Growing up with a best friend who one considers close enough to be a sibling is a ‘canon event’ for most people, but it is only a handful who learn their friendships actually transcend the ordinary.
In the tight-knit village of Aljunied, the lives of Madam Thangah Koh, 72, and Madam Fatimah Mohidin, 71, took an unexpected turn from cherished childhood pals to discovering that their bond was even stronger than they’d assumed.
The villagers, noticing their uncanny resemblance, often teased them, asking if they were sisters. Madam Fatimah, a retired factory worker, would playfully brush off the idea, emphasising the apparent differences in their ethnic backgrounds.
Little did they know that their shared history went far beyond their playdates…
It wasn’t until Madam Thangah’s teenage years that the surprising truth unfolded – she was born to a Chinese couple and adopted by an Indian couple within the same village. A few years later, the revelation that Madam Fatimah was adopted by a nearby Malay-Muslim family also surfaced, sharing the same narrative.
The journey from childhood companionship to the discovery of their biological sisterhood is beautifully chronicled in the recently published book, “Little Drops: Cherished Children Of Singapore’s Past,” penned by Dr. Theresa Devasahayam, a sociology lecturer with a penchant for heartwarming narratives.
Born into a large family, their father, a mechanic, had eight children from two marriages. Financial constraints led to Madam Thangah’s adoption by an Indian couple, while Madam Fatimah, initially adopted by the same family, found a loving home with a childless Malay couple.
As reported by The Straits Times, Madam Thangah’s revelation about her adoption came during the process of registering for an identity card in her mid-teens.
The absence of formal adoption documents set her on a determined quest to find her birth parents, ultimately leading to the tearful and joyous reunion with Madam Fatimah.
For Madam Fatimah, her adoptive parents chose to keep the truth about her birth shrouded in the past. She only knew of the tragic death of her adoptive father when she was eight and her adoptive mother’s relentless efforts to provide for her – which painted a picture of profound, unconditional love.
The heartwarming reunion not only brought the sisters back into each other’s lives but also forged a deeper connection with their birth family.
Together, they now celebrate cultural festivals, and despite being married with adult children, both sisters still identify with the races and beliefs of their adoptive parents, reflecting on their unique life paths with gratitude and acceptance.