Majie’s trousers with light blue waistband

This pair of trousers belonged to a majie, a Cantonese female domestic helper. The trousers are wide and loose-fitting, with a printed cotton light blue waistband to secure the garment. Majie is derived from a Shun Tak term (ma cheh) which means mother and sister. As this group of women had taken a vow never to marry, the term Majie alludes to their spinsterhood and refers to their work taking care of children. Majies took a vow of celibacy and sought to reflect the same purity and modesty in plain outfits. They typically wore a samfoo uniform consisting of a white mandarin-collar top and black trousers.

Date/Period
Mid-20th century
Region
Singapore
Dimension
Gross measurement: 94.5 x 129.0 cm
Accession No.
2017-00896
Material
Silk
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Credit Line
Gift of Dr Mark Lu
Category
Garments and Accessories