THERE’S a saying “behind every successful man is a woman,” but in the case of Zumba instructor Yeo Xue Pei, who was crowned the Mek Kebaya 2017 winner, her husband has been her pillar of strength from day one in the contest.
Yeo duly dedicated her maiden success in her first attempt at pageantry to her husband when the results were announced.
“I’m naturally a shy person but the encouragement from my husband helped boost my confidence. I was both nervous and surprised with the results,” she said.
Yeo got the crowd on their feet in the talent round when she performed a Bollywood number Chamak Challo. That scintillating performance made her the hot favourite for the title.
“I always like Bollywood especially the graceful dancing. I developed a strong interest for the dancing since I was five,” she said.
The 30-year-old, who also won the Terengganu Tourism Ambassador title, believed the recent competition could help the younger generation to better appreciate the unique Mek and Awang heritage in the state.
In the Mek Kebaya contest, Sabahan lass Caroline Fong Yen Chin, 31, came in second while Wong Pei Ling was third.
In the Mok Kebaya category, a compe-tition involving women aged 46 and above, Pamela Tan, 48, was adjudged the winner.
The oldest contestant, 70-year-old housewife Lee Peck Gee was declared second while teacher Janet Tan, 53, clinched third placing.
The Mek and Mok Kebaya contest was organised by Terengganu Wanita MCA, Koperasi Kampung Cina Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Malaysia China Chamber of Commerce.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said the competition was a good programme to promote cultural integration, racial harmony and national unity.
“This kind of competition should be encouraged in other states, so that they too, can be proud of their own identity and specialty,” she added.
The judges for the Mek Kebaya contest were Miss Malaysia Globe 2012 Arena Boi, Mrs Supreme Malaysia 2015 Mandy Kang and HWT Group chief executive Datuk Jenny Hoon.
Similar to the Baba and Nyonya in Penang and Malacca, the Mek and Awang community is a Peranakan Chinese com-munity and most of them live around Kampung China in Kuala Terengganu.
Mek is a term for younger ladies while Mok is used to address the senior ladies. Men are referred as Awang.