Meenachi, fondly known as Melaka Dondang Sayang & Pantun Icon who inspired and nurtured generations of culture and customs for the Kampung Chetti community in Malacca, died at Melaka Hospital due to old age. She was 91.
Born on Jan 4th, 1930, she was a descendant of the Melaka Chettiar community and fluent in Malay, but not proficient in Tamil. She became acquainted with pantun and dondang sayang as early as the age of ten.
Meenachi used to play the rebana before she began polishing her pantun skills, and she was later trained by Baba Kim Teck who is a well-known dondang sayang advocate.
According to her daughter Amuda Pillay, “when it comes to any deaths, marriage, work and birth related to Chetti customs, the entire village will seek her advice. It’s a great loss for all of us.”
At the age of 90, she still was able to recite the pantun but not as active as her hey day due to her health condition. Dondang sayang and pantun are popular in Melaka and is said to date back to the 15th century when the Sultanate of Malacca was formed.
In 2019, she was honoured as a “Dondang Sayang Art Activist” by the state government and the Arts and Culture Department for her notable contributions to the art of pantun.