The Chindian Connection

This is a portrait of my Indian (Tamil) family who lived in Selangor at the time. This picture was taken outside my grand mother and grandfathers home on Brickfields Road in KL. All the men were employed by the railways.

The Chindian connection in this photograph relates to the two adult males (seated) on either side of the photo. These were the brothers of my grandmother (with baby on lap). They married two Chinese sisters, one of which is in the photo. The only real ‘Chindian’ in the photo at this point was the little baby on my grandmothers lap.

The story goes that one of the brothers met one girl and the other remainder siblings followed suit. Apparently there was opposition from the Chinese side, I can’t remember exactly but I think they may have been ostracised to a degree.

As for the Indian side of the family, the only opposition came from my grandmother, who I am told was initially upset and to ritually show her anger, tore her sari and washed her hair in ‘tamarind’ oil (I could be wrong about this, but know it was some kind of oil). However, my grandmother/Amachee got over this quickly and things settled down nicely.

By the time my dad met my mum in 1959 and brought her home to meet his parents in Serangoon Gardens in Singapore, my grandmother had absolutely no problems with the match. – By Marc Rerceretnam