Maria Bertha Hertogh died recently at 72 years old from Leukaemia.
To put it simply, Maria Hertogh was a Dutch girl who was adopted and brought up by a Malay lady, Che Aminah for several years in the 1940s. By then, she grew up to be like a Malay Muslim girl.
It was only some years later that her natural parents, who were catholics, asked the courts to get their daughter back. The judge ruled in favour of the natural parents.
Maria wept and clung to her foster mother.
She was then placed in a convent home before being sent back to Netherlands. It was there when the news about her being surrounded by Catholic symbols were sensationalised. This deeply offended the Muslim faith that a riot broke out. 18 people killed and 179 injured.
While in the Netherlands, Maria was extremely unhappy. Many times she expressed her desire to return back to Singapore but could not due to financial difficulties. She has said that her happiest times were her childhood in Singapore.
Her foster mother, Che Amina died in 1976.
Was it a matter of pride that the natural parents wanting their daughter back knowing very well that she was much happier to be with her foster mother?
Regardless, I just feel very bad for Maria Hertogh.
Read more about her life