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  • This is the story of how my father met my mother.

    My dad, David Simon was born in Taiping. He had a happy upbringing, and went to King Edward VII School in 1939. When he reached 17, he decided to join the police force.

    In 1953, he was appointed to become a detective in the Special Branch force, an intelligence agency attached to the Royal Malayan Police. He underwent training in the Malayan jungle for 3 years to acquire and develop intelligence on the Communist insurgency.

    Later, Dad was posted to Kampar for his first assignment. His mission was to acquire information on the subversive activities of 'Min Yuen', a people’s movement that supported the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).

    It was during this first assignment, unwittingly he would meet his future wife. And it happened to be that the future father-in-law was a sympathizer of Min Yuen.

    In the early stages, Min Yuen members provided supplies, intelligence and auxiliary combat units, but they became more involved in the frontline in later years.

    Min Yuen was particularly active in the Chinese squatter settlement areas, whose inhabitants owed a debt of gratitude to the MCP for championing their cause against the British civil government’s efforts to evict them. Food, shelter and recruits were supplied to the guerrilla fighters within these areas.

    My grandfather, Nijam Sabjoo, wasn't a Min Yuen member, and never got involved in their activities. But as he had a shop and small rubber plantation in Kampar, his place was often used to stock and supply food to Min Yuen members.

    The members knew of my grandparents as the Indian couple who were adopting Chinese girls. They had a soft spot for them, and wanted to protect the family.

    For a year, Dad worked hard to become friendly with my grandfather. A few months later, Dad was invited to a wedding function and it was here that my Dad met my Mum, December 1953 for the first time. He was captivated by her Indianised oriental beauty.

    When my grandfather knew of this, he was apprehensive of my Dad's advances towards Mum.

    Initially, my Dad kept close to my grandfather but he hadn't realised over time, he had fell in love with my Mum! It's hard to believe the story has the hallmarks of a Hollywood spy movie.

    After a year, Dad was confident enough to ask my grandfather for Mum's hand in marriage. By then, my grandfather was comfortable with my Dad and thought highly of him.

    Eventually, the insurgency ceased by late 1950's and the Min Yuen movement was dissolved.

    Till today, my grandfather still had no idea of Dad's ulterior motive in the beginning of the friendship.

    In 1957, Mum and Dad finally got married in Taiping - with the blessings of my grandparents.

    Story of Morgan Raj David for The Chindian Diaries
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