Silat Athlete Explains Why She Dons A Tudung During Competitions Despite Being A Christian

The 21-year-old said she received many questions after winning a gold medal at the recent 2022 World Pencak Silat Championship.

Cover image via @alifasyrafsuhaimi via Merrywati Manuil (Facebook) & @wawatty_ (Instagram)

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National pencak silat athlete Merrywati Manuil has won praise online after she explained why she often chooses to wear a tudung during competitions despite it not being mandatory attire

Hailing from Keningau, Sabah, the 21-year-old does not usually wear a headscarf as she is ethnically Murut and practises Christianity.

However, after winning a gold medal at the recent 2022 World Pencak Silat Championship held at the Melaka International Trade Center (MITC) in July, she received many questions regarding her choice to do so when she competes on stage.

"There are many who wonder why I wear a tudung even though I am a Christian," she began in a Facebook post on Sunday, 7 August.

The women's artistic silat gold medallist said she always dons a tudung while performing as a tribute to the Malay martial art

"Silat is a heritage of the Malay people. However, I as a non-Malay, absolutely respect, admire, and love silat," Merrywati explained.

"Even though it is not mandatory to wear a tudung, I really prefer to wear a tudung during competitions."

She emphasised that she has not been forced by anyone to adhere to the attire, but it has been solely her choice.

"The tudung is not only a must for Malay women to cover up, but for me, wearing it is also to look more proper, tidy, and cultured while competing."

She added that because she was studying and practising Malay heritage, she felt compelled to immerse herself in its teachings.

The national athlete's Facebook post has since gone viral, garnering over 11,000 likes and 5,700 shares, as of writing

Hundreds of netizens poured in to show their support for Merrywati, with many commending her for her respect towards silat and its culture.

"That's good, respecting the customs of a culture. Good luck competing, sister," said a Facebook user.

Image via Facebook

Another said, "Thank you for appreciating and showing respect. We should all exemplify this attitude, our country will live in peace and harmony."

Image via Facebook

"Thank you Merrywati for the honour that you give. Our culture in the Nusantara is all similar. You also look sweet in a tudung. Congratulations."

Image via Facebook

According to Bernama, the championship was held for six days from 26 to 31 July, and was attended by more than 500 participants from 40 countries including Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Canada, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

At the same championship, four-time world champion Jufferi Jamari announced his retirement to spend more time with his son:

Meanwhile, this Sabahan also proudly showed off her indigenous Murut roots at her convocation ceremony in the UK:

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