Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Al Mansor Adabi and Maria Hertogh aka Nadrah

In my previous post on meeting up with BP's grandson and Mansor Adabi, I posed a question..."who was Mansor Adabi and what significant role did he play in one unforgettable chapter of Singapore's history?". Click HERE to read that post.

Al Mansor Adabi was the one-time husband of Maria Hertogh whom he married on 1st August 1950 in Singapore. He was then 22 years old and she was only 13. Maria, born near Bandung, Java of Dutch parents in 1937, was separated from her family during the Japanese occupation. She was brought up as a Muslim girl in Kemaman, Trengganu by her foster mother Che Aminah, a friend of her Dutch parents. Her new name was Nadrah Maarof.
After the war ended, her biological parents went in search of her, hoping to reunite the family. She was eventually traced to a malay kampong in Kemaman.
In early 1950, Che Aminah was persuaded to bring Maria to Singapore where legal representations had been made for the girl to be returned to her natural parents.
Photo: Maria Hertogh alias Nadrah 1950

On 17 May 1950, the High Court ruled that Maria must be returned to her Dutch parents. Che Aminah's side lodged an appeal and the court ordered a stay of execution pending the outcome for a period of 2 months. Maria was taken to the Social Welfare quarters of York Hill for temporary safekeeping. It was here that Al Mansor Adabi, a young school teacher then, first met Maria in person. He was engaged to tutor her in English as Maria only spoke Malay, Javanese and a little Chinese but no Dutch. It was "love at first sight" according to the young Mansor. He proposed, she accepted and the very public marriage was held on August 1 1950.

Photo credit: Fatini Yaacob

[Fatini Yaacob is the author of a new book about Nadrah and her touching life story. She's based in Malaysia.]

This photo became the most famous wedding picture from 1950 onwards. It showed a clearly young Mansor and even younger Nadrah dressed in traditional Muslim wedding attire on their wedding day.

The appeal by Che Aminah against the earlier court ruling was heard on 28 July 1950. There was good news and incredible joy for both Aminah and Maria. The court overturned the earlier ruling on "technical" grounds and custody returned to the status quo. In response, lawyers for her natural parents served a legal writ on all three ...Aminah, Mansor ( her husband ) and Maria herself that she had to be returned by August 10 or else....

They ignored the deadline. The High Court fixed the next hearing for November 20. During this period, Maria stayed with the President of the Muslim Welfare Association, M. A. Majid.
Photo: Unk Dicko's archives

The late Al Mansor Adabi in a blue long sleeved batik shirt, 3rd from right. This 1988 photo was the last picture that I had with him.
It was in that same year on 15 October that our dear, dear Mansor passed away rather suddenly of a heart attack. He was 60. If he had lived, he would be 82 today.
Read the actual 1988 Straits Times Report on his death
More to come....


Lam Chun See said...

Hi there Unk Dicko. How come such a long silence?

unk Dicko said...

Hi Chun See and all others,
Last month, my most faithful, loyal and adorable companion for so many years, took ill quite suddenly. I spent much of my time trying my level best to nurse him back to and night. I am referring to my beloved cocker spaniel. He was ok for awhile then had a relapse from which he did not recover from. Passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Personally, I felt devastated the most as he and I had a special bond. Often, I talked to him and he sits there by my side looking fondly at me with his soulful eyes and acknowledging whatever I was saying by either wagging his tail, or tapping me on my feet or lapping my legs and hands.
So, it is a painful loss for all of us. Time is needed to recover from this.
Thanks for your concern.
Will be up and about very soon!

peter said...

I know how u feel. I kept dogs when young, now cats. My cat talks and calls me when she can't find me in the house. Every night after dinner she sleeps next to me. She so manja she needs me to walk her home to the cage before I chain her for the night. yes I treat her like dog.

unk Dicko said...

Your manja cat must be very grateful and happy to have such a master as you. I too understand this kind of special relationship. It does not come naturally but is developed gradually over a long and loving period of care.

roshlim said...

Hi Mr Yip,
I happened to stumble onto your blog.
Just wondering if you are the same Mr Yip who used to teach in Presbyterian Boys' school back in the seventies?
I was in primary 5 when you taught the class how to play the ukulele.
Tom Dooley, I remembered, was the first song we learnt.
Those lessons started my passion for music and string instruments. I am now a collector of guitars and ukuleles. Will share with you more next time.
Its great to be able to get in touch with my dear teacher again!

Warmest regards,

Rodney Lim (Brother of Randy Lim and Rudy Lim ...all PBS boys)

unk Dicko said...

Dear Rodney( Randy and Rudy as well ),
Thank you for remembering me and what I had taught you so long ago! Yes...I'm certainly the one and only Mr Yip of PBS days and who also taught music/singing classes with the Ukulele and guitar as well. Your memory is still excellent. You recalled the 1st song"Tom Dooley" I taught you chaps.
What year were you in Pri 5?
I was in PBS for 17 long years.
I feel so humbled to learn that I have somehow ignited your early passion in guitar and the ukulele.
Would love to hear from you again perhaps even meet up for a chat!
Are you still in contact with your Pri classmates?
Mr Yip