Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, November 07, 2005
Early Raya morning, when you are putting on your baju melayu (Malay Traditional dress), you need your daughters. At least one of them should be around and preferably fully awake.

If you had gone through the struggle of buttoning up your new baju melayu, you would understand what I mean. New baju melayu has tighter holes than Hj.Bakhil's fist. It is worse if your baju melayu is store-bought. You have to widen the button holes yourself using whatever poking objects that you can lay your hands on - ballpens, small scissors or even a test pen. The widening of the buttonholes is best done without you wearing the baju. Otherwise you would be going to the mosque with puncture marks on your chin or throat.

Once the holes are widened and you put on the baju, it is still difficult to button up yourself. You need help. This where daughters come in. Your wife will not be suitable for this job because by this time, you already have air sembahyang (ablution) and the chances of your wife touching you while trying to button you up is very great. There are 5 buttons or studs unless you opt for the Johor baju which uses a single kanching (clasp). Johor men are less frustrated on raya mornings.

After you (or rather, your daughter) have managed the buttons you still have to contend with the samping. Sampings for Hari Raya are usually songkets (woven sarongs with gold threads) and they need to be put on properly. Once you stepped into one, after making sure the back portion is at the back, you hold it up before you can roll the top down. You have to get someone to face you with both hands in karate chop stance. The some one has to use the edge of the karate chop to mark the two folds of the songket. The hands are held there momentarily while you fold the cloth inwards and then roll down the top tightly. Only then you will get a nice, snug samping. P.Ramlee did not use this method and his samping looked somewhat like a fan. It was alright for him because he can get away with most things. Terengganu gentlemen have to follow the sartorial rule as far as sampings are concerned. We also have to make sure the the samping is tight. One Dato' neglected this. When he was receiving his datukship from the sultan of an East Coast state, his samping fell off. His datukship however remained intact.