M’sian transgender nasi lemak operator ditches make-up and dresses after public furore

M’sian transgender nasi lemak operator ditches make-up and dresses after public furore
Although the owner of the controversial nasi lemak stall has toned down her appearance, she has decided to retain the stall's name. Photo: Facebook
Published: 6:15 PM, April 4, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — A transgender woman had caused a stir when she opened up a stall called “Nasi Lemak Pondan” in Malaysia last month, leading to public rebukes from several mufti.

Following the uproar, Ms Jojie Kamaruddin said she has toned down her appearance by forgoing makeup and feminine outfits such as blouses and baju kurung, in order to keep her business.

“Yes, I no longer apply make-up. If any, just kohl and lip balm. This is my change in appearance after considering criticism and advice from the public for me to look more decent,” Ms Jojie was quoted saying in a report by mStar.

“When I don’t make myself up, people think I look sick. But let it be, I want people to come here to buy nasi lemak, not because how I look.”

Despite that, Ms Jojie was adamant that the name of the stall, located in Bandar Sri Permaisuri in Cheras, would stay.

The word “pondan” is a pejorative Malay term meaning “transvestite”, but has since been reclaimed by Jojie for a positive cause.

“For me, ‘pondan’ is just a name. I want to change the public’s perception that not all ‘pondan’ trade their bodies or commit vices.

“But they also want to be like others that find ‘halal’ source of income, for example, I sell nasi lemak,” she added, admitting that she has been discriminated in finding work.

On Saturday (April 1), Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria said Nasi Lemak Pondan should cease promoting itself as such, claiming the use of the name as forbidden in Islam, despite the food being halal.

Kelantan mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad also said that such stall operators should be chastised and educated.

Another controversial stall called “Nasi Lemak GAY” — an acronym for “Gerai Adi Yusuf” after its owner — said it will change its name soon, as reported by mStar.

Mr Adi was quoted saying he had received acid splash threats prior to this, in addition to the public criticism. MALAY MAIL ONLINE