Children born at the Sungai Buloh sanatorium in Malaysia were taken away from their parents at birth, in order to ‘protect them from contracting the disease’.
The babies would spend the next half a year at a nursery at Sungai Buloh.
The lucky ones were then adopted by the parents’ relatives and families. The rest were sent for an adoption in and outside Malaysia, severing the family ties.
Chinese Malaysian babies were adopted by Malay families, Malaysian babies
were adopted by Australian families… Different culture, different language,
Aging parents’ biggest wish now is to see the children taken away from them
years ago. Meanwhile, there are some children who started looking for their
biological parents and brothers and sisters.
One such is Madam Noraeni.
Madam Noraeni was adopted by a Malaysian family.
Her adoptive father was a Sultan’s driver. She spent happy childhood in the
Palace. Although she knew she had been adopted, out of fear that she might
hurt the feelings of the adoptive parents, she did not look for her biological
parents. A day after her adoptive mother passed away, she found an adoption certificate.
The certificate says she is a Chinese-Malaysian by origin, and that
her parents lived in Sungai Buloh.
Madam Noraeni is blessed with children and grand children. Her family gave
her all the support one could hope for, and her journey to look for her
Getting to know Ms EanNee Tan, who has been helping residents of
leprosy sanatorium looking for their children, and helping the
2nd generation who are looking for their biological parents in
leprosy sanatorium, they went through many channels and found out that
Madam Noraeni has an older sister,
her father has been discharged from the sanatorium, and
her mother has passed away.
The whereabouts of the sister and father is not known.
However, Ms Tan managed to trace old records and located the
grave of Madam Noraeni’s mother.
Madam Noraeni and Ms Tan spent the last 2 years writing about their journey.
The book ‘Children of Sungai Buloh’ is now completed.
The launching of the book will take place at Sungai Buloh on 5th April.
Ms Tan says
“This book can deliver correct information about the disease.
It is not a horrifying disease. It is not hereditary, and it is not
But we want to deliver this message to the 2nd generation,
to those who are forcibly taken away from their parents, and
those who do not have the courage to look for their parents yet.
Do not be afraid, and do not despair. You are not abandoned.
The isolation policy severed the family tie, but your parents loved you.
Carry on living with hopes. You are not alone.