Monday, May 16, 2011

Margaret Lim, Author of the Acclaimed Rainforest Children Series, Payah, Passes Away

Margaret Lim second from right, sits beside Sharnaz Saberi, while her son, Einhard, stands at right.
One year and one week after I met Margaret Lim on the set of Kuppa Kopi along with her son Einhard, she has passed away.  I took a liking to both of them right away as we chatted outside the RTM building and later while having ourselves made-up for the shooting, which aired on 31 May 2011.  Margaret, who is from Sarawak but lives in Germany, even passed me four of her books from her acclaimed rainforest children series, Payah, for my two children, who not only loved the stories but also the vivid, delightful illustrations done by her daughter, Su Jen Buchheim.

During the filming, after my segment with Georgette Tan of The Borneo Post and the lovely Sharnaz Saberi was completed, I watched behind the cameras as Margaret Lim spoke about her work, with Roselind Wee of Unimas and her fifteen-year-old daughter, author Victoria.

Afterwards, I was invited to join Margaret and Einhard and two of their friends for tea and lunch in Kuching.  Margaret and I stayed in contact through email and our blogs—we both blogged about the Kuppa Kopi shooting. Here’s her blog along with some of her close-up photos. 

Margaret even recommended that I submit my work to Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and they not only published “On Fridays” from Lovers and Strangers Revisited in their September 2010 issue, but also Margaret’s entertaining “Portrait of a Children’s Book Author as a Young Reader.” 

Then in Cha’s February 2011 issue, there was a review of my book Tropical Affairs and a short story by Margaret, “Dorothy’s Song” 

I even mentioned Margaret in my most recent article “Getting Known Through the Media” in the April-June 2011 issue of Quill.  (I was hoping they were going to use the above group shot, but they didn't.) I have yet to see the actual issue, but already I’m saddened by the fact, that just over a year after our meeting, Margaret Lim has passed away.  Her work, however, particularly her children’s books, will live on in my memory and the memory of my children. 

Even though they never met her in person they did see her on Kuppa Kopi. My son Jason pointed to the TV screen at Margaret’s children’s books about Payah, and said, “Daddy that’s my book!” He called his younger brother Justin over and they both stood in front of the TV, excitedly pointing at their four newest books.

“Is that the woman who gave me the books?” Jason asked me.

“Yes, and she wrote the books, too!”

He studied her with awe. I’m sure he’s going to remember Margaret and that moment and her books forever. Other than me, Margaret Lim was the first author they had seen on TV--the first author whose books they actually have.

If you haven’t had the pleasure to read Margaret's books, please do check them out in bookstores for your children, relatives and friends.  They're also available on Amazon.
                    —Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer

*Here is a tribute I wrote about Margaret Lim in 2017.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 


sintaicharles said...

So sorry to hear that.
What a loss to the literary world of Sarawak.

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Sad. She was writing about the rainforest for children too! I'm sure other books were planned. Her son found at least one.