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Lrg Hj Taib mourns death of transgender ‘matriarch’

 | August 8, 2012

More than 1,000 people packed the street to pay the last respects to Asha Dewi, 68, who succumbed to a heart attack yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The infamous Lorong Haji Taib in Chow Kit was enveloped in sorrow today was tears flowed to mourn the passing of Asha Dewi, 68, a transgender who was both a mentor and guardian to many.

The matriarch’s funeral was attended by more than a 1,000 people, with some returning from as far as Switzerland, Australia and Singapore to pay their respects to Asha, who was fondly known as Amma (Mother) in the transgender society.

The once notorious street, located in the heart of the capital, took on a festive mood as groups of transgenders performed an assortment of Indian folk dances in honour of their matriarch.

The blaring drums and the colourful dancers also attracted a huge crowd of onlookers and brought traffic to a standstill for nearly an hour.

Asha succumbed to a heart attack at about 8.50am yesterday. She was also chairperson of the Malaysia-Singapore Transgender Association.

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A transgender, who introduced herself as Latha, said Asha had helped thousands of “orphaned” transgender people, who were abandoned by their families due to their sexual orientation, in the last 20-years.

“I was one of the transgenders who was abandoned by my family and ‘Amma’ was the one who helped me,” she said.

“Not only transgender, Amma also helped many children and the poor around Kuala Lumpur,” she added.


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