If there's one garment that brings Southeast Asia together, it's the kebaya. In light of the joint multi-national 2022 UNESCO nomination for the beloved traditional attire, we examine its historical and contemporary significance to the region and unravel how narratives of its provenance and heritage exist at the intersection of globalisation, feminism, and postcolonialism.
This programme is co-presented with the Singapore Book Council.
Oniatta Effendi is an educator turned cultural entrepreneur who finds pleasure in rolling around for traditional textiles and sourcing for batik. Dedicated to revive batik by reimagining the way it is worn and appreciated, she started her own boutique in 2019, Galeri Tokokita, that houses her clothing line, Baju by Oniatta. A strong advocate of the Arts and an active applied drama practitioner, Oniatta believes in the transformative nature of drama, especially with vulnerable communities.
Dr Lee Su Kim is the author of the bestselling award-winner, Kebaya Tales: of Matriarchs, Maidens, Mistresses and Matchmakers, the first in a trilogy of short stories on the Peranakans. The other two collections are Sarong Secrets and Manek Mischiefs. Amongst her 13 other books are more bestsellers like Malaysian Flavours: Insights into Things Malaysian.
She is a sixth generation nyonya from Kuala Lumpur and Founding President of the KL Peranakan association.
Baey Shi Chen is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies in Asia programme at the National University of Singapore. Her work focuses on cultural globalisation and the development of the local fashion industry along the lines of sustainability and social equity in Singapore and Asia, and its intersection with policy and urban futures. An English major by training, Shi Chen has also worked as a fashion journalist and a teacher.