Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore’s First Lady
Kevin YL Tan
Noor Aishah Mohammad Salim was all of 26 years old when she became Singapore’s first First Lady in 1959 as the wife of Yusof Ishak, Singapore’s Yang di-Pertuan Negara and later first President. Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore’s First Lady tells the story of how this shy, quiet girl who grew up in Penang was catapulted into the public limelight and into the role of ‘mother’ to a new state and nascent nation.
Filled with a wealth of archival and private photographs, many of which have never been published before, Puan Noor Aishah: Singapore’s First Lady traces the lives of both Yusof Ishak and Noor Aishah: from their younger days before and a er the Second World War, to their first meeting in 1949, their happily married life in Kuala Lumpur, and then Yusof Ishak’s call to duty in 1959, when he became Singapore’s Head of State — and Noor Aishah became the first First Lady.
Not naturally predisposed to socialising, Noor Aishah had not been prepared nor groomed for a role in public service, but no one could have guessed. She learnt quickly, instinctively understood what was required of her and set the tone for all First Ladies to come. Her warm and sincere personality endeared her to all who came into contact with her, and before long, she became the epitome of all that was good and gracious in Singaporean public life.
1. Growing Up
2. Thee Japanese Occupation and After
3. Yusof bin Ishak
4. ‘Meeting’ and Marrying Yusof Ishak
5. Life with Yusof Ishak
6. Breaking with Utusan Melayu
7. A Call to Duty
8. Settling into a New Home
9. Becoming the First Lady
10. Pilgrimage to Mecca
11. Last Days at the Istana
12. From First Lady to First Citizen