Youth Breaks Female Domination In 'Keringkam' Embroidery

By Noor Bakhtiar Ahmad

KUCHING, Dec 1 (Bernama) – A male youth here has impressed with his skills in ‘Sulaman Keringkam’, traditional embroidery of the Sarawak Malays, breaking a tradition which has been dominated by females.

Amirul Shazlei, 29, said his passion to own a keringkam scarf of his own had motivated him to learn the craft from several ‘teachers’ around Sarawak in 2014, before mastering it a year later.

"My family owns six keringkam scarves, the oldest being 100 years old. Initially, I was very impressed with the uniqueness of the embroidery artwork, and I became determined to learn it from four individuals, namely an acquaintance in Miri, two teachers and a self-employed person in Kuching.

“I began learning the technique through the acquaintance in Miri via the WhatsApp application, whereby I would receive ‘step-by-step’ instructions through pictures, and through trial-and-error, I became quite proficient by 2015,” said the civil servant, who embroiders keringkam on a part time basis.

Keringkam is produced using gold or silver threads with floral embroidery motifs like roses and bamboo shoots and often worn by women at formal occasions, such as engagements, marriages, dinners and even burials…