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Sunday, December 11, 2005

 

The Story of Rene & Nadra

Johor Baru, Sat: Fourteen years ago, a Mat Salleh walked across the Causeway and made his way to Mohamed Nasir Awaluddin’s nasi campur stall.He bore his baby son in his arms, and had nowhere to go.
..Rene grew up speaking Malay, and like a dutiful son, he helps out at the restaurant.The couple have already endured one lengthy legal battle over Rene, as the Czech Embassy in Kuala Lumpur wanted him returned home.
..The couple have already endured one lengthy legal battle over Rene, as the Czech Embassy in Kuala Lumpur wanted him returned home.
"Rene was like one of our own. We could not let him go, especially when we learnt that they had planned to put him in a welfare home," said Nasir.The battle was expensive, costing them more than RM10,000 in legal fees and documentation.
Seriously, when i read it, it was like, the history of Nadra bt Maarof@ Maria Hertogh repeating itself. It is almost exactly the same case like Nadra's. In case you've haven't heard of the name, you can read up the wikipedia version of the story here. Or read the 'Nadra Tragedy: The Maria Hertogh controversy' book written by Haja Maideen. One of the best socio-historical book that i have.

When i think of Rene's foster parents, Mohd Nasir and Hatijah, i think of Nadra (pic)'s foster mother, Che Aminah (pic), who had to went through a tough series of legal battle to gain custody of Nadra whom she had lived with since she was a baby.
The major differences are perhaps that the Nadra case was during the pre-independence era, in the 1950s when the British were in power.
The similarities between Nadra and Rene are that;
Both of them are of European descent. Both of them were adopted by Malay parents. Both of them grew up speaking Malay. Both of their foster parents had to go through a lengthy legal battle to win custody. Both of their native coutry's media covered extensively on the custody battle.
In Nadra's case, it was so sick to read about what the Dutch media had written of the whole issue. On how they manipulated the issue to gain support of the people. One of that i could remember reading Haja Maideen's book was that, the Dutch papers went as far as saying that Nadra was staying with her foster parents in some Malayan jungle, where the people still live on trees and so on. Oh those damn bloody ignorant Europeans.
to quote a South China Morning Post article;
"...the story of Maria Hertogh is a chilling true story of how a tug-of-war turned into an international incident between Europe and South East Asia"
In the end, it was a sad ending for Che Aminah who had brought her up in her hometown in Kemaman for nearly twelve years and later lost custody to Nadra's Dutch biological parents. Losing custody is one thing, but the fact that she was brought up as a Muslim and later being placed in a Christian convent that angered the Muslim community in Singapore and later through out the whole Malay archipelago and the Islamic world. Words of support and encouragement came from Pakistan, Indonesia and even from as far as Saudi Arabia. That was one of the reason that causes major riots in Singapore in 1950.
Another shorter version of the Nadra story. >> click
Epilogue (excerpts from the link above):
Maria was brought up as a Muslim and given the name Nadra by Aminah. In 1947, Maria was brought to Malaya by Aminah as the Indonesian War of Independence raged. By 1949 when the Hertoghs received news that Maria was in Malaya, Maria could only speak Malay and had been brought up as a Muslim..

...The Riot showed that the colonial authorities were not sensitive to the racial and religious feelings of Singaporeans. It failed to realise how damaging it would be to put a Muslim girl in a Christian convent when so much media attention was focused on the trial.

More importantly, the Riot showed that racial and religious harmony could never be taken for granted in a multicultural society like ours. Our primordial attachment to our cultural roots makes it easy for racial and religious feelings to boil over and these could easily take violent
forms. If a racial riot is to happen today, what we have achieved so far could all be undermined.
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Sunday Quote;
Shahnon Ahmad on Dr. Mahathir;
(via Sunday Times interview-not available online)

"..Although I wrote the novel Shit, which people specifically targeted at Dr. Mahathir, but in terms of leadership, payah kita nak tandingi Dr. Mahathir," says Shahnon.

"The thing about Dr. Mahathir is that he is too fast (in his thinking), sometimes we cannot keep up (in understanding his vision).

"He publishes a lot of books. He is very intelligent, creative, innovative and he doesn't care what other people think of him. He's also daring in the sense that he will do what he feels needs to be done,"

"..The period when i was in politics was a traumatic experience for me because saya bukan orang politik," he says shaking his head.

I believe SN Dato' Shahnon Ahmad is now very much a changed man from what he was during his days in PAS.
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Other notable quotes on Dr. Mahathir in this blog.
Tun Dr. M on Srebrenica

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