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....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Learn to play the Ukulele

If you have been wondering how you can learn to play the ukulele reasonably well and finding no ready answers so far....well, wonder no more.
All those of you who are residing in Singapore and who are interested in learning to play this most wonderful instrument can do so easily with some expert personal coaching...from Unk Dicko.

I conduct introductory beginners classes in a small group of about 10 persons. Everything is provided for including their very own ukulele, electronic tuner, songsheets, special chord sheets and refreshments.
Over 5 solid fun-filled sessions lasting more than 2 hours per session per week, my learners progress from zero to being able to identify the major chord groups, applying correct fingering for the chords, learning different strumming patterns and different techniques of strumming and picking.

By the end of the Lesson 1, they were playing the ukulele and singing away.
Naturally, since all of them are new to this, they would require more time and more coaching tips to smoothen the way.
This group of new ukulele enthusiasts are from a church group.
Most of them have very little or no musical background...but they all have one thing in common...they love
to sing and they love the magical sounds of the Ukulele!
By the end of the 5th and final lesson, they would have learnt to play and sing many different kind of songs, with different rhythm, beat and tempo.
They were truly a most enthusiastic bunch of ukulele learners.
This beginners course I had conducted is more than sufficient to start anyone on the road to playing and singing.
But there's a little more to do to build up confidence in
playing anywhere, anytime and whatever song or music is requested for.
So, most of this group or for that matter any other group should continue to Part 2 ...where I conduct another 5 week module of similar duration but the course content is more advanced, more focussed and learning to play a wider repertoire of songs in different styles.
Also solo playing will be taught, together with how to read simple ukulele tabs.
My next beginner's class starts after Chinese new Year ( Some vacancies still exist for those interested).

Beginners Part 2 ( advanced) start in March.

If you are keen to learn or know someone or some people who want personal let me know in "Comment" box.
Leave some contact email address and I can get in touch...with details of course, cost, time and day etc.
Alternatively, leave a message in my Facebook with contact details.

Unk Dicko ( Grandpa Ukulele)