Friday, April 28, 2006

MGG Pillai - Malaysian journalist seeks new frontiers

malaysiakini photo
I am sorry to hear that well known Malaysian international journalist MGG Pillai passed away this morning at the University Hospital due to heart complications. The veteran newsperson was 67 years old.

Malaysiakini informed us that Pillai began his career in journalism in the 1960s. He had served as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War. I think it was just last year that I read his article reminiscing on an aspect of his Vietnam experience. He also had the distinction of being expelled from big-brother Singapore for his reporting while he was stationed in the city-state. That means he must have hit Lee Kuan Yew right where it would have hurt. Subseqently Pillai joined the Malay Mail.

Pillai had pioneered online journalism in Malaysia for the past 10 years. He was the prime mover behind the launch of discussion group Sangkancil in 1995 - Malaysia's first online community - and more recently his own website I find the last a delightful source of Malaysian political titbits.

Indeed KTemoc has read a number of Pillai’s articles, and while not agreeing with some of them, did enjoy those that he dragged out of the past to regale and dazzle us. His comprehensive and intimate knowledge of earlier Malaysian politics was a wonderful goldmine for a new blogger like yours truly.

I had on occasions read some articles that he wrote for PAS Harakah and a pro PKR website. I suspect those were commissioned articles with the obvious required ‘customer satisfaction’. I must admit making fun of some of those ‘customised’ articles in my blogging, mostly over at BolehTalk.

Those contrasted so vastly from his independent articles, the latter of which I would usually compliment with a “Pillai writes best when he writes for himself”. I have been impressed by his vast background knowledge on what he was writing on and his incisive analysis on the inter-related factors.

Malaysia has lost an experienced journalist, a wonderful repository of Malaysian political-historical knowledge and a great son. But you may bet MGG Pillai would be still using his notepad and interviewing citizens of the new frontiers that he has left us for. Good on you Pillai!

Vale MGG Pillai. Requiescat in pace.


  1. I adored MGG Pillai & read many of his articles in Asiaweek & FEER in the 70's & 80's. I am quite stunned by his sudden departure because everyday I have being logging into his website to read his latest piece.

    What can I say now...I can only express my sadness thru the words of the late P.Ramlee :


    Hendak ku nangis
    Tiada berair mata
    Hendak ku senyum
    Tiada siapa nak teman
    Kalaulah nasib
    Sudah tersurat
    Begini hebat
    Apa nak buat

    Di mana kan ku cari ganti
    Serupa denganmu
    Tak sanggup ku berpisah
    Dan berhati patah
    Hidup gelisah

    Alangkah pedih rasa hati
    Selama kau pergi
    Tinggalku sendirian
    Tiada berteman
    Dalam kesepian

    Dunia terang menjadi gelita
    Cahaya indah tiada berguna
    Keluhan hatiku
    Menambah derita
    Tetap kau jua
    Tak kunjung jelma

    Dimana kan ku cari ganti
    Mungkinkah di syurga
    Untuk kawan berduka
    Menangis bersama

  2. ali, what a nice epitaph.

    Mati harimau meninggalkan belang Mati gajah meninggalkan gading

    Manusia meninggal nama baiknya