Cik Siti Wan Germany

I just came back from having dinner with an old friend, Siti. She’s on holiday here. One of those oh my God it’s such a small world coincidences. There are a few Sitis around in my radar and this Siti is known to our crowd as Siti German. When she was 8, her parents divorced and the following year her mother remarried with a German man and shortly after, she moved to Hamburg with her mother, brother and their stepfather. And there she stayed, making the once in two to three years trip back to Singapore for Raya.

Then in her mid 20s, she left Hamburg to come back to Singapore “to find her old self back, culturally and spiritually”. That was the standard template answer she gave to everyone who asked. She got herself a permanent job where she worked for years and on the sideline, worked on whatever her intention of coming back to Singapore for. I remember that year she came back, one of the first things I asked her in our deepest HDB Minah lingo was ” Eh, ko ni balik Germany ke balik dari Skudai? Asal ko berbual cam makcik-makcik zaman 70-80an arh?” Oh well.. She would say. “Kengkawan Mak aku semua jadi Kengkawan aku apa… So makcik-makcik Hamburg berbual macam gini aku berbual ah macam ni.” Her mother, in her attempt to keep Siti and her brother linguistically intact, continued with her mother tongue almost 100% at home. Ironically, who speaks like that now in my generation?? It was kind of funny, sometimes, in an endearing way to see Siti stuck in the year that she left. She also wore ‘baju kurung pesak’ to work almost every single day, while working for a German company based in Changi. I don’t even do that unless it’s Raya …

7 years ago, Siti, after having gotten what she wanted out of Singapore, left the island again to be back in Germany. This time round she resided in Schwinefurt while working for the same company as she was in Singapore. We keep in touch via FB, emails, whatsapp…

On the day I met Sarah’s father that Raya I went back to Singapore, I learnt that he studied in Hamburg. Siti’s family came to mind. I showed him Cik Esah’s pic on Siti’s FB and it’s the small world theme came to live. He knows Siti’s family. On the spot, I whatsapp Siti and asked if she knows Sarah’s dad. She said yeah and that he had a little girl whom he used to bring to their Mari Bersama gatherings. I told Siti, that little girl had just turned 16 and staying with us for the year as our foster kid exchange program. Siti was surprised and so began the kecoh-kecoh only HDB minahs like us can fathom…

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Me and Siti just now…

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Siti and her Mak, Cik Esah, who has been staying in Germany for 30 years…they really had wanted to see Sarah but Sarah had an AFS event just now so they didn’t get a chance to see her.

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