Finding your place, finding your identity

I was recently invited by Amanda Rees, a Researcher of Satellite Media Ltd to appear on Neighbourhood, a local TV documentary showcasing our suburbs and the stories of people that live in each neighbourhood.

During the filming, I was asked to read a poem.

What poem?

Indeed, I had forgotten about this random poem I wrote.

‘Finding your Place’
is a poem about finding your identity, who you are, where you are from and finding a place you call home.

In a nutshell, finding your place is finding yourself which gives you security, be it a house, the people or a pet who makes you feel at home.  Security is more than just having a house to live in.  It is about sharing a home with your loved ones.

Thank you Amanda, for very kindly reading my blog and finding this poem at the same time giving me the opportunity to share my Peranakan culture with our local community.

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These two cuties are my securities.  Home is where Toby and Bluey are.

littlegirlstory

Where are you from?
Where are you originally from?

I was born in Kuching,  grew up in Kuching (Malaysia) and Singapore.
I now live in Auckland (New Zealand) and have been for over a decade.

It doesn’t matter whether I live in Kuching or Auckland.
It isn’t about which country makes me feel most at home.

My place is my solace.
My place is where all or most of my belongings are.

My place may not necessarily be my home.
My home is where my family is but my family is all over the world.

I may have a house, a place which sometimes doesn’t seem like home.
Home equates people close to you.

Life is a vagabond.
Children grow up and they leave their nest.

Neither my country of birth or the country I live in seem to be my home.
When there are no loved ones, there is no home.

But wait !

I do have a…

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Kebaya and sarong

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.