Sinopsis

Nadra was born on 24 March 1937 to a Dutch family living in Thjimahi, near Bandung, Indonesia. Her father, Adrianus Petrus Hertogh, came to Java in the 1920s as a sergeant in the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. He married Adeline Hunter, a Eurasian of Scottish-Malay descent brought up in Indonesia, in the early 1930s.

When World War II broke out, Sergeant Hertogh was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army and sent to a POW holding facility in Japan, where he was kept till 1945.

Meanwhile, Adeline Hertogh stayed with her mother, Nor Louise (muslim), and her five children, among whom Maria was the third and youngest daughter. On December 29, 1942, Mrs. Hertogh gave birth to her sixth child, a boy. Three days later, Maria went to stay with Aminah binte Mohammad, a 42-year-old malay woman and a close friend of Nor Louise.

This controversial transfer of custody, reversed in a Singaporean court eight years later, was the centre and opening episode of the tragic riots that were to come.

Nadra's Words...

Nadra's ex husband (Mansor Adabi) used to say sadly: " Until today, everyone has written that Aminah (Nadra's foster mother) was a maid servant. Justice Brown, who presided Nadra's case,mentioned that Aminah should be described as belonging to the bourgeosie or middle class. He then mentioned Han Suyin, the renown author, who corresponded with him. 'In one of her book, Mortal Flower, Aminah was described as a maid servant.

Nadra told the Dutch newspaper that she never wanted to come back to Holland. Her foster mother, Aminah, was not a servant. She said:

She was a Japanese language teacher. She helped my mother to a great deal during the Japanese occupation. My mother gave my brother Benny and myself to Aminah. Aminah sent Benny back as she could not look after him. Aminah also gave my mother a sewing machine. My mother lied that Aminah took me and ran away. My grandmother knew the truth. I had been with Aminah for a long time and when little Karen was born. I went home to see him, even I even slept at home that night. Mother came every month to Aminah's house and then she would comb my hair.

The truth revealed by Nadra (Maria Hertogh) suprised everyone. One newspaper reported:

How we welcome the news. We reported everything. We reported a happily laughing Maria returning home...We reported...hundreds of people broke through the police cordon...We reported how maternal love triumphed...but failed to report that Maria was totally miserable.



The Truth Background of Aminah (Nadra's foster mother)


Aminah binti Mohamed came from a respected Malay family in Kemaman, Terengganu in the East Coast o Peninsular Malaya (Malaysia since 16th September 1963). In 1919, at the age of nineteen, Aminah married one Abdul Rani fom Perak who was then the private secretary to the Sultan of Terengganu. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Tokyo and lived there for nearly ten years during which time they both became fluent in the Japanese language. Because they had no children of their own, Aminah adopted a Japanese girl and brought her to her hometown Kemaman. They named her Kamariah. A few years after their return from Japan to Malaya, Abdul Rani died.

Aminah, the widow, then re-married one Maarof bin Haji Abdul, a jeweller in Bandung. As a businessman, Maarof used to travel widely in the South-East Asian region and in one such travel with her husband, Aminah met Nor Louise (Nadra's grandmother) in Singapore. Consequently, their relationship grew and they became very close friends.

They visited one another frequently and Nor Louise used to take Aminah to her daughter, Adelaide (Nadra's mother)'s house. During these visits, they confided in each other their aspirations and their problems as well. Louise sympathised with Aminah for not having any children and suggested that she adopt a child but Aminah was not enthusiastic about it as she had already adopted a Japanese child.

From there, they become close friend untill Japanese occupation in which Adelaide asked Aminah if she would like to have one of her children.

The story started here and went on till real life drama about the two women who fought for the Custody of a thirteen-year old girl (Nadra) happened a few years later.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009