We often hear of celebrities appropriating cultures or religion and getting called out for it. The basic premise for this is that people want proper acknowledgement of and respect shown to the customs, practices and/or ideas that is being adopted. Recently, Malaysian singer and actress Bella Astillah found herself under fire for her choice to don the iconic stewardess uniform from a Malaysian airlines company for a birthday party with the theme “Dream Job”.
In a now-deleted post on her Instagram account, Astillah shared a tweet that attacks her for the picture. The tweet reads,
“Wtf doh. So proud yer. You want to wear the uniform so badly, apply to be a stewardess yer sis. Make sure to get rid of a bit of that foolishness first to pass the exam okay,”
Astillah – who happened upon the tweet – went off on the troll, explaining that she had prior approval to put on the uniform and that there was more important things going on in the world than her wardrobe choice for a costume party. Fed up with having to explain herself, the Sandakan born talent hit back:
“All of them do not deserve my explanation but let this be our lesson together. First for all, you want to callously ask people to ‘throw away their foolishness’? Why use the term ‘foolish’? Because I’m wearing the uniform?
You as a stewardess (sorry, ex stewardess), who represents Malaysians on flights, should show a good example.
I’m not foolish. Of course, I wouldn’t just post that picture for fun. Of course, I got approval for the post. I don’t know why she’s so angry?”
Astillah continued – by pointing out the current state of the economy, with many currently facing retrenchment – with words of advice for the critic:
“Actually, at this time with the pandemic, there are more important things to worry about than me and what I do. It’s better if you take care of yourself, your family, your health, your finances and get yourself used to speaking respectfully. Sometimes when your heart is impure, things will seem out of place even if it isn’t our business.”
Despite the incident being from weeks back, the singer has been facing a constant barrage of criticism online from various parties, including those working in aviation.
As a result, the ‘Tenang’ singer went on to post both a thank you message to the team behind the uniform and an apology on her Instagram account.
“I decided to don the uniform simply because it’s always been my dream since childhood to become a flight attendant for the airline. They came to meet me and explained in detail about the special features of the uniform. Alhamdulillah, I gained a lot of knowledge from there. I apologise for using the uniform without any prior knowledge on this and also the ethical history about the uniform. This serves as a reminder to the public to be more careful so that this uniform is not misused. Thanks a lot MAS for your time and willingness to meet me.”