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  • Born to an Indian Mum and Chinese Peranakan Dad has made me appreciate the three cultures that run in my ancestry: Baba Nyonya, Chinese and Indian.

    Although my Mum, Pandari Devi speaks Tamil, English and Malay and my Dad, Roland Goh speaks Hokkien, English and Malay, we only speak English at home.

    My parents met in 1975 when they worked at the same medical company in Negeri Sembilan. Back then, Dad was a supervisor and Mum, a lab assistant.

    According to Mum and Dad, when they first met - it was love at first sight for both of them!

    Nervously, Dad had approached Mum while sending some chemical samples to the lab and had asked her out on a date. Mum recalls feeling smitten after being asked by a good looking Chinese man.

    They had to date in secret as they knew their parents would not approve of their union, particularly both my grandfathers. My maternal grandfather, Varatharajoo wanted Mum to marry an Indian man and my paternal grandfather, Goh Heng Chuan wanted Dad to marry a Nyonya woman.

    Although my grandfather Varatharajoo was Indian, he could speak Hokkien fluently due to the fact that most of his friends were Chinese. But to him, it wasn’t enough for him to allow his eldest daughter to marry a Chinese man.

    Eventually my grandfathers found out about their relationship and restricted them from meeting each other. On one occasion, Mum tried to sneak out from the house to meet Dad but was caught by my grandfather. She was grounded and had a curfew placed on her.

    Despite the odds, they were in love with each other and tried their best to see each other. This continued for 2 years.

    Bit by bit, they managed to convince both my grandfathers about their relationship. And when my grandfathers finally saw how serious they were in getting married, they finally relented.

    After both the familes met, my grandfathers agreed that true love and their children’s happiness were more important than keeping with tradition.

    Story of Mollyna Goh for The Chindian Diaries
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