Cheongsam Or Samfu: RTM Newscaster's Costume Leaves Malaysians Scratching Their Heads

Some netizens argued that the outfit is a woman's costume because it has 'lace patterns'.

Cover image via Kosmo!

We are so lucky to be Malaysians in the sense that we are able to wear different traditional clothes when we visit our friends' open houses during different festivities

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via NUBE Malaysia (Facebook)

So much so that even our newscasters often change their attire to fit the festive mood.

However, this time, Malaysians have been left puzzled by a newsman's traditional clothes as some suspect that he was wearing a cheongsam that is meant for women.

Image via Kosmo!

According to Kosmo!, the segment where the newscaster can be seen wearing a red Chinese traditional attire was aired on government television station RTM last Friday, 12 February.

It is understood that he was presenting news from a studio in Sabah.

One netizen noticed the newscaster's attire and decided to post a screenshot of the segment on Facebook, alleging that the newscaster is not aware that he wore a traditional outfit that is meant for the opposite gender.

"If this photo is real, then it is another example of the great chasm that now exists in the cross-understanding of cultures in Malaysia," read the now-deleted viral post, which gathered over 600 shares before it was removed.

"This is supposedly an RTM TV newsreader dressed up for Chinese New Year. The guy and the station [do] not realise that he is wearing a woman's cheongsam!"

Although the post has been removed, it did not stop netizens from debating whether the newscaster is wearing a cheongsam meant for women or a samfu meant for men

"There are two types of traditional clothes for Chinese men. The one that the newscaster wears is rarely worn," said a netizen.

However, the admin of a Facebook page where the netizen commented disagreed, contending that the attire has 'lace patterns' by the collars and the sleeves.

"If the lace patterns appear on the neck and wrists, the shirt is for women," the admin rebutted.

The netizen later agreed with them, before adding that it is the programme management's fault for the wardrobe blunder.

"Colours and designs play a role. Yup, by right, the lace patterns shouldn't be there," concurred the netizen.

Image via Facebook

Some people argued that a cheongsam is normally not that loose, while some said that a cheongsam is never long-sleeved

However, a quick google search will fetch you results that show such claims do not hold water — as this Facebook user had pointed out.

Image via Facebook

"He wanted to be fast, so he stretched the cloth (just to fit it). That's why he accidentally wore a cheongsam. He is still handsome anyway," one netizen said in jest.

Another added, "No wonder it looked weird when I saw it that day."

"Unisex cheongsam maybe," one person said while laughing.

Image via Facebook

Meanwhile, some netizens defended that the newscaster did not wear the wrong attire, explaining that it is merely a tang suit with 'traditional cheongsam style'

"I'm sorry. You have to have knowledge about traditional Chinese costumes," explained a person.

"Actually, this is not a women's cheongsam, but a cutting similar to a cheongsam for men. Female cheongsam does not have long sleeves. Because he wears something red with a layer of floral decoration and it is made from soft linen, that confuses people who do not know this type of Chinese attire."

"Don't view it wrongly. Remember the 'Ip Man' movie? He also wears an attire with this cutting, but only his attire's color is dark and made of thick fabric. (The newscaster) did not wear the wrong attire. It's just that other people's assumptions present different views."

Image via Facebook

Following the rumpus on social media, RTM broke its silence on the issue, clarifying that it was not a blunder

RTM's director of public relations division K Krishnamoorthy said that the television channel has always been cautious towards cultural matters, reported The Star.

"(On the outfit), we referred to our stylist Jenny Kueh who told us that this is a trendy wear at the moment which originates from a traditional outfit from the Machu ethnic group in China. It is called a samfu," said Krishnamoorthy.

"One mistake we admit to is, we picked the wrong size of the outfit for our newsreader."

The issue has also divided the Malaysian fashion community, with some designers saying that they do not see anything wrong with the outfit, while others saying it should not be worn at all.

However, the general consensus is that the outfit is not a well-designed piece as its shiny fabric with the piping design makes it look feminine — and ultimately caused a misunderstanding.

Image via Facebook

In June last year, RTM newscasters wore school uniforms to show their support for teachers and students who were returning to school:

Here are more Chinese New Year stories on SAYS:

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