'All I have are their names'

'All I have are their names'
Madam Thanapakiam and a photo of her as a child with an adoptive cousin.

She may be 68 years old and a grandmother of seven, but she still wants to find her birth mother.

Madam Thanapakiam is Chinese, but can hardly speak a word of Mandarin or Hokkien.

She was given away to an Indian family when she was one or two months old.

Instead, she considers Tamil as a language close to her heart.

This year, there can be no better Christmas gift than a reunion with her birth mother.

"Everybody has a mother, and my greatest desire is to see the lady who gave birth to me," she says.

She is aware that her biological mother may not be alive, but hangs on to the frail hope that Madam Gam Soon Hiang and her husband, Mr Koh Ah Bak were young when they had her.

Both were born in China.

"I remember getting a glimpse of my birth name, which I remember to be Koh Siew Moi or Koh Sui Moi, when I was young and my brother handed the birth cert to school authorities," explains Madam Thanapakiam.

She says the birth certificate went missing after her brother's death.

Later on, she managed to get a copy of the birth certificate from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, but it did not display her birth name.

A family friend who facilitated the adoption told Madam Thanapakiam that she was given away because of her father's superstitions.

"He told me that my father wanted to give me away because of his superstitious beliefs; they said his stars and mine were at odds, and that I was a curse to his life," she explains.

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