7 numbers kept them apart - for 14 years
A WOMAN living in Singapore did not meet her youngest biological son for 14 years, even though he was just across the Causeway. Quite simply, neither knew how to get in touch with the other.
A newspaper report in Berita Harian has now brought them back together.
The mother, Patiah Ibrahim, who is in her 80s, said that her prayers have been answered. She said that over the years she had made several trips to Johor in the hope of finding her son but was unable to trace him.
The son, Mohd Hatta Jalalodin, 38, rushed here with his wife and younger child on Friday - after they had all made brand new passports - to see the mother he had lost touch with.
On Wednesday, the story of his search appeared in Berita Harian.
It caught the eye of Madam Patiah's stepdaughter, Norhayati Ali, 36, who lives with her. They contacted the newspaper, which put them in touch.
Mr Hatta was born in Singapore, but taken to Malaysia by his father when he was a year old.
He shuttled back and forth between Singapore and Johor from the ages of 11 to 18. Then, at the age of 20, he got married and soon lost touch with his mother.
Meanwhile, Madam Patiah moved house and changed her telephone number.
Since then, each had launched several fruitless searches for the other.
Madam Patiah, who has four children, several stepchildren and 19 grandchildren, has lived with some of them before. Her house-moving made her youngest son's search difficult.
Then, Ms Norhayati read about his quest and the wheels were set in motion.
Madam Patiah had mentioned her son several times, said Ms Norhayati, a mother of four.
"In fact, just recently, she mentioned his name. She said it's been ages since they met, and she wanted to meet him again."
The production operator has been living in Boon Lay Drive with Madam Patiah for five years.
Once he heard that his mother had been found, Mr Hatta rushed to Singapore with his wife, Noryasmin Masod, 41, and their younger child, Nor Qamareena, nine.
"All praise to Allah...Thanks again, Berita Harian, because your report has reunited me with my mother," said Mr Hatta, a security officer in Johor.
Meanwhile, Madam Patiah is over the moon.
"Before this, I always prayed I would be reunited with Hatta. At last, my prayers and hopes have come true," she said happily.
Ms Noryasmin said her husband spent about RM300 (S$117) on the three passports just to meet Madam Patiah.
"We always save. My husband used to suggest getting a passport for us, but only when he got to meet his mother again," said the housewife.