What happens when one sibling has a darker skin tone than the other?
Nurulbadiah Lai took to Facebook recently to talk about the issue of comparing skin colour as she was concerned about how society's expectations and standards of beauty are affecting her two young daughters.
"When I go out with my kids, people always ask why the elder sister is fairer while her sister is darker. Balqis is light-skinned and Alliss is slightly more tanned," she wrote in her post on 18 January.
She recounted about how they were stopped in the streets by strangers who find it hard to believe that her two children are siblings despite them looking alike facially.
"Sometimes when people look at me with lighter skin colour, they ask, 'Are they siblings?'. I replied, 'Yes, siblings.' People had thought that they (Balqis and Alliss) are not siblings because of the difference in their skin colour."
Nurul said that skin colour was never an issue in her household but outsiders would constantly make comparisons in front of her two daughters
Nurul said that it didn't matter to her if her child has fair or dark skin, adding that she love her husband's darker skin tone. However, people would often come up and make remarks about her children's skin colour.
"Today (18 January) when going to the market, as usual, people like to greet and talk to me about children. Then the person said to me, 'This one looks like the mother, adik (Aliss) is darker because she follows after her dad I guess?'"
"Then the person said to Alliss while pinching her cheeks in jest, 'Adik can't wear pink clothes like your sister.'"
Nurul said that she understands that these people probably did not have any ill intentions but she stressed that they should consider how such a comment could affect young children.
Nurul is against people making such comparison because she has seen how her younger daughter become conscious of her skin colour
According to Nurul, Alliss is only four years old but she has started to feel inferior because people always compare her skin colour with her older sister.
Continuing her story from the incident, Nurul said that Alisss had refused to put on a pink 'Frozen' shirt after they went back home and showered.
"Alisss doesn't want to wear pink shirts. Aliss wants to be as fair as kakak (Balqis) then only I will wear pink," Alliss told her mother.
"Why am I tanned? Why is ibu (mummy) fair? Why is kakak fair?" Aliss questioned her mother.
It was a heartbreaking moment for the mother knowing that her younger daughter is struggling to make herself look like her sister. Nurul has always loved both her children and taught them that everyone is equal, as beautiful and as good as each other, so that none of them would feel inferior.
Nurul reminded the public to be mindful of what they say to young children because these remarks could affect the little ones of their perception of self-worth
"The point is, even if people do not have the intention to insult or are just making a passing remark, but when they say things like that, it gives my children the impression that being fairer is better while being having a darker skin colour is a lack," she said.
"I wonder why there are still people who think that being fair is more beautiful and better, and when having a dark skin is less beautiful. I cannot brain this! What a bad mentality."
In other recent news, a sportswear retailer recently came under fire after an outlet supervisor purportedly barred Muslim workers from performing their daily prayers: