Adopted woman seeks Hokkien relatives as her 70th birthday approaches

SINGAPORE - Tew Suat Sim, the daughter of Hokkien immigrants Tew Lai Keng and Sng Soon Keo, was given away at birth, at the close of World War II.

She was brought up by Malay adoptive parents, who renamed her Zawiah Ahid.

The 69-year-old said she could not have had better parents to care for her than Mr Ahid Arip, a civil servant, and housewife Halima Abdul Rahim.

But now that she is suffering from a liver tumour and undergoing palliative care, she yearns to know a little about her biological parents and why they gave her up.

Growing up as a Chinese girl in a Malay family, Madam Zawiah says she was always curious about her origins.

But another family had handed her to her adoptive father and mother, who had no direct link to her birth parents.

She got to know their names only after checking with the birth registry.

Speaking in Malay, Madam Zawiah said she enjoyed a comfortable childhood alongside two brothers and a sister.

At 25, she married production operator Mohamed Omar, now 81, and had two sons and a daughter.

Now, with her 70th birthday approaching in October, an ideal present would be to link up with any relatives from the Hokkien side of her family.

Explained her younger son, network engineer Razali Mohamed, 35: "She sometimes wondered why she was given away, and felt abandoned.

"If we discover the reason she was put up for adoption, it might bring her some closure."

Those with any information can contact him at 8168-0554.

rkurohi@sph.com.sg