends before tying the knot when she turned 18.”

Asked about the secret to her parents’ marriage, Siew Kim said it was “trust and patience”.

“My father was a timber trader and travelled a lot. However, my mother trusted that he would always return home to her,” she said.

As the years progressed, their love grew deeper with both becoming inseparable.

“My father and mother were always ­together, be it having meals or watching television.

“They seldom argued and would talk things over together,” Siew Kim said.

She hoped her parents’ love and strong bond would be an example for young married couples who tended to opt for divorce as an easy way out of marriage.

“My parents went through a lot together but they remained committed towards each other,” she said.

Source: The Star