Saturday, April 24, 2010



I watched a theatre called NATRAH a few months ago. this theatre stared by MAYA KARIN as Natrah, REMY as Natrah's partner, UMI AIDA as Che' Aminag the story was base on real story of Natrah or known as Maria Hertogh who made highlight of the world in 1560. this story show us how colonialist Law English Law affected the country of territory which is Singapore.

Hertogh was born on March 24, 1937 to a Dutch Catholic family living in Tjimahi, near Bandung, Java, then a part of the Dutch East Indies [which was until August 17, 1945, claimed by the Malaysian Sultanate of Johor].Her father Adrianus Petrus Hertogh came to Java in the 1920s as a sergeant in the Dutch Army.
He married Adeline Hunter, of British-Javanese descent in the early 1930s.
When World War II broke out, Sergeant Hertogh was captured by the Japanese Army and sent to a POW holding facility in Japan, where he was kept until 1945.Adeline stayed with her mother, Nor Louise, and her five children. Maria was the third and youngest daughter.On December 29, 1942, Mrs Hertogh gave birth to her sixth child, a boy.Three days later, Maria went to stay with Aminah Mohamad, a 42-year-old ethnic Johor and Javanese woman from Terengganu and a close friend of Nor Louise.Adeline claimed she was persuaded by her mother to allow Maria to stay with Aminah in Bandung for four days.

Aminah arrived on January 1, 1943 to fetch Maria.When the child was not returned, Mrs Hertogh set out to retrieve her daughter.
She claimed that she was arrested by a Japanese sentry as she did not possess a pass and was interned.From her internment camp, she smuggled a letter to her mother, requesting for her children to be sent to her.This Nor Louise did, but Maria was not among them.Mrs Hertogh asked her mother to fetch Maria from Aminah.

Her mother later wrote and told her that Aminah wanted to keep Maria for two more days, after which she would bring the child to the camp.his did not materialise and Mrs Hertogh did not see Maria throughout her internment.After her release, she could find neither Maria nor Aminah.Aminah claimed that Adeline had given Maria to her for adoption in late 1942.She asserted that she told Mrs Hertogh she would regard Maria as her child, and would bring her up in the Muslim faith.Mrs Hertogh replied that she would be glad as she herself had been brought up as a Muslim.Aminah also contested the truth of Adeline's internment by the Japanese.

She testified that she and Mrs Hertogh continued to visit each other frequently after the adoption until the latter left for Surabaya to look for a job "about the beginning of 1944."Thereafter the two never saw each other again until 1950.Maria became a Muslim in late 1943 and was known as Nadrah Maarof.
Aminah moved to Jakarta and later returned to Bandung, where she worked for the Japanese military police as an interpreter until the end of the War.

In 1947, during the five-year Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1950), and fearing that Maria would be harmed by Indonesian freedom fighters as she was White, Aminah moved via Singapore to her hometown Cukai (or Kemaman) in Terengganu.By then Maria spoke only Malay, wore Malay clothes and practised her new religion.In 1945, Sergeant Hertogh was released and returned to Java, where he was reunited with his wife.The couple said that they enquired about Maria but could find neither their daughter nor Aminah.
They then returned to Holland after requesting the Dutch authorities in Java to trace the child.
Investigations were made by the Red Cross Society and the Dutch Army.
In September 1949, Aminah and Maria were traced to the kampung (village) they were living in.

Negotiations were opened to retrieve Maria in early 1950.The Dutch offered some money to make up for Aminah's expenses in bringing up the girl for eight years.Aminah rejected the offer and refused to give up her foster daughter.Nonetheless, she was persuaded to travel with Maria to Singapore in April to discuss the issue with the Dutch Consul-General.

However, Aminah's firm position could not be wavered and the Consulate eventually applied to the High Court on April 22 for Maria to be delivered into the custody of the Social Welfare Department pending further order.The Chief Justice heard it on the same day and approved the application.The next day, an officer from the department served the order on Aminah and took Maria away.After a routine medical examination, she was admitted to the Girls Homecraft Centre at York Hill.From this point, Maria had made it clear that she wanted to stay with Aminah and did not wish to be returned to her natural parents.

However, the High Court ruled on May 17 that the custody of Maria be given to the Hertoghs.
It was only after much persuasion that Aminah agreed to enter the car together with Maria and pay a visit to her lawyer, who explained that Maria had to be given up until an appeal was made.The duo then parted in tears, with Maria returned to York Hill for temporary safekeeping.At York Hill Maria stayed for two more months, under a further order from the Chief Justice pending appeal, which was filed on July 28.

The verdict was an overruling of the earlier decision.The Appellate Court found ambiguity in the Dutch Consul-General's representation of Maria's natural father.Both Aminah and Maria were overjoyed.
On August 1, 1950, merely four days after winning the appeal, the events took a dramatic and unexpected turn.Maria was married to 22-year-old teacher Mansor Adabi.A day after the marriage, Aminah received the Hertoghs' representative lawyers from Kuala Lumpur.The lawyers delivered a letter demanding the return of Maria by August 10, failing which legal action would be taken.

Believing that the marriage settled the matter, Aminah and Mansor both ignored the deadline. The Hertoghs did not.On August 26, a summons was taken out by the Hertoghs against Aminah, Maria and Mansor.The hearing only began on November 20.Maria rarely left her residence in the house of M. A. Majid, the then president of the Muslim Welfare Association, because in her own words, she attracted "too much attention".

Nevertheless, media coverage of the incident had grown to a global scale.
Letters from Muslim organisations in Pakistan promising financial help arrived, some going so far as to declare any further move by the Dutch Government to separate the couple as "an open challenge to the Muslim world".Pledges of aid also came from Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

When the hearing finally opened, the marriage was declared invalid. The judge said that under Dutch law to which Maria was subject, she could only get married at 16.An exception to the above point could not be established because Mansor, born in Kelantan, could not be proved to be domiciled in Singapore.The judge said Maria's natural father, who was a Christian, had the legal right to control her religion.He said Adrianus Hertogh had not abrogated his parental rights and awarded the custody of Maria to the Hertoghs with immediate effect.
Maria was sent to the Roman Catholic Convent of the Good Shepherd in Thomson Road.

Mrs Hertogh stayed at another address for a few days, and visited Maria daily, before moving into the convent herself.Pas leader Dr Burhanuddin Helmi formed the Nadrah Action Committee. He picked Karim Ghani, an Indian Muslim from Rangoon, Burma, as the committee chairman.Karim, on Burhanuddin’s orders, was to organise a rally to protest against the court decision.The appeal hearing opened on December 11.

Maria stayed at the convent and did not attend.Crowds carrying banners began to gather around the Supreme Court.The court threw out the appeal within five minutes around noon.At that time, the crowd had grown to 3,000 people.Riots quickly erupted, even though Karim and Burhanuddin had counseled the Muslims many times not to take the law into their own hands.

The mob largely consisted of Malay Muslims but Chinese gangs were also reported to have joined it.Several Europeans and Eurasians were attacked, and cars were burnt.The police force, its lower ranks largely consisting of Malays who sympathised with the rioters, were effective in quelling the riots.

The British Army eventually quelled the riots.Meanwhile, various Muslim leaders appealed over the radio for the riots to cease.Police nabbed 778 people including Karim and Burhanuddin. 509 were released. 200 were charged and 25 were acquitted. 100 were convicted, and five were sentenced to death.
On August 25, 1951, Tunku Abdul Rahman saved the five men on death row. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

London criticised the colonial government’s handling of the situation, on the grounds that the colonial government failed to anticipate the riots and was insensitive to the Muslims.A day after the riots, the Hertoghs left for Holland.


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