Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Name is not Maria Bertha


I read in the blogs recently that Natrah aka Maria Bertha Herthog, her maiden name, passed away in the Netherland recently. I think despite the passing of time, she is one name deeeply entrenched in the mind of the Malays in Malaysia for a long time, especially those who live in the 50s. I am sure many youngsters would not have inkling of her, but even for me who is more of a 60s boy, her story has always fascinated me as a child.

That image of her clinging to her (adopted ) mother will forever be etched in my memory.

Here is what I wrote and posted on March 15, 2007 about her. You can find more detail of her in the book Tragedi Nadra (or the english translation The Nadra Tragedy (Hmmm.. pejuang bahasa please take note!) and in this blog dated Nov 08, 2009.

Her life is full of tragedy and I really hope she will find peace with God.

Innalillahi wainna ilaihirojiun.

This article was published on the 18th May 1993. While I didn't get paid for it, I was quite happy then to get the letter-of-the-day spot in the NST. During those days, I was competing against myself in trying to get this spot, so I was reasonably prolific then. Quite a few of them were written while I was in Dungun, under the pseudonym Adrah. This pseudonym was conceived when I was in Form 2, which is basically my full name.

In the early 90s, a sister of mine who was working in KL, told me how her friend was puzzled about all those letters being written by this person from Dungun. Her friend thought it was surprising to have someone writing in English from this remote rural town of Dungun! I thought it was funny then, but I am sure people would not be judgmental in 2007.

This is one of the two remaining articles written in the early 90s still remain in my collection. There are articles that I got paid in monetary term, while for others I got paid in hampers. I wasn't looking for the money then as the salary paid by the oil giant was enough, but it was for the fun of it, and to nurture my writing habit.

While the headline and subject on hand were about Raja Bahrin and his two children, the real story that I want to highlight in this blog is the story of this Maria Bertha Hertogh @ Natrah @ Nadra. Her story has been told many times by Mak to us over dinner or while she was preparing the meals when we were kids. It was always fascinating for us then to hear this tragic human story that was Natrah.

The only reason I was following his stories was because I thought I may have seen Raja Bahrin and his then wife Jacqueline in Melbourne. May be. I don't remember exactly.

I thought I should just publish it in this blog for record.

Tags: natrah, nadra, mariahertogh
Thursday March 15, 2007 - 10:34pm (SGT) Permanent Link | 0 Comments

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