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Natrah, Nadra, Bertha Hertogh

Nadra: Based on True Events
In 1950, a custody battle over 13-year-old Dutch girl, Bertha Hertogh turns into a violent clash between East and West (source: Monsoon Pictures).

It was only this morning after reading a news report about Nadra (Bertha Hertogh)'s death that I thought to myself, why there is no film produced on this incident. So I decided to search the Net and could only found one documentary, currently in Singapore's national archive titled, 'My Name is Nadra, not Bertha'. Thanks to Facebook, I got to know from a friend that a movie on the Nadra tragedy is to be produced by Monsoon Pictures (poster above), scheduled to be screened next year.

Below is an excerpt of my comment posted in Facebook, reproduced here.
The issue of Natrah is not just about custody. But the bigger tragedies were the forced religious conversion and the insensitivity of the colonial British towards the local sentiment.

First, Natrah was brought up as a Muslim and second, she was legally married to Mansor Adabi, according to Muslim rites. And it was absolutely natural for the local Muslims to feel upset when the court declared their marriage null and void.

Also, I'd like to quote a phrase of Haja Maideen's book, 'The Nadra Tragedy';
"Arthur Locke (British administrative officer in Terengganu) was apparently upset and uneasy that a white girl was being brought up by a local woman".
And this eventually led to the custody battle and the subsequent riot in Singapore. If only Aminah rejected the "advise" by the British officer to bring Natrah to Singapore and stayed in Kemaman, things wouldn't be the way it was.

One of the biggest cause of the problem was because Singapore was still under British rule. And the rule of the land was of course, British laws. And when you're up against the British authorities and British judges, no doubt there is little chance of success.

I believe incident like this would not have occurred should Singapore had been independent and free. This event should serve as an important lesson in a multiracial and plural society like Singapore and Malaysia. Peace and harmony are something that should never be taken for granted.

Related blog entry.
SaifulIslam - Pulanglah Natrah

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