Recently, a “pencak silat” athlete from Sabah won the gold medal at the 19th World Pencak Silat Championship, which was held in Ayer Keroh, Melaka. Merrywati Manuil made fellow Malaysians proud with her accomplishment, and she did not forget to express her gratitude on Instagram. Apart from her success, the netizens also reacted to her outfit detail during the competition, specifically her head scarf or “hijab.”
The head scarf is not mandatory to be worn for Silat competitions. However, Merrywati – a Sabahan Murut and a Christian – explained her choice in a post on her Instagram after her participation in the championship received attention from netizens and the public.
In the post caption, she wrote, “Silat is the heritage of the Malay people. I respect, admire, and love Silat, even if I’m not a Malay. I chose to wear the headscarf even if it wasn’t mandatory. There is no coercion or enforcement from any side.”
She further elaborated, “The headscarf is not only compulsory for Malay women, but for me, it is appropriate and neat to wear it during the competition. I study the ways of the Malay people. So, of course I would follow and do what I have learned.” The 19-year-old shared the post on her Instagram on Sunday (7th August), and has garnered more than two thousand likes.
Netizens also left supportive comments on her post. “You are the best,” “You are right. It’s not wrong to wear a head scarf,” “Keep making Malaysia proud,” and “Positivity (heart emojis),” they wrote.
The World Pencak Silat Championship 2022 took place at the Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayeh Keroh from 25th July until 31st July. Merrywati contributed the gold medal under the Women Creative Solo Category.
Anis Sharina contributed to this article.