Indonesian Natasha Febriani, 20, has never met her father. All that will, however, change today when she flies to Taiwan with her mother Wong Mei Tju to reunite with Chen Wen Yu and her two elder brothers.
The heartwarming meeting was made possible through the efforts of Natasha’s Jakarta-based Malaysian colleague Tay Hock Seng.
Natasha is a receptionist at the marketing gallery at One Parc Puri while Tay is a senior project manager with CapitaLand Group in Jakarta. They were having lunch with other colleagues early last month when Natasha shared how she had never met her Taiwanese father. Her parents split when her mother was about four months pregnant with her.
Chen, 64, and Wong have two elder boys – Chen Thin Chun (now aged 27) and Chen Wei Chuan, (24).
Natasha was five when she started communicating with Chen over the phone but they lost touch about 10 years ago after her father’s line was disconnected.
“I used to call him papa or ‘lau peh‘ (father in Hokkien),” Natasha said.
Tay asked her for some documents like her parents’ marriage certificate and her father’s pictures. He then asked his Taiwan-based friend Grayson Cheng to assist.
Cheng, a strategic account manager at Meyer Burger Technology Ltd in Taiwan, knocked on many doors and finally found Chen in Pali Hsiang, an hour’s drive from Taipei.
“Cheng immediately sent Tay a wefie of him and my dad. When I saw the picture, I was shocked and overcome with emotions,” Natasha said.
Tay, originally from Bukit Beruang, Melaka, took it a step further. He wrote to AirAsia, explaining Natasha’s heartwarming tale and how none in her family could afford the trip to either Taiwan or Jakarta.
The airline’s communication executive Dwi Addin Wibowo called Tay and later spoke to Natasha to find out more. AirAsia then offered free flight tickets to Taipei for Natasha, Wong and Tay.
“My mum and I are thankful to Tay, Cheng and AirAsia for helping unite my family,” said Natasha.
“I haven’t been able to sleep for the past three days. I’m also equally excited to meet my brothers for the first time.”
Wong was equally emotional over the prospect of meeting her husband and two sons.
“We got married in Indonesia in 1993 before relocating to Pali Hsiang. A domestic issue saw me leaving Taiwan but I never remarried and neither did he.
“I’m happy I’ll be meeting my two sons who have made Taiwan their home. I wanted to bring them back to Jakarta with me but faced issues with the paperwork,” added Wong, 55.
Both Chen and Wong converse in Hokkien and will become translators for Natasha who speaks very little of the dialect.
“I’m really grateful to Tay. I wouldn’t be able to go to Taiwan if not for him. He went out of the way to contact his friend (Cheng) to find my husband,” added Wong, who stays with Natasha in a room in Jakarta.
Tay said he was just happy to help.
“I believe in helping others. It’s good karma,” said Tay.
“What surprised me most was AirAsia also gave me a ticket. If you read AirAsia’s inflight magazine, you will realise that it is in the airline’s DNA to help others besides connecting people.
“So I believed what they said and wrote to them. They replied and eventually sponsored the trip,” he added.
Main image: Black and white picture of Chen and Wong on their marriage certificate.