Margaret Leong née McDaniels moved from Missouri to Malaya with her Chinese husband from Penang, David Leong, in 1949. During her 14 year sojourn in Malaya, she wrote many poems and published two collections of poetry that took as their subject the natural and social worlds of Singapore and Malaya: The Air Above the Tamarinds (1957), and Rivers to Senang (1958). Leong also wrote children’s verse, first published as My First Book of Poems (1958) and later collected in The Ice Ball Man (2002). Together with Moyra Burnett, she published a songbook, Songs of Malaya (1958). A third book of poetry, Coral Sands, was in preparation, but as of yet no evidence of its publication exists. Leong continued to be active as a poet on her return to America, residing first in New York, before retiring to Missouri.

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