Love at first fight


41 years ago today, on 14th April 1973, Marina and I were married. Marina was 18 and I was 22 and we had been ‘going steady’ for four years since she was 14 and I was 18.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

41 years ago today, on 14th April 1973, Marina and I were married. Marina was 18 and I was 22 and we had been ‘going steady’ for four years since she was 14 and I was 18.

Many talk about love at first sight. For us, however, it was love at first fight. I was zooming down Brickfields on my motorcycle and she was running across the road trying to catch her school bus. I almost knocked her down and skidded trying to avoid hitting her. I screamed at her and she screamed back. But we were both late for school so I was not able to stop and ‘pick her up’.

One day I needed a date for a dance at the Selangor Club and my brother, Raja Idris, introduced me to a girl he knew (he knew tons of girls but being in a motorcycle gang I only knew triad members). Lo and behold, that girl happened to be the same one I had ‘quarrelled’ with earlier. Talk about fate and a small world and all that jazz.

That was 45 years ago back in 1968. Since then we have never been apart and the worst torture of my life was when we were separated for two months in 2001 and again for another two months in 2008 when I was detained under the ISA.

When the government wanted to detain me a third time in 2009 (and this time most likely for two years or longer) Marina insisted we leave Malaysia or else she was going to walk out of my life. She was not going to endure a third separation and would rather leave me and have me out of her mind than suffer at home alone.

At first I refused but as she was packing her bags I knew that she was very serious about the matter. Leave with me or I will leave without you was the message that came through loud and clear. And she won, obviously.

We have gone through much in the 45 years we have been together, 41 of those years as husband and wife. My only wish is that we will both be around to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in 2023. And if that is not possible then I have asked her to promise me that she will ensure that I leave before her because life without her would be a life worse than death.

Anyway, maybe the rest of my story can be in photos.


Me, 1950, before I had hair


I had always believed in transparency even before I could walk


With my parents and my baby brother, Raja Idris: 1953 in London


The two loves of my life, my Yamaha and Marina, in that order of priority 


 The day we were married, 14th April 1973, and my mum blessing us


 The newly married couple a year later


The three women in my life: Marina and my two daughters, Raja Suraya and Raja Sara (the day I was released from detention)


The reason Marina wanted ‘out’ 


My last political ‘outing’ just before I left the country, the Kuala Terengganu by-election in 2009: paying homage to PAS President Hadi Awang (the late Bernard a.k.a. Zorro on my left)


Leaving Malaysia for good: a slow boat to Thailand and onwards to the UK


And, finally, in the land of my birth