Batik exists in other countries too, Miss World Malaysia tells Indonesian haters

Screengrab of Lavanya Sivaji’s apology on Instagram. Photo: Lavanya Sivaji/Instagram
Screengrab of Lavanya Sivaji’s apology on Instagram. Photo: Lavanya Sivaji/Instagram

Miss World Malaysia 2021 titleholder has apologized to incensed Indonesians accusing her of claiming that batik cloth was Malaysian. 

Lavanya Sivaji, 25, yesterday apologized to those who were offended by her post while also clarifying that Malaysia had its own version of the wax-printed fabric too. Her apology came two days after more than 16,000 Indonesians accused her online for making the claim on Instagram while revealing her black and green batik evening gown she wore at the pageant. 

“I acknowledged the word Batik is originally from Java as well as the designs and the history,” said yesterday, adding: “However, there are few other countries that [practice] such cultural [elements] including Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India with their own designs and [motifs].”

“Be it Malaysia, Indonesia, or any other countries, I will always feel proud wearing Batik,” she said.

She has since restricted her comments section. 

The batik’s signature design of intricate dots and lines is created using a spouted tool known as canting. The fabric is then soaked in multiple dyes. 

The medical doctor won Miss World Malaysia on Sunday. A day later, she shared a photo of her evening gown to Instagram, calling batik a symbol of Malaysia’s diversity. The caption has been amended to include her apology and a tribute to her designer. 

“I am so grateful to have been taught to appreciate cultural diversity and I would like to thank my designer for this beautiful dress for my final night. I am proud [to represent] my country and I am ready for a whole new journey,” she said, without disclosing the name of the designer. 

Some Indonesian have called her a “clown” and demanded that she amend her caption to acknowledge Indonesia. 

“Batik [is] from Indonesia,” dozens of comments read.

“You can wear it, just don’t claim it,” another user said.

Lavanya will represent Malaysia in the Miss World 2021 pageant, which will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in December.

Other stories:

These women will represent Malaysia in three international beauty pageants

Miss Universe Malaysia lugs 45kg 3D ‘kampung’ as part of national costume

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