Crash course in Malay hand-shaking for Chua Soi Lek
It is obvious that Chua knows nothing about Malay Adat Resam (customary code of conduct). So much for his intimate knowledge of 1Malaysia!
Malay households have a traditional code of conduct inherited from the past. They are strictly bound by custom and religion, to observe these cultural practices and are required to demonstrate them in their daily conduct.
Traditionally this code of conduct extends beyond the family to recognise certain relationships between families in the same neighbourhood or kampung.
If Chua was at all observant, he would have noticed the specifics of how Malays touch or shake hands.
Perhaps the ignorant Chua needs a crash course in the Malay etiquette covering ‘touching’ or of ‘shaking hands’.
Physical contact between the sexes in public is frowned upon, even in the seemingly innocuous act of shaking hands. Embracing, hugging and shaking hands with members of the opposite sex are theoretically, non-existent.
Traditionally both Islamic practice as well as Malay adat, frowns upon physical contact between members of the opposite sex, unless they were family members or there is an acceptable age difference.
Casual touching or physical contact is generally avoided, even in situations where such avoidance may be a problem, such as in crowded buses or trains.
Malays will shake hands using both hands, rather than in the Western manner with the right hand only. The grip of hands is gentler and the shaking less vigorous than in the Western style.
Following the shaking of hands, each person raises his or her hands to the chest and places them momentarily where the heart is. This action symbolises sincerity.
When a younger person shakes hands with an elder, the younger person also bows down during the handshake, and kisses the upper side of the right hand of the older person. This is to show respect to the elder person.
In general, when members of the opposite sex meet each other, they greet each other with the salutary greeting, smile at each other, even bow a little, but they may not touch. To some extent, even married couples often observe this practice in public.
Islam forbids physical contact between the sexes. Thus, shaking hands between members of the opposite sexes is prohibited. The exceptions to the rule are when the person of the opposite sex happens to be a family-member.
Sadly Chua, who is supposed to champion Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia’s ideals, has forgotten that Normala is a woman of religious conviction. Does he think it acceptable that she should sacrifice her religious beliefs to satisfy his distasteful personal agenda?
If Normala had been seen entering a temple or shaken hands with males, who are not her family members, there is no doubt that Chua would have seized upon these and used it to his advantage, to discredit his opponent.
Normala has done nothing wrong by wearing gloves to shake hands.
It is evident that Chua does not mix and mingle with the Malay community. Otherwise, he would have noticed that among the older Malay women, they cup their hands in their selendang (shawl) or scarf when shaking hands, with members of the opposite sex.
These ladies feel that the cloth is a sufficient barrier and protects them from physical contact with another person.
Nowadays, fewer women wear the selendang but don the tudung, instead. Unfortunately the tudung does not extend down the length of the arms. Thus, the wearing of gloves takes the place of the long selendang, as the barrier. Gloves are more practical, especially when there are several thousand hands to shake.
Normala is circumventing the problem of physical contact by wearing gloves. Thus, she can still adhere to her religious beliefs, serve the constituency and greet the male members of her electorate. - Malaysia Chronicle