PETALING JAYA: Though single, kindergarten teacher Chee Hoi Lan had a heart big enough to take on the task of bringing up an Indonesian woman’s abandoned baby 20 years ago, and ensure the child would have the proper religious upbringing.
Rohana Abdullah was only two months old when she was left behind by her mother, a domestic worker at the kindergarten where Chee worked.
Chee was not married, but that did not stop her from taking care of Rohana like a daughter.
Her story and that of Rohana was reported by Harian Metro today.
Rohana, 22, said her mother, who was married to a Malaysian, had returned to visit her a few times when she was under Chee’s care.
“But now, I have a citizenship problem, because my mother is Indonesian and my father disappeared when I was little. I’ve tried applying for citizenship since 2016 and until now, I’ve yet to receive any reply,” Rohana said.
Chee said that, in bringing up Rohana, she realised that the problem of race and religion would crop up and she worked hard to ensure that Rohana would never lack in terms of being raised as a Muslim.
She enrolled Rohana for Kelas Asas Fardu Ain (Kafa) at her own expense and made sure she got all the basic religious education she needed in school as well as guidance from acquaintances.
“I took the responsibility as a mother, educated her and raised her as she should be. The only thing that differentiates us is our culture and religion.
“I love her like a daughter. Since she was young, I always made sure she ate halal food and fulfilled her daily prayers as a Muslim,” said Chee, now 83.
Her only wish now was to see Rohana tie the knot before she passes on. “I only want to see her getting married, successful and happy before I die. I am relieved that throughout my life I was able to make sure that she has everything she needs as a Muslim,” she said.
Rohana, who looked solemn during the conversation, said she will continue loving her adoptive mother, whom she affectionally calls laoshi (teacher in Mandarin), even as she goes on her own path.