Aida Zabidi
The young prince Tunku Jalil passed away this evening. 

I am not entirely sure why I felt so affected, but I was. I did not expect to be.

I was born in Johor, but I had grown up in Kuala Lumpur; and my ties to Johor were purely by blood. I had followed the going ons of the Johorean royal family with a cursory interest, but it wasn’t until my recent experience working in Johor that made me realize how much the rakyat really genuinely did love their king and family – how affectionately they were spoken of, and the multiple narrations of simple kampong folk about the king’s visits to their villages; stories that were told and re-told with pride and a tinge of nostalgia. 

Perhaps it was his youth, and my personal experience with a close friend who had also suffered from cancer that made me root for him – hoping that he would overcome the odds and beat the disease. Perhaps it was the articles I read about his character that helped me visualize the person that he was, someone who seemed very gentle and down to earth, who seemed to love all living things, and who despite his affliction, always seemed to have a smile on his face. 

No parent should have to bury their child, and it was heart-wrenching to see the photographs of the Sultan and his wife in their grief. How difficult it must have been to be unable to grieve privately, to have to share your grief with the world. 

I pray that he is finally at peace and away from his suffering. May Allah bless his soul. 

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