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 HERE.
More to come....