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  • This is the unusual “romance story” of my Mum and Dad.

    When my father, Lim Ee Liong, was younger, he used to be have a reputation to be a ‘playboy’.

    In 1977, while on a school holiday, my Mum, Vijia Nagamuthu, would help my uncle Ganesan with cooking and laundry for his construction company. At that time, my Dad worked with my uncle.

    As a single bachelor, my Dad was hopeless in doing the laundry and house chores, so he enlisted the help of my Aunt Kamachi with his weekly chores.

    One day, Dad needed some urgent cash to pay his contractors, and had tried to get an advance from my uncle Ganesan. My uncle was short of cash and in a haste, decided to pawn my Mum’s gold chain for my Dad.

    Before Mum headed back for school, Dad bought my Mum the same gold chain and to show his appreciation, an additional green jade pendant for her. She loved the pendant so much that she wore it immediately.

    One night as Mum was sleeping, the jade pendant came loose and fell off the bed.

    The next day, my maternal grandfather, Nagamuthu found it, and demanded an explanation from my Mum about the pendant. She explained to my grandfather that it was an innocent gift from Dad as a token of appreciation for the help she gave.

    She said to him, “I don’t even like him, or have any feelings for him. He is just a friend.”

    My grandfather was suspicious, and he became abusive towards her as he didn’t trust my Mum, and forbade her from seeing him.

    Each time the phone rang, or if she was late in coming home, Mum was questioned relentlessly by my grandfather. At some point, my grandfather also blamed my grandmother for the problem that only existed in his head.

    Frustrated, Mum then said to him, “Since you don’t believe me or hear what I have been telling you, I will now choose Ee Liong as my husband.” As a sign of rebellion and retaliation against her own father, Mum decided to start seeing my Dad to spite my grandfather.

    Their romance story didn’t start off with love at first sight, or through mutual interest.

    When my Dad heard about my Mum’s story, he felt compelled to marry her.

    He drove all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Kampar to ask permission from my grandfather for her hand in marriage. My grandfather rejected him and said “If you want to marry Vijia, you need to get permission from Vijia’s grandmother, Mariyayee and Uncle as well.”

    Dad was determined to marry Mum, and drove Mariyayee and Ganesan to meet my grandfather. He then said to all three of them, “Now that I have all three of you in the same room, I want to convince you to say yes to my marriage to Vijia.”

    After a lengthy discussion, they all finally agreed to the marriage - with a condition to have two wedding ceremonies, the Indian "thali" and Chinese "tea ceremony".

    To help Mum fit in with the Chinese community, my Dad even taught her how to speak Hokkien and today, she speaks it fluently.

    Before my grandfather Nagamuthu passed away in 2009, he said to my Mum, “Forgive me daughter, I had misjudged Ee Liong. He has been a good son-in-law and a good husband to you.”

    Despite the circumstances on how they met and came together, they have remained together and supported each other in life.

    Story of Mary Lim Soo Chin for The Chindian Diaries
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