The Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, makes sure her children are proud of their mixed heritage, she said in an article titled “Love sees no colour” on Facebook on Monday (August 19).
In the post published on the Johor royal family’s official Facebook page, the mother of the Johor Crown Prince revealed that when her children were growing up, she was “determined to let my children know that my grandmother was Chinese”.
She also shared a photograph of Tunku Mahkota as a baby, being held by her maternal grandmother, a Peranakan Chinese.
“I hoped that they would learn to be proud of the blood that flows through their veins, and to understand that it does not make them any less Malay,” she wrote.
Her children’s paternal grandmother was English.
Raja Zarith said in the post that she was reminded of her grandmother when the Crown Prince gifted her with photographs of his three children with their little palm prints and footprints on her 60th birthday.
Her grandmother’s embroidered Nyonya kebayas and Batik sarongs were among the things she remembered in the post. “She always had a handkerchief tucked into the silver belt that held up her sarong. When she became older, and her hands started being unsteady at pinning the brooches onto the kebayas, she stopped wearing them and wore buttoned-up kebaya-like tunics and sarongs instead,” Raja Zarith wrote.
“Sadly, she passed on when my children were still very young. But I would always show them the photographs of her so that they will never ever forget about her,” she wrote.
“When I see that photograph of her cradling my eldest son, I wish that I can tell her that he now has children of his own!” she added.
She wrote: “At the age of sixty, I realise that there is still so much for me to learn.
“One thing I do know for sure, however, is that my Chinese grandmother was as Malaysian as I am myself. I know too that my children – even with their mixed blood heritage – are also as Malaysian as I am.”
According to Raja Zarith, the Crown Prince plans to perform Hajj in 2020.
“If Allah accepts him as His guest in the Holy Land, I will ask him to pray, not just for us, his parents, but for our family too. And I will remind him not to forget his ‘nenek’,” she said.