As a little girl, I have seen my grandmother and my second aunt (2ko pronounced ‘Ji Ko’) dressed in Kebaya and Sarong. We are of the Peranakan (descendants of the Chinese immigrates who came to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) heritage.
Kebaya is a figure-hugging blouse made from translucent (see-through) material beautifully embroidered with floral (mostly) pattern. They are worn with camisole (baju dalam). Kebaya are buttonless. The patterns are sewn on edges with front opening and the closure is done by pinning both lapels together with kerosang.
A kerosang or Kerongsang is a string of 3 brooches studded with diamonds or stones attached with a chain. The below image (credit to Little Nyonya Shop) is a kerosang with a traditional “Ibu & Anak” (Mother & child) kerosang design.
Kebaya is worn with Sarong (large length of cloth wrapped around the waist). Above kebaya image is credit to Della of Little Nyonya Batik.
I am a third generation Peranakan and second generation Malaysian born Chinese currently living in New Zealand. This blog started as my autobiography and my random thought today is on my rich heritage and my appreciation of the beautiful kebaya and sarong worn by the Peranakan Nyonya (female).
You may click here to read more about kebaya and read the story of one Singaporean Kebaya Maker as he weaves his life into what the newspaper reported as a dying Peranakan craft.