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She's a mother and a mentor: Maria's boys

  • "She taught us how to care for other people, She told us what she's doing, and from there we learned about human right and all the inequalities of this world." Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

PETALING JAYA, Nov 258 (Sin Chew Daily) -- Despite the fact that their parents have been social activists, Azumin, Aziman and Azemi do not think they will follow the footsteps of their parents to devote themselves to social activism.

During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah's three children admitted that they never took part in social activism until their mother was detained under Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

Out of public eye

Azumin, 23, said her mother had been very protective of her family's privacy for fear her family could come under the assault or threat of irresponsible people, adding that he and his two younger brothers were out of the public eye before Maria Chin was arrested.

He said the three of them had been leading lives very much like any ordinary young people.

"Our normal pastimes are reading, playing computer games and going out with friends.

"We also tried to stay in low profile and not to let our fiends know Maria Chin Abdullah is our mother."

Talking about the changes in life now, Azumin said, "To us, the biggest change is to strike a balance between our studies and public life.

"We've adapted quite well so far and our studies are not much affected."

When asked whether the three of them would step into their parents' shoes some day, Azumin said, "Mom lets us know what she's doing but she doesn't expect us to follow her footsteps. She's adopting a very open attitude and will support anything we feel is right.

"For my future I hope to do something related to my studies, that is psychology."

His 22-year-old brother Aziman added, "We may not go the way of our mother, but as we get older, we know all that's unfair here and will continue to give our utmost support to social activism."

Maria Chin's late husband Yunus Ali was also a social activist who used to be a PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) member who was subsequently arrested during the 1987 Ops Lalang upon his return from exile from London.

Yunus founded the National Institute for Electoral Integrity in 2007, and led the NGO until his death in September 2010.

Advocate of equality

Azumin told Sin Chew Daily Maria Chin was not merely a mother but also their mentor.

"She taught us how to care for other people, She told us what she's doing, and from there we learned about human right and all the inequalities of this world.

"She taught me judgmental thinking. We've become even more independent after this incident."

Meanwhile, Aziman said his mother kept promoting the philosophy of fairness.

"When she bought something for us, she would make sure all of us got our share, and no prejudice."

As for their father, Azumin said, "He was always very busy but he would not neglect his children. He would make sure we were fed, was concerned about our studies and would take time off to be with us.

"He was a very approachable man, and would greet all the people when he went to the market. So he always had plenty of friends."

The youngest of the three, 20-year-old Azemi had very high regards for his father.

"He loved animals and taught us to be responsible for animals. We used to have a lot of cats, fish and tortoises.

"He also loved gardening," Azemi added.



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