Veteran Malaysian actress Datuk Lai Meng has died. She was 90 years old. Sinchew Daily reported that Lai, whose real name is Lai Kwai Yoon, passed away peacefully last night, May 6. She leaves behind two sons and one daughter.
Lai spent 53 years in showbiz and only officially retired with a gala dinner in January 2018. She was best-loved for her role in the popular long-running sitcom Empat Sekawan, which first aired on RTM in 1966. The multi-dialect show (Mandarin, Hakka, Hokkien and Cantonese) ran for two decades.
In 2008, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at Taipei’s 45th Golden Horse Awards at age 81 for her role as a mother stricken with Alzheimer’s disease in Singaporean filmmaker Jack Neo’s Money No Enough 2.
She has also featured in Neo’s other hit movies such as Ah Long Pte Ltd (2008), Love Matters (2009) and Where Got Ghost? (2009), as well as countless commercials, and stage, radio, television, film projects.
In an interview with Star2 back in 2015, Lai talked about her passion for doing showbiz work.
“Entertainment work didn’t pay much in those days, but we never cared about the money. We really enjoyed performing, and being paid to have so much fun was truly a bonus.”
Lai was awarded a datukship by the Sultan of Pahang in 2013 and an AMN honour by the Yang di-Pertuan Agung in 1978.