Saturday, December 22


College, 1990.
Even back then I was considered the odd one, preferring to do live life by my own principles, not somebody else's. And the most obvious thing I did then was to use the baju kurung ( a loose two-piece garment worn by Malay women) as a daily attire. I was the first and only Chinese 'amoi' in a baju kurung at my college at the time when baju kurung was solely worn by Malays in educational institution.

And how did people react? They stared. The Malays loved to see me in one. "Manis or sweet, they'd say. The Chinese kept quiet, but a week later, I had a conversation with another Chinese friend, Lily.
"You should stop wearing the baju kurung," she said.
"If you continue to wear it, then all of us will be forced to wear too."
"That's crazy," I stared at her in disbelief. "Who put that idea into your head?"
"Well, the baju kurung is not a Chinese costume anyway, so why are you wearing it?" she demanded.
"Look, I wear it because it's comfortable and I like it. Besides you're wrong. Blouses and skirts are not Chinese costumes too, but why are you wearing them? You should be wearing samfoo and cheongsam everyday," I replied.
"Well, I still think you should skip the baju kurung."
"Well, who are you tell me what to wear and not to wear? My own mother says ok."

That's right. My mother was the person who hired a tailor to sew my first two pairs of baju kurung. The college where I studied had a early morning exercise in the form of 'taichi' every morning before classes, and everybody had to perform the slow motions in formal clothing. Some Indian ladies even did their taichi exercises clad in their sarees. Call me old-fashioned, but I did not want my 'hills, valley and other assets' to be peeped at as I bent down during the exercises. Therefore I chose to wear baju kurung, to safeguard my modesty. I didn't wear it to get attention but obviously, I did. I met with opposition from my own race. However, I stuck to my principles and the furore died down. By 1992, there were more than a handful of Chinese 'amoi' and Indian 'meenachi' who go about in baju kurung in the college. And nobody forced them to wear those clothes; each has her own reason for donning one. My friend's and her friends' fears were unfounded.

Fast forward to 2005.
"You think they cover up, they so good ahh?" commented a friend about tudung-clad and purdah-clad women.
"Ya la, in front of us they cover up but behind they still do all sorts of naughty things, hehehe," supported another friend.
"Oh? But surely some of the tudung ones are good."
"Sure got some good one mahh. But you cannot judge a woman just by her clothing laa".
"Yeah, behind the purdah they wear sexy clothes. Like the Arab women, kah kah kah.."
"Ehh you are right, man. The more they cover up, the more the men are curious to know what they are hiding."
"Sure la. That's why there are so many rape cases. Curiosity harms the women." "And when they cannot get the covered ones, they get the others lohhh. Women like us."
"Choy! Get you la, not me."

Fast forward to 2007
"Eh-leh, those who wear tudung not all good la. Better not to wear a tudung than to wear one and do maksiat."
"Some of those who wear tudung are worse than those who don't wear one."
"That's why you don't wear a tudung la?"
"Oooo, no lahh. My husband himself has never forced me to wear, so who are they to tell me?"
"I pray 5 times aday, I have a good heart, good enough la. Allah knows what's in my heart."
"Wait till I'm old la.. still got time to taubat"
"Belum sampai seru (haven't got the urge to wear)"

To wear or not to wear?
To cover or not to cover?
To listen to others or to follow your heart?
To make excuse for yourself and others?

I leave to your own interpretation, my dear friends and readers. :)

*pic from


  1. Assalamualaikum Aliya,
    You're so kelakar, my dear!!! Anyway, it's true, not all those who cover up are good. Ada yang bertudung litup tapi sangat pedas lidahnya, atau terlalu cepat menghukum orang. Yang tidak bertudung, ramai juga yang berfikiran terbuka dan pandai menghargai orang lain.

    After all, we cover up because it's our responsibility. Just like we have to solat, pay zakat, perform haj, etc. Only Allah knows the matters of the heart and ikhlas.

  2. Waalaikumussalam,
    sis Norlela,
    Well, no comment about the tudung-clad ones. As long as one doesn't treat the headscarf like a tudung saji (food cover), that's fine with me :P.
    I read an article that wearing the tudung/veil has medical benefits. It actually protects the brain from overheating when you stand in the sun, or from extreme cold during winter. So next time any 'freehair woman' asks me whether I feel hot walking with a tudung on, I can say better be warm with a tudung than having my brains fried due to direct sunlight on the black hair... hehehe

  3. "Yeah, behind the purdah they wear sexy clothes. Like the Arab women, kah kah kah.."

    u fren went to mekah and saw this..and basically after speaking to the arabs, they wore those sexy stuff for their husbands. like..its not that they're doing notty stuff or anything.. they covered up cuz its aurat..but the stuff below the long, black robes..are for the only man of their life..

  4. Dear Hanna,
    I was quoting the non-Muslims' comments and their point of view.
    Actually it's important to wear sexy stuff for our husbands in the privacy of our homes... I'm not telling you what I wear underneath my jubah robes,'d have to ask my husband :))

  5. In my opinion, why should anybody care what a woman wears under her robe? As long as she covers her aurat in public, who are we to judge them?

    My travels to arab countries revealed that their shopping malls openly sell sexy outfits!

    So let me tell you this, those arab women are darn sexy people! But of course, it's only meant for their husbands. And that's even sexier!! :-D