Why do Malay men like Chinese girls

: For 1,000 years, female crippled feet were considered erotic by the Chinese. A shop in Malacca sells shoes for the tormented women: Farewell to the lotus blossom

MALAKKA. A walk through China Town in Malacca, Malaysia, is a journey through time and space; it stretches from the 11th century to the present day, leads from Malaysia to Germany to China. Craftsmen go about their trade in workshops, which in the evenings become living rooms for the whole family. The butcher cuts his pig on a block of wood in front of his house. Pieces of meat dangle from the ceiling without cooling in a tropical sultriness. A few doors down the street, older Chinese people sit, chat and drink tea. Opposite is the oldest mosque in Malacca, right next to it is the Chinese Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, which is actually the oldest in Malaysia. A Christian church is around the corner and a Hindu temple just a few doors away. Malacca has been a junction since ancient times, and the sea strait of the same name has been one of the world's most important trade routes. Indian and Arab traders brought Islam to Malacca, from where it spread across the Malay Peninsula and what is now Indonesia. Christianity, which Portuguese merchants brought to Asia, fell on far less fertile ground in Asia, and then there are the souvenir shops, the modern cafes, pubs and hotels in Jalan Hang Jebat alley, which were the colonial successors of the Portuguese in the days of the Dutch Junkerstieg, or the electric light bulbs in the red Chinese lanterns that illuminate the alleys of China Town at night. A phenomenon of vanishing times is represented by the small, inconspicuous cobbler's workshop Wah Aik diagonally across from the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, richly decorated with figures from Chinese mythology. In the third generation, the brothers Raymond and Toni Yeo make shoes for the bound feet of Chinese women in the shop. The silk slippers are pretty, if one can attribute such an attribute to an instrument of torture. For more than a thousand years, such crippled feet were considered to be the absolute ideal of erotic beauty for women in China. This ideal was achieved with brute force. Young girls' foot bones were broken, the foot was bent into shape, and then tied to maintain its shape and keep the feet from growing for the remainder of the woman's life. The ideal size was eight centimeters. That was considered erotic. For the husband, it was the highest of sexual feelings when he was allowed to caress the bare, battered feet of his wife. Although foot tying has been banned in China since 1911, it was still practiced well into the 1930s. Also, albeit less so, in Malaysia, where many Chinese settled in the 19th century. The 42-year-old Raymond Yeo says: "Many Chinese women here in Malaysia no longer had to endure this tradition or gave birth to their feet after their arrival." The shoes look as if they were for small children. But they couldn't carry them. The shoes have high heels: "That causes additional pain," says Raymond Yeo. "The buckled toes have to bear the full weight of the body." Yeo shows photos. On it you can see with cruel clarity what he means. A revealed foot of an adult woman looks like a woman's shoe with a chunky heel. The heel is the heel. The toes are bent under the sole. The sole itself is inclined upwards. The women could only walk with tippy steps with pain, if at all. The very rich ladies let their servants carry them on their backs. The Yeos handcraft twenty pairs of shoes for bound feet per month in the shop, which is a salesroom and workshop in one. The only buyers are tourists. "There are perhaps two very old Chinese women still living in Malaysia with tied feet. They are well over 90 and no longer need new shoes," says Yeo. "In China there are still a lot of old women with their feet tied. Go to the villages in Yunan Province. You can see them there." The Wah Aik store is the last of its kind. In Malaysia, definitely, probably in the the whole world. "After us there will be no one left who can make shoes like this," says Raymond. Like his brother, he is unmarried. Raymond and Toni took over the shop from their father and that from his father, who immigrated to Malacca with his family from China. The work is done on an antique sewing machine from Singer from Germany that grandfather Yeo bought. The serial number is still legible: EA 993932. "It has never had to be repaired," says Yeo proudly. The shoes have leather soles and the upper material is silk imported from China. It consists of two elements: the lining is made of red velvet, with a thin layer of leather in between. "It gives hold." The leather has to be hard so that the feet don't grow any further. They are tied with golden laces. The standard version - red, blue or green with a floral pattern - costs 95 ringgit (20 euros), the version for a princess 225 ringgit (48 euros). The material is better. They also get by without laces, but the sides are a little higher. That makes them more elegant. The patterns are also finer. One shows fish, one of the many Chinese lucky symbols. The ones in red bring even more luck, because red is the color for luck and prosperity and additional symbols of luck are woven into the fabric. However, the main business of the Yeos is cobbling the magnificent slippers of Baba Nyonya. This is the name given to the ethnic group in Malacca, Singapore and Georgetown (today Penang), which emerged from the affectionate association of Malay women with Chinese men. It takes Yeo two months for a couple. That is how long it takes for his sisters to sew the tiny pearls onto the slipper cap to create an elaborate pattern. The shoes are correspondingly expensive. A simple pair costs 800 ringgit (169 euros). The luxury version with gold and silver threads and pearls costs 1,800 ringgit (380 euros), and tourist groups keep coming and shuddering to show their shoes. Yeo presents visitors with yellowed copies of newspaper articles from around the world about himself and his work. That loosens up and encourages buying. A Chinese man buys a pair of pink silk shoes as a wedding present for friends in Belgium. A woman around 40 from Singapore also buys a pair: "For my grandmother in China," she says sadly. "His feet were tied as a child." ------------------------------ Helpless women as ideal of menHistory: The custom, feet tying is said to go back to a mistress of Emperor Li Houzhus (975). She allegedly had her feet tied for a lace dance in order to be able to dance on a specially made lotus flower - like a ballerinas. Only later was the procedure brutalized. Procedure: First the foot was massaged, then the foot bone was broken with a stone. The foot was then wrapped so tightly with bandages that it was deformed into a clubfoot and often partially or completely died off. With the exception of the big toe, all other toes were bent under the sole of the foot, resulting in women being unable to leave the house on their own. It was considered improper for wealthy women to go out. Over time, the ideal of beauty combined with the virtue of staying at home. The small step was admired as erotic, it arouses the male protective instinct .------------------------------ "The bent toes must carry the whole body weight. " Raymond Yeo, shoemaker ------------------------------ Photo: Raymond Yeo and his shoes for the bound feet ----- ------------------------- Photo: Feet of a posh Chinese woman: broken, bent, tied up small.