"A travelling Exhibition incorporating the Nyonya kebaya collection of the late Tun Endon Mahmood."
Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia (PENYAYANG), founded by YABhg Tun Endon Mahmood, the late wife of Malaysia’s Prime Minister, is a foundation incorporated on the 2nd of August 2000 for charity purposes.
Amongst its many charitable objectives is one “To assist in the promotion of research, development and the furtherance of … cultural heritage and fine arts, and generally for the advancement and enrichment of mankind.”
The late Tun Endon’s interest in promoting cultural heritage and keeping it alive began with her work on the Nyonya Kebaya, notably through the publication of her book The Nyonya Kebaya: A Showcase of Nyonya Kebayas from the Collection of Tun Endon Mahmood in 2002. She went to many places in Penang, Malacca and Singapore, interviewed several knowledgeable, members of the Baba and Nyonya communities. This research gave insights into the culture that produced, among others, the Nyonya Kebaya. The book was launched on the 2nd of November 2002 at Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
What followed can only be described as a revival – of interest in the Kebaya as a fashion icon in Malaysia, and in Peranakan culture overall. Old books on the Kebaya, its related accessories and Peranakan culture were dusted off and made into glossy new editions.
The Events that were significant to the promotions of Nyonya Kebaya as Malaysian cultural heritage are illustrated below :-
A second edition of the book, entitled The Nyonya Kebaya: A Century of Straits Chinese Costume, was published by Periplus Editions in 2004. Launched at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur, it is now distributed worldwide.Peranakan culture
Chinese traders first came to Southeast Asia around the 13th and 14th century and settled in Malacca and the coastal areas of Java and Sumatra. During their long sojourn in this region, many married local women and established families in many of the port cities. It is believed that the Peranakan Chinese were the descendants of these early families. Although absorbing the language and culture of their adopted home, the Peranakans retain many of their traditional beliefs and practices. They continue to engage in ancestor workship and celebrate weddings and festivals according to Chinese customs.
Peranakan men were given the honorific title of Baba and the women, Nyonya. Traditionally, Peranakan women were the homemakers. Besides running the household, one of their more time-consuming occupations was their indulgence in beadwork and embroidery. This was partly because the quality of their handiwork was a measure of their marriageability. An aptitude for exquisite craftsmanship not only reflected well on a Nyonya’s skills and patience, but also on her strict and proper upbringing. Therefore, much of Peranakan beadwork and embroidery was the product of meticulous wedding preparations.Nyonya Kebaya
The Kebaya was believed to have emerged in the 19th Century and first worn by the Dutch Eurasian Nyonyas in the form of Kebaya Renda (Kebaya decorated with lace).