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A Malaysian Love Story

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Love in the 1940’s and 1950’s involved a lot of patience and perseverance. Anthony Dass often had to practice holding back and not acting too rash when he first laid eyes on Lily De Silva – a woman who, unbeknownst to him, would be his wife in the years to come.

“It was love at first sight for me with your grandma,” he told this writer.

He began asking around about this girl; where she was from and what her upbringing was like. Lord only knows he he had his heart set on her. Dass soon gathered the courage to approach De Silva and ask her permission to allow him to ‘win her heart’.

Dass and De Silva soon began their courtship. She was 16, and he was 25. But age did not matter to either of them as they quickly fell in love, and decided to get married.

And so De Silva introduced Dass to her father, Edwin De Silva. To her surprise, he approved of him for his only daughter. Now De Silva and Dass were ecstatic and finally set a date to get married – the 7th of January, 1950. She would be 17 and he would be 26.

Maturity was something that Dass knew he did not have to worry about with De Silva because she was graceful in her demeanour, yet feisty enough to know when to stand her ground.

Love Story - Malaysian - marriage - family

In April of 1951 Dass and De Silva welcomed their first daughter, Anne Bernadette Anthony Dass, who would be the first of six to come. They doted on her and loved her very much. Dass worked as a primary school teacher before moving up to the secondary school and becoming the sole bread winner for the family.

As the years passed by, Anthony and Lily welcomed 6 other children, Marie Christina, Rufina Juliana, Angelina Dass, Valentine Dass, Maria Regina and Catherina Agnes. They would raise them to be god fearing and responsible young adults. The nine of them led a very simple life and never breathed a sigh of despair because the couple was always there for them – physically, emotionally and mentally.

At one point, De Silva had to undergo a heart surgery because her heart was too weak and if she did not do the surgery she would possibly die.

Reluctantly, Anthony decided that he would do anything for her and he could not live without her, so he withdrew RM8000 for her surgery and for anything that was needed for her medical bills. The Bypass had been a success and Anthony was very happy. He stayed by her side 2 weeks after her surgery and took care of her. Their love grew stronger when adversaries and troubles came about.

But things weren’t set to go smoothly after that.

Unfortunately, at the age of 81 just a little over 7 months after celebrating his 80th birthday, Anthony had a blood clot in his brain which caused him to suffer from a stroke and distorted half his face. This left one of his arms completely immobile and that day changed their lives forever.

Love Story - Malaysian - marriage - family

The couple would soon move in with their only son Valentine and his wife Clarina who have two children of their own. Giving up his independence was a tough thing to do. He now had to allow his wife to take care of him when he promised her that he would do that for her. He still lives with the stroke that has done permanent damage, yet continues to thank God every day for the life he still has.

Fast forward to 2017, 7 children, 15 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren later, Dass and De Silva are happier than ever. Their love has transcended it all. Struggles, illnesses, heart surgeries, strokes, blindness, and growing old together.

Love was something that never fell short. Their love is unheard of these days. At the ages of 93 and 84, Dass and De Silva are my heroes and they also happen to be my grandparents. “A love like ours is something I hope touches people,” said Anthony with a smile plastered across his face. – The Binge

Dass recently passed away before the publication of the article. He is survived by his wife and their six children.

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