Women of Malaysia – austerity and chastity
Completely “closed” women on the streets of Malaysian cities are not so common. Usually Muslim women are dressed in trousers like leggings or jeans and a long blouse with sleeves, more rarely in a national long dress and with a beautifully laid shawl on the head. Representatives of the Indian community are equally likely to wear saris, shalvar-kamis or jeans with a T-shirt. The most emancipated are the Chinese women in Malaysia; they are dressed in a modern style without any national peculiarities.
As you might know already, Malaysia is the country where vast majority of population are Muslims and this affects women’s dressing and how they behave a lot. But women in Malaysia do not live like women in Muslim countries of Africa, for example. In African Muslim countries many women close their faces with black cloth and it is VERY different in Malaysia!
All Muslim women in Malaysia are wearing hijab and according to the fact that most of the population are Muslims it seems all the country wears hijab and you don’t take into account other ethnic groups of Malaysia like Chinese or Indians. Clothes of Muslim Malaysian women, in fact, is very beautiful. They wear very bright and suits of long skirts and blouses. All this clothes is very closed and chaste, but very colorful and festive at the same time. You can be admired and regretted that it is almost impossible to take photographs in Malaysia as men very carefully guard their wives including protection from camera flashes.
Muslim Malaysian women leave great and strong impression. Women are very strict and serious. Maybe they do not have enough children’s ease or maybe… they just have enough. This is a big hindrance in Malaysia as the men here look better in terms of hospitality, in my opinion. But surely such a serious approach does its job in family life.
It is impossible to get acquainted with Malaysian girl, if it is going about Muslim Malaysian girl. Neither on the street, nor in a cafe they are never alone, especially those who are unmarried. Their purity and chastity is very carefully protected by members of the family since birth until the last days. Such protection and care in general is a distinctive feature of the eastern Asian inhabitants.
Men very carefully guard their wives and not only from flashes as I mentioned before, but also from heavy bags and unnecessary conversations. You will never notice Muslim Malaysian women on the street caring heavy bags. A maximum is three light bags and woman is coming back from a clothing store; if there are more – the husband would take care of it.
If a woman appears in society then most often she is not alone. If she does not always have a husband next to her, then she is with a girl friend, mother or sister. Women’s friendship in Malaysia is clearly not superfluous and a lot of bright women’s groups are seen in shops, cafes and parks.
You can often hear that Muslims are cruel to their wives. I do not want to talk about sad statistics and compare it with the number of violence in average European or American families. I will only tell you what you see in Malaysia. Here you often struck by the very quivering attitude of a man towards wife as he is fully responsible for her. Yes, there are quarrels and husband could yell at his wife. I saw it once in a public place and the wife turned red. But when he finished, he kissed her hands and knelt, apparently asking to forgive for his emotions. As there was a huge crowd of people it seemed as an indicator of respect for a woman. Of course, there are many things according to women’s attitude and their place in the society that you might not like, but you have to remember you are exploring different culture and society with its own norms and traditions.
Personally for me, the rigor and chastity of Malaysian women is an excellent example where beauty does not “suffer” at all and this is doubly great. After all, there is a belief that chaste is not pretty – a dress without a neckline, a long skirt, a scarf. European women often snort, thinking that this is a restriction and humiliation of women’s rights. But I was convinced that chastity is a completely different level of beauty which does not cause lust, but delights and inspires. When a woman is not afraid of being beautiful, it’s a different beauty.
You do not have to abandon any kind of beauty – you just need to move to a higher level. Even if we do not wear handkerchiefs, we can extend our skirts and refuse the décolleté, if we want so, of course, not for the sake of religion, not for the sake of social norms, but for oneself, for purity and tranquility.
P.S. What do the Malaysian women wear in natural conditions, and what is allowed to wear to tourists? If I’m always accompanied by my husband, I’m not forbidden to wear short clothes with open shoulders and upper part? Quite calmly a girl in hijab and girl wearing shorts can ride in one subway car in Malaysia. And if you are a tourist girl in Malaysia it is unlikely that anyone would especially precisely look along the street at how the tourist is dressed up. Although if you are going on an excursion to the Museum of Islamic Art, for example, or want to visit the mosque, in this particular case it is better to dress modestly. Read also: Malaysian family, marriage & traditions