By INS Contributors

CHIANGMAI, Thailand--“We are not born for death. We are born to live”.

These were the very words of centenarian Krishnan Lakshmanan who celebrated his 100th birthday with a select group of 70-odd friends and family, at the Shangri-La Hotel Chiangmai in Thailand last Friday.

The guests - from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and India - came to wish the pioneer Malay filmmaker, advertising guru and philanthropist a blessed and gracious birthday.

Better known as L. Krishnan, and accompanied by Thai wife Rukhmanee, he was an elated and beaming figure as the guests sang the birthday song, before he sucessfully blew the 10 candles and cut the cake.

In his hilarious speech, Krishnan said that he did not expect to live to a 100 years.

“God said no you can’t (die). You must allow your friends to come and celebrate with you.

“And here I have so many good friends, all the way from the Philippines and down south.

“Life sometimes gets opened up but at the same time I can catch up. If you run, I will follow you.

“Even though I have aged, I will catch up. I just cannot believe that I am a hundred years old, and hopefully will continue to live as long as all of you live.

“Perhaps, I may live to 150 years so that we can once more embrace and celebrate with you in Chiangmai,” said Krishnan.

Among those present were Shah Redza, Yong Seng Yeow, Benny Poh, Ram Nair, Rizal Sardon, Dr Raymond Tan and Tan Chew Piau

He added that Rukhmanee forbade him to use the word death while being alive.

“Here I am living, the living soul of L. Krishnan here.

“And I want all of you my friends of mine please follow me to live a 100 over.

“I do not want you to go half way.  You have to follow me and I will lead the way.

One of my friends Kula appears to be going halfway as he slurs when speaking and I cannot understand what he says,” said Krishnan, who has been living for more than a decade in Thailand with his second wife Rukhmanee, a former cosmetic clinic nurse.

On Rukhmanee, Krishnan said she had been a very guiding wife and a great personality who had given him longevity.

“I am very fortunate to have married her.

“She is always there for me in times of need, even when I get up in the middle of the night to visit the toilet  (to ease myself) - Rukhmanee will also wake up to switch on the light (to ensure I do not trip).

“That is how wonderful a lady she is - even a good cook and in making my favourite cookies.

“I owe her for being here today, to make it to 100 years.

“You have to give and take (for a successful marriage),” said Krishnan, adding he and Rukhmanee enjoyed living in cool Chiangmai, which he described as a place of streams.

Krishnan also thanked his alma mater - a secondary school from Nibong Tebal, Seberang Prai in Penang - for sending his bouquets of flowers and fruit baskets for his birthday.

“I cannot remember the school’s name. Sometimes, my mind does not work. It only works extremely well when my wife is angry with me,” he said.

At his birthday celebration, the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur Di-Raja honoured its past-president Krishnan, who had been a member for 40 years, by renewing his honorary membership.

He was presented with a certificate and plaque for his lifetime and vocational service to Malaysia.

On Saturday, Krishnan also hosted a special pre-Deepavali luncheon at a Chiangmai restaurant for a select group of his very close friends.

Madras (now Chennai in India)-born Krishnan had served as a second-lieutenant in the Indian army in the 1940s.

His foray into filming began in 1970 when he established Gaya Filem Berhad before setting up Gaya Music Studio ten years later.

In 1984, Krishnan became Cathay Organisation Malaysia chairman after venturing with Shaw Brothers, and helped establish Cathay Keris Studio in Singapore and Merdeka Studio in Kuala Lumpur.