The Shoo: Perenakan Beads
Circa: Ordered Jan/Feb 1998, picked up 2000
Where: Little shop in Malacca, Malaysia
The Story: As a possible throwback to my Perenakan roots, I'd always wanted to get the full Perenakan outfit. I've always liked the whole baju-getup: the translucent lacy blouse, the batik skirt, the elaborate kero
I don't remember much about the drive there, where the shop is or even what it looks like, but I do remember it was on a narrow street in a little shophouse. Very old school, y'know. We discovered, to my horror, that the wait for a pair of shoos was 2 years. Yes, not two weeks or two months, two years; the waiting list was that long and I soon discovered the reason why. The only person who could make the shoos (ie sew all the beads on) was this little old man in a pair of thick-rimmed glasses which took up half his face. There was another option of buying ready-made pairs where you could pick out pre-sewn beaded panels and wait about two weeks while it was attached to the heel. But the beads used in these were too big and coarse, and didn't come in closed-toe versions, which was what I wanted.
I decided to do the two year wait, and set about picking a design from a fat folder of photos. There were phoenixes, various flowers in a myriad of different coloured backgrounds, but I eventually settled on a design of butterflies and roses against a black background, 'cos black goes with everything, y'know.
And then came the long wait. While my mother was more concerned that we wouldn't get the shoos after having paid for them, I was more worried that the little old man would just keel over before he got round to making mine. Yes, he looked that old. But happily, as you can very obviously see by the pictures, I got my shoos just fine. When I went to collect them two years later, the place looked exactly the same and the little old man was still in his corner on his bench making more beaded slippers. Oh, and I think this story also illustrates how rabid I am about shoos.
I am starting to realise I own a lot of things with butterflies on them