PETALING JAYA, July 17 – What’s the best farewell gift for a friend who is leaving the country?
For former broadcast journalist Tengku Elida Bustaman and her friends, a kebaya-themed photoshoot in Penang is the gold standard of farewell send-offs, to celebrate a four-decade friendship.
The ex-TV3 news presenter in the 1990s took to Twitter to share snapshots of their colourful and vibrant Peranakan-inspired weekend in Penang which has now gone viral.
The group of six women who met in Form 2 was sending off one of their friends who is about to move to a new country.
We've been friends since Form 2, nearly 40 years ago. At the end of this month, one of us will start a new life abroad. As a send-off, we spent a kebaya themed weekend in Penang. pic.twitter.com/q0mrzKvcCy— Elida Bustaman (@mokciknab) July 15, 2019
Through a series of tweets, Elida said she and her girlfriends “shamelessly hired a photographer” to take their pictures at Penang’s iconic Peranakan Mansion and Beach Street.
Bought new kebayas, shamelessly hired a photog to take our pictures at Peranakan Mansion and Beach Street. Best farewell ever. pic.twitter.com/xEYDoAlOfY— Elida Bustaman (@mokciknab) July 15, 2019
She also shared that the photographer wasn’t a professional and had interesting names for various poses such as cakap-cakap (chatting), tengok burung (watching birds) and tit-tit which was his cue call.
The photographer wasn't a pro - he only had 3 instructions for our pose: "cakap-cakap" , "tengok burung" , and "tit-tit", which I guess was his cue call.— Elida Bustaman (@mokciknab) July 15, 2019
This is an example of "tengok burung". pic.twitter.com/RCmiowvrgO
As an attempt to bring back the kebaya, Elida called on other women to do the same photoshoot with their girlfriends.
Instantly recognisable by its intricate embroidery and eye-catching colours, the kebaya nyonya is the traditional attire of the Baba Nyonya, an ethnic group also known as Peranakan, in the straits settlements of Melaka, Penang and Singapore.
The initial tweet which was accompanied by a picture of the six ladies standing in a row has not only been retweeted over 4,800 times and gained over 8,900 likes but appears to have sparked a trend among social media users.
I really hope this will be me and my bestfriends in future 😭😭😭😭😭❤ https://t.co/NVkzj5UJzi— yì jiā 🌻 (@izzahazmee) July 16, 2019
Twitter user @aidoneous replied, “Omg I want a girl gang that wears kebaya too” while @Pelangihani wrote, “Let’s do this when we are in our late 40s/50s” and tagged her friends.