'Tien' Suhartowas ever the Javanese mother figure. 'All my children are shy and rarely speak,' she said in an interview with daily newspaper Kompas on April 20. 'But, once out of the house, they must face all manner of affairs. 'Tutut [eldest daughter Siti Rukmana], for instance, is free to speak her mind wherever she is.' 'But I still constantly remind them: always be careful in your speech.' The interview was probably Tien's last before her sudden death yesterday. It contained no hint of any illness, describing her instead as 'radiant'. Tien's stress on motherhood belied her role as possibly the second-most powerful figure in Indonesian politics. Never far from the President's side, she was seen as his most important confidant and adviser. A descendant of Javanese royalty and the daughter of a district officer in the Dutch colonial administration, Tien was born on August 23, 1923, in Solo, central Java. She married Mr Suharto, a farmer's son, in Solo on December 26, 1947, during a break in Indonesia's war of independence. Mr Suharto was serving as a lieutenant-colonel at a battalion in nearby Yogyakarta at the time and Tien as a volunteer with the Indonesian Red Cross and the Indonesian Women's Legion. After her husband became president in 1966, Tien continued her charity work but quickly became embroiled in allegations of corruption. But whatever her alleged sins, the first lady's death fell on an auspicious day in the Islamic calendar, as Muslims marked the Eid al-Adha festival.