Marlene Siu was born in the mining town of Bonanza, Nicaragua on June 14, 1946, of Chinese parents who migrated from Canton, China. She grew up with a large family of seven sisters and four brothers who soon joined the Moravian Church and attached primary school.
Her parents moved to another village, Waspam, which was located at the edge of the River Coco, near the border of Honduras. There she attended a Catholic Primary school run my nuns. Her infant class teacher/nun allowed her to draw on the black board with colored chalk, where she drew beautiful, colorful roosters. Inspired by loving, dedicated missionary teachers, she always wanted to be one, at least a teacher.
One by one, her parents sent their children to be educated out of the village as there was no secondary school. Assisted by scholarships provided by the Moravian Missionaries, she attended the Moravian High School in Bluefields, Nicaragua. There she always got 100% in Art, drawing the beautiful women of Clairol Hair ads.
In 1963, she was awarded a Presbyterian scholarship to attend a High School in Tracy, California, where she graduated in 1965. The high school had an Art Department which offered ceramics and she enjoyed the ceramic materials and kiln.
After receiving an Associate in Arts degree in 1969, she was accepted to the California State University at San Francisco. However, because there was a long waiting list to the art courses, she did an Interdisciplinary Degree in Latin American Studies. She graduated with a B. A. degree in 1972. From 1965, she moved to San Francisco, California, U.S.A., where she attended the San Francisco City College. Finally, she was able to immerse herself fully into the Art Department.
At a summer job, she met Habib Jahoor, also a foreign student who was doing a masters degree in art at the California College of Arts & Crafts. They were married in Trinidad in 1972 and raised three children.
Marlene taught visual arts at the Rio Claro Senior Comprehensive School from 1975 to 2006. She always endeavored to expose her art students to art exhibitions in Port of Spain.
In 1980, her husband, Habib Jahoor, was awarded a Fellowship by the Organization of American States, to pursue a Masters in Art Education. He returned to his Alma Mater, the California College of Arts and Crafts, where Marlene and children soon joined him. Marlene was able to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Open Program, with Distinction, in 1983, from the same institution.
Since retiring, she has exhibited with the Trinidad and Tobago Art Society.