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Every girl’s dream to wear MAS traditional kebaya, says ex-flight stewardess

10th August, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: It was an inspiration and the dream for every girl to wear the iconic Malaysia Airlines (MAS) traditional kebaya attire.

Regardless of ethnicity and body size, girls generally love to wear the kebaya attire because it is the authentic Malaysian identity.

Those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s would surely be familiar with the kebaya attire as it was a norm in the classic Tan Sri P. Ramlee movies.

“The kebaya attire is the true Malaysian identity and it is already synonymous with MAS from around the world,” said Juliana Jimis, who is the former MAS international flight stewardess.

“That is our signature. For me as long it is comfortable it is a non-issue but most important thing is the safety of the dress which allows us to perform our duty and move without hindrance during emergency,” shares Juliana who served in the national carrier for 11 years before retiring.

“So far, throughout my career I don’t have an issue with the kebaya uniform because I am very proud to put on the kebaya and it was our Malaysia pride,” said Juliana who is now a café proprietor based in Singapore.

They had gone through a meticulous process to design the kebaya uniform because it takes into consideration the materials, comfort and safety of the wearer and it was not simply designed to be ‘tight’ or ‘revealing’ as there are reasons behind it, she said.

The dress is made based on the wearer’s body size that had been measured because personal grooming is very strict in MAS and it is also to make sure the stewardess maintain their weight and shape as any change in the weight will be visible, she said.

She said the national carrier has changed its uniform many times but it still maintains the kebaya design although sometimes they change the colour combination and the buttons.

“During my time, I still have the chance to wear the green colour uniform until the late 1980s before they change it to blue colour now since early 2000s,” she recalled.

She still believes the iconic kebaya attire is the best design although there are other choices around such as baju kurung and kebarung but both are too loose and not suitable to wear and work in the sky.

“If you want to change, I would suggest perhaps they can change the colour combination, tweak the design a little bit, but must maintain the flowery motifs,” suggested Juliana.

“Wearing pants is also okay just like MASwings cabin crew. I welcome the change because the present MAS uniforms have been around for more than 10 years now. I hope they will not do away with the kebaya design,” she said.

“Wearing headscarf and pants is not something new for MAS female flight attendants because when I moved to the MAS haj charter flight, I was required to wear headscarf and pants,” recalled Juliana.

She opined that those who opted to wear headscarf for the commercial flights should perhaps be stationed in the kitchen to handle the food during the flights.

“I was serving in the international flights as those days we don’t have AirAsia. My favourite destination was Honolulu, Hawaii. So we conquered the world,” said Juliana.

Since she had fallen in love with Honolulu, she had decided to take a sabbatical leave to continue her tertiary studies there before rejoining MAS but in the charter department handling the haj and umrah flights until she resigned few years ago.

Opposition lawmakers have called on the government to introduce shariah-compliant uniforms for flight stewardesses serving the country’s airlines when debating the Supply Bill 2018 at the Dewan Negara on Monday.

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