I was filled with emotions when I watched how the determined Dhien led her people to fight the Dutch. Even though she became blind, she gave them inspiration to fight for independence. I remember writing about Panglima Salleh Selempang Merah who led the villagers to fight the communists in Muar, Malaysia and about Hajah Aisah, my maternal great-grandmother.
"Hajah Aisah’s grandfather was a Temenggong (Minister of Justice) in Muntok, Bangka Island situated east of Sumatra in Indonesia. He was “bangsa Radén” (a race of Princes/royal blood). He fought the Dutch. As he did not want to live under the harsh Dutch’s rule, he escaped to Karimun Island in the Riau Archipelago with his family. To avoid detection, he did not use his Temenggong title and name. No one in Karimun Island knew that Hajah Aisah’s family was royalty. They lived their life as commoners..."
How I admire these unsung heroes with their unwavering spirit and a common aim: "Untukmu, jiwa ragaku!"
[*Both stories will be featured in my upcoming book.]