SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 (AFP): In a Malaysian boutique, a small group of seamstresses sit at clattering sewing machines, stitching bright flowers and leaves into kebayas, traditional blouses worn by women around South-East Asia.
What makes kebayas special is that they are worn by women of all ethnic backgrounds in a diverse region, according to Lim Yu Lin, who co-runs the family business her grandmother founded in 1955.
“It’s not only meant for one culture,” she told AFP.
In a moment of unity, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand have jointly nominated the kebaya for the UN’s prestigious intangible cultural heritage list, with a decision expected in 2024.
Suited to hot tropical weather, the intricately embroidered blouse is usually long-sleeved, and ranges from loose-fitting…