RIP, Asha Nair and Juli Jaafar
The English-language journalism community lost two gentle souls this month. Prem Asha Nair, 56, a sub-editor with the Malay Mail and later the New Straits Times, died last week after fighting colon cancer for four years. On Tuesday Juli Suharni Jaafar, 39, once of NST Sports Desk who became sports editor of Brunei Times, died of unknown causes at her home in Brunei.
Former colleagues spoke warmly about the two women, noting their genial nature and ability to relate to others.
Asha started as a reporter with the NST in the 1980s before being promoted to sub-editor when she moved to the Malay Mail. She rejoined NST as an executive sub-editor in 2005 and retired in 2010.
Not only a nice person and sub, Asha was also a good cook and diehard Arsenal and Real Madrid supporter, remembers R Sivaraman, Former NST arts critic Ooi Kok Chuen quotes former New Sunday Times editor Joseph Sossai as saying “Asha always put on a smiling face despite personal and work problems” and adds: “I know her to be very conscientious in her work.”
Former Malay Mail editor K.C. Boey, who now lives in Australia, said: “Always humble, unassuming, smiling and accommodating, Asha was a valued, valuable and dependable colleague. Asha is a loss to the profession.”
Yesterday, former colleagues joined family and friends for a memorial service to Asha.
Soo Ewe Jin, an editor of the Star, said in a Facebook posting: “It was indeed a memorable tribute to Asha this evening. There was sharing by family and the husband, two sons, and twin daughters, showed what a talented family they are with their songs.”
Ewe Jin, noting that “in this last leg of her life, she and I were co-sojourners in our battles with cancer” led the press crowd in sharing their memories of Asha, with [former Malay Mail chief sub-editor] Monica Moey, colleagues with Asha for a very long time, Ooi Kok Chuen, Evelyn Wong and Umakanthan Govindasamy the other Balai Berita people present.”
Juli Jaafar was described by KL Chan, editor of Selangor Times, as being “one of the best sports subs and buddies I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in NST sports desk”. Brunei Times said in its report that Juli was “an editor par excellence” as well as “a genial and gracious person who made friends easily and a mentor to her junior staff”.
Arrangements are being made for Juli’s remains to be brought home to the Peninsula after a post-mortem into the cause of death.
Prem Asha Nair
Juli Suharni Jaafar
1973 – 2012