Video, from JerryWho. Thank you.

Gone but not forgotten. Like a star. To me, she is still very very much alive.

I met Toni Kasim in the late 1990s. Even before I joined Malaysiakini. She stayed in my home in Penang where she visited with a few friends. I remember going round the Island with her and those crazy women. We did have a lot of fun.

Since then our paths crossed many a time. My last contact with her was in 2006, where she was a trainer for one of FORUM-ASIA’s human rights training. I had to ‘steal” some food and keep it for her so she could eat after her training, as she was already running late for another meeting! That was how busy she was.

She will always be remembered as a feminist, a good trainer, and a bubbly person. She is fiercely smart.

I remember attending a talk on rape organised by the Women’s Crisis Centre in Penang in mid-90s. The speaker, Bhupinder Singh, Penangites will know him well, told women to stay at home if they didn’t want to get rape. Toni was in the audience. She stood up and shot at him:

“If men can’t take care of their private parts, nobody else can!” she stormed. She was really incensed. So were we. But we were glad she told him what we all thought of him. Toni was like that.

I knew all about her sickness a few months ago. Things took turns for the worst as the March 8 general elections were approaching. I had wanted to see her contest, but it was not to be so.

I was kept informed about her well-being by her good friends, who happen to be my friends, too. The thing about Toni, is that she had really great friends. They worried about her, took turns to take care of her, and tried their best to make her happy.

Which could mean only one thing: that Toni really lived her life well, and perhaps, she had made her friends very happy, too.

So you see, it’s really hard for me to think of her as gone. I did have nice memories of her. She was and remains an inspiration to many, many women.

She has found her home now. She is blessed. May her soul rest in peace.

And for all those who loved her, especially her friends, live and love life as if there is no tomorrow. 


9 responses »

  1. Baby Harrison jR. says:

    Just heard of Toni Kassim’s demise. What a great loss to Malaysians. I personally never heard of her till now. I am sure her good works will not be forgotten.

    Al Fatihah.

    From : Baby Harrison jR.

  2. rakyat of Bolehland says:

    Our deepest condolences to her family. Surely Toni was like the late MGG Pillai. They would be remembered as hero/ heroine.

    Toni can rest in peace now and all her good works would be appreciated by the rakyat.

    May God Blesss you, our dearest Toni!

  3. bamboo river says:

    My deepest condolence to her family and may she rest in peace.

  4. Teh Yik Koon says:

    When I received the SMS about Toni’s demise yesterday morning, I couldn’t help asking God “Why her when there are so many horrible, evil people around?” She has contributed so much to society while those nasty, evil ones keep on blocking and destroying good things. I have worked with Toni on women and transgender issues and she was really passionate and sincere about her work.

    Susan, I think I was at the Women Crisis Centre’s talk, too. Toni, was one of the rare few who would speak her mind if she thought there was injustice. I have met enough people who complained about their woes and yet when given a chance to speak out they kept quiet to play safe. They expect other people to fight their battles for them. Worse still, when other people speak out, they may even go against them just to be seen as on the side of the authorities. Toni is one of the rare few who would speak up if she believed there was injustice. She would not keep quiet. She truly went to the battle field to fight the cause. She will be missed by many people, including me. May God bless her soul. Condolence to her family.

  5. caravanserai says:

    I never heard about her
    I never in the NGO thing
    So I read what pages I turn
    A known fighter had passed away

    The rights of every body
    Activists like Toni make the difference
    Many people don’t know about her
    We are all busy pursuing our dreams

    Many people like me
    Toni Kasim never hits the tone
    Only when in passing
    The media got it all in print

    For those whom she had helped
    There will be gratitude and thanks
    Of Toni who shared her time and ideals
    Fighting for a cause some just dream about

    I know her footprints will be around
    Amongst her friends, family and acquaintances
    And the NGOs she had involved
    Now that she is gone
    The Good Lord will take care of her

  6. Equalizer says:

    I met Toni at an Amnesty Malaysia seminar on Aceh and Myanmar some years back. She was bubbly and full of energy and totally comitted to civil society work. It was a great shock to me to hear that she is gone. What a great loss to Malaysia. May she rest peacefully. Al-fatiha.

  7. randolph says:

    who the hell is she? what did she do? did anyone else care?

  8. Fair Malaysian says:


    It is sad indeed that such a wonderful person as Toni had to depart so early in her life but what she did for fellow human-beings will be long remembered and cherished. And that one retort n Penang, that is Toni. Being a man, I am ashamed that Bhupinder would say such a thing. I have 2 sons and a daughter and she stands toe-to-toe on asserting her rights and freedom. And what a proud papa I am. There were years when I used to assist AWAM on the IT side but I never had the opportunity to know Toni personally, although I had heard of her and what she did. May be it is too late for that now but I wish her “safe” journey to wherever she is going to/gone. May her soul rest in peace.

  9. Malati says:

    I was involved in the NGO scene for a while and at that time i met toni for most of the events i attended . She was distributing fliers at one , helping out in the other and coordinating the next . I thought to myself here is one dedicated lady . I spoke to her briefly at these events and i wish i had the time to get to know her better . But just from these few meetings i can see what a dedicated person and the beautiful spirit she had. She may be gone but she is sure not forgotten 🙂

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