Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shodding Bigfoot

Ya Rabbi! Besarnya kasut, macam sampan!
Good Lord! Such big shoes, they look like sampan*!
(*Sampan - traditional Malay boat)

So exclaimed my normally unflappable mother-in-law to-be upon seeing the pair of champagne-hued, four-inch heels her son brought home that long-ago day in 1974.

The shoes were part of the groom's wedding hantaran (gifts) for the bride and we scoured half of Kuala Lumpur looking for a suitable pair for the approaching nuptials.

We found that glittering pair in Ampang Park; it was absolutely so "not me' but I didn't have a choice. Either that painful-to-the-eye pair, or no shoes to go with the equally glitzy clutchbag.

I found out later that the good 'isteri polis' (police wives) ladies of the groom's retinue had a rib-tickling time trying to be artful with flowers and fronds to camouflage the glaring inner sole span.

Neither shoes nor marriage lasted. The former cracked up after five years, the latter collapsed after 13. But my feet remain hideously big, wide and flat.

If at all there is anything that can put me in a despondent mood, it would be shopping for shoes. As if on cue, the moment my foot crosses the treshold of a shoe store, my question would inevitably be: "What is the biggest size you carry?"

If the answer is in the single digit, rest assured I would be off and away before the salesperson could draw her next breath. It would be a sheer waste of my time, and hers, to linger.

On the average, I am a size ten (or 40 according to European measurement). Sometimes, even ten doesn't fit, especially if the front is stylishly narrow.

I can only drool at the sight of beautifully designed shoes, for I cannot fit into any of them. In Malaysia, it does seem that only dainty feet are deserving of gorgeous shoes.

'Bigfoot' like us are consigned to the heap of unflattering but sturdy models from the likes of Clarks and Scholl, to name but two.

We are the unfortunate Heidis of shoedom, hefty frauleins and fraus whose enormous feet could only be suitably shod in unfashionable, bulky yet incredibly pricey footwear.

When I was a journalist, a friend introduced me to Mr Pan who worked in our production department downstairs. Pan came from a family of shoemakers and during break time he would surface on the editorial floor with shoe catalogues in hand.

Our orders usually took two weeks to complete. You could ask for any fashion, style, design or colour and he would always oblige. The prices too were very reasonable, between RM30-RM40 per pair.

Because of this convenience, I used to own many pairs of shoes and sandals, my favourite being two-toned court shoes.

Then I left my job. Soon after Mr Pan too retired and we lost contact. I had to return to plain and predictable Clarks and Scholl (and the occasional pair from Marie Claire).

Some years ago I discovered a local brand carrying big sizes and I have been patronising that make ever since. It is called Princess and they have a big outlet in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

As usual, the designs are limited but at least the sizes are there. Beggars, sadly enough, can't be choosers. But I am not ashamed of my feet. On the contrary, I am proud of my 'Bigfoot' status.

My late mother once said I was firmly anchored to the ground by virtue of having big feet. I would like very much to think she had her foot on it.


Anonymous said...

I can relate to your shoe story. I am a big footer myself. I think Princess should come up with more designs. There is another brand though - Neo. Can be found at Ikano Power centre and Semua hse.


Kak Teh said...

So, Mr Pan was the Jimmy Choo of yesteryears? How come I tak jumpa dia masa di sana? But then I am a size 5. I remember shidah dahan during her visits to London wld buy lots of shoes because she couldnt find her size in Malaysia.

Queen Of The House said...

Hahaha, I just had to laugh. Not at you lah, Kak Puteri. We also call my 15-yr-old daughter "Bigfoot". Big and wide, that's her feet. Susah nak cari kasut especially that's suitable for a teenager. She's a size 9 or 10 ... are you bigger?

Her big feet come from my dad, I guess (10 or 11) .. hehe.

My husband suka buat joke bodoh ... kalau lempar kasut diorang, kena anjing boleh mati!

mamasita said...

I normally take a look at any shoe I fancy and then tengok price ok tak and..same old ada saiz 8, 9, 10? It all depends on the design! And kalau narrow depan memang habis! My feet macam pelepah! I like your 'sampan' description more!hehehe

Nasib baiklah kaki kita tak besar macam Hobbits!
My daughter is a size 6-7. She takes about 3hours to get a suitable pair.Semua tak kena.Masuk kedai ni and keluar kedai tu.Nak pengsan bfrnd dia mengekor dia cari kasut.From one shopping mall to another!Tobat!!

So we are normal shoe hunters!Its just not that simple to buy any pair of shoes actually! hahaha

Anne said...

my 11 year old daughter is wearing size 8. I am wearing size 9. My sister in Malaysia is on size 12. In Singapore there's this shop called Pedal Works that's carrying shoes up to size 12 in all their designs and the price is cheap too. So my sis always ask me to buy for her.

Anne said...

oh i see that you are in spore now. if you wanna go to this shop, there's one at Amara Hotel Shopping Mall at Tanjong Pagar and another one at Tiong Bharu Plaza. Take MRT to Tiong Bharu station. The price average from SGD29 to 50

Desert Rose said...

Kak Puteri,

'Big footers' surely is a stable and peaceful person kan, sebab ada firm platform ha ha.

One of my cousin can join your ship, masa kahwin she refused to have her hubby to be, bought her a pair shoes, (size 9 1/2) Malu sey dia kata org tgk kasut mcm tongkang atas dulang. Sian la plak kat hubby dia tu, dah la org tu merantau sampai S'pore nak cari yg sesuai ngan dia , songeh btoi. Dah ko tu pun tinggi besar mcm Optimus Prime takkan la pakai kasut size 5 kan, cacat la plak jadinya.

Tapi kalau ada dainty (ke??) feet mcm moi (perasan) pun azab poket kak, azab menahan nafsu dan azab menangkis leteren laki, asal sale je beli kasut. I hanyalah insan yg lemah kak - sigh-

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Rina - Tq tq!. I am definitely going to check out NEO at Ikano!

Kak Teh - Size 5? That's obscene, Kak Teh! (sighhh..) Yes, Shidah and I selalu commiserate pasal our big feet those days..

QOTH - she is in my dauthers' league, Qoth. Both my girls wear size 8-9 whereas the smallest I can squeeze into is size 10.

Mamasita - That's what happen kalau banyak sangat choice. Rambang mata.

Anne - tq for visiting & for the info, Anne. petang ni Pak Abu and I nak pi Mustapha Centre, perhaps we can menyimpang ke Amara and Tiong Baru as well.

DR - Kesian azab menahan nafsu nak beli kasut..LOL.. but they are so cantik, kan? and tak mahal sangat pun.. mana tak go crazy..

Naz said...

Believe it or not, during courting days, my hubby referred to my feet as *paddle oars*. Adus! tak tau nak letak muka kat mana. It was not the kind of thing you expect to hear from a potential partner!
Yes, I am a wide 6...dilemma..dilemma!

Anonymous said...

Dear May

Iknew that loooooong2 time ago. Surprise? I'm sure u will.Terjumpa blog u through Kak Teh(big fan AND 3 Yrs my senior in college). I'm surprised to see Naj,Jo and Ann all beautifully grown.Nice to read your postings.Tahe good care of yourself and my regards to your whole family.

Mahadzir(det)dulu2 sek.16

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Naz - welcome to the paddle-oars family... hehehe

Det?? Goodness, it must hv been over 20 years since we last met! You better drop me a line (at my e-mail). The kids would love to meet you again!

Kak Teh said...

tumpang lalu, sapa det? who det? please reveal yourself my junior of 3 years. Terima kasih baca blog kak teh. ada faedahnya juga sebab terjumpa blog puteri - or is it May?

Ida Hariati Hashim said...


I am not a big footer, but I believe my daughter is..I always tease her for having big and broad feet, ikut her aunties belah bapak i guess i ought to stop teasing her la..i never knew that looking for big shoes are difficult

I used to don stilettoes and other spine killing not so comfortable shoes, all for the vanity's sake..but now, I prefer thongs..i mean selipar jepun..I am more anchored to earth now...

MrsNordin said...

I understand your predicament. My daughter's friend is a size 9 or 10and she's 19. She goes to Princess as well.

There's one shop in Bangsar Shopping Complex which make made-to-order shoes. They have very nice designs and comfortable too, but a bit pricey, I think.

Me & my girls pakai almost the same size ~ 5 or 6. So looking for shoes is not a problem, but paying for them is. Hee. hee... I hope you'll find one in S'pore!

I love shoes!

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Kadang biar kasut tak trendy, asal selesa, kata Pak Malim sambil naik Kelisa. Oooh, tapi saya tak pakai kasut, kata Pak Malim sambil duduk atas busut.

Aida said...

Kak Puteri,

I did not know that we have THIS in common too hehehehhe yes I am a size 40 (UK size 7 and US size 9) but after two pregnancies, my feet have somewhat expanded and I cannot seem to fit into some of my size 40s anymore.

So now I like U i resort to Clarks and Scholls and sometimes (very rarely) MArie Clares. I do not fancy Princess very much cos the fashion wear shoes are not leather. The leather ones too dowdy.

I have to have leather ones cos apart from having large and wide feet, they are a tad too sweaty for non-natural material.

However, no one dares call me "Bigfoot" cos I have the body to go with my big feet... hehehhe

kay_leeda said...

Kak Puteri,

So big ka your feet? I wear size 6, and depending on the cut, at times will have to go get a 7.

Now I worry about Nissa, she's 8 and already wearing size 6. Looks like I'm going to hv a bigfoot too in the family.

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kak Puteri, itu size 10 msian punya ke us punya? meamng susah giler lah nak mencari size 10 kat mall in msia.

But my fren's mil in NZ wud always kirim shoes/sandals bila dia balik msia sbb kat petaling st byk jual kasut size2 besar and colorful. Her mil is very old but very very funky. Maybe you shud give P.S. a try. :)

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Kak Teh - 'May' is my family nickname; I am both Mak May and Mak Ngah to my nieces and nephews.

Ida - The trouble with such slippers on us bigfoots is that they make our kaki look twice as wide! But I do hv a couple of such slippers. They are so comfortable.

Mrs N - I heard about the made-to-order shoe outlet in Bangsar Shopping Centre sebab my daughter's friend went there to make shoes for her wedding. Tapi each pair is so expensive! If I am not mistaken, the girl's wedding shoes cost her almost RM1000. Dia anak lord, oklah.. me cannot afford weh..

Ray - kasut kama memang selesa
yang trendy takdak,semuanya biasa
kalau asyik nak ikut citarasa
berkaki ayamlah kama sentiasa

Aida - Hah, yet another kindred spirit. I agree about sticking to leather. It's kinder and definitely more comfortable to the feet.

Kay - At 8 and already in size 6, I can only offer my sympathies..LOL.. Nissa will be like my daughter Nawwar, she's now wearing 8-9, still not too bad, banyak choices.

Farina - TQ dear. My next stop after Ikano will be Petaling Street! Tak sangka PS pun ada big-sized shoes. Ada jugak untungnya mengomel dlm blog ni ye.. Psstt.. I wanna be old an' funky too..LOL

Bijou said...

Teringat I cerita Notting Hill. Julia Roberts says 'Big feet, large shoes'.

I'm wearing size 5. But my niece aged 10 wearing size 9,
shes now 5'4". Jenuh nak cari her size for her age.

Ĺaptop™ said...

Quote of the day.
"Péoplé with big féét are cáught flat-fóóted".

Pokku said...

Unless you are living in a society where it is compulsory to bind daughters' feet,having big feet is not such a big deal. My shoes (size 8 and over, dependng on brands) are sometimes called "ferries" and not just "sampans".
Have comfort that you do not have one foot bigger than the other which makes choosing shoes more difficult.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Bijou - like me at that age primary school already size 8-9.

Lap - if we bigfoots are fleet-footed, we would never be caught with our pant(ties?) down, lap.. hehehe

Pok Ku - betul tu Pok Ku. big or small is of no consequence, unless one big one small (alahai, mcm empat ekor pulak..)

Anonymous said...

For a man, I have small feet. When I go to shop for shoes, I have to tolerate the salesperson going, "Kecilnya kaki Pak Cik!" (I don't know which is more objectionable - the 'kecil' part, or the 'pak cik' part he! he!).

Anyway, my greatest dread is when I go shopping for pants. Like you. my first question is, "Apa size paling besar you ada?"

An-Nimr said...

Yes, fellow Bigfoot! Thank you for sharing your bigfoot experiemce...hehehe...samalah kita, kak oi!

I love the first part...Ya Rabbi macam je la boleh tulis macam tu lah!

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Mat B - Kita two peas in a pod lah rupanya. When I first got addressed as Mak Cik (some 10 years ago), I felt humiliated.. LOL. Balik rumah and scrutinised my face. Now, I am Opah/Uwo to God knows how many cucu sedara!

Btw, when shopping for pants and long skirts, the Q would be more or less the same.. if no 'X' in front of the L, tak payah tengok ler..hehe

An - Oooh, here comes another one! At this rate, we may end up with a Persatuan Orang-orang Berkaki Besar! :)

wanshana said...

Kak Puteri,

My 13y.o daughter wears UK Size 7, and sometimes it can go up to Size 9, depending on the cutting. It is always a nightmare trying to find nice shoes for her, especially for Hari Raya. We normally would end up buying slippers ajer for her. Kesian...

So, whenever we go to the UK, we would borong Shelleys and Rocket Dog shoes for her. In Malaysia, the only place which has shoes that she likes and that FIT her is NOSE in One-U.

Now I know, I'll bring her to Princess pulak. Thanks, Kak Puteri :)

Roslan said...

I wear size-10 shoes too. Not surprising though, for a 6-footer like me.
What I normally do when I go for shopping for my shoes is not to ask, "what is the biggest size you have?" but to ask, "which shoes do you have that are of size 10 and above?"
If I like the fashion, I'll buy. If I don't, I'll go to another shop. I'm not the fussy type though; normally I'll buy the shoes, irrespective of the fashion, as long as they look like a pair of shoes!


Kama said...

Shana - tell her big-footed girls & women bagus sebab well anchored :).. go visit Princess kat Batu Road, am sure you can find nice sandals & shoes there..

Lan - I think men hv less problems looking for x-sized shoes sebab men are expected to hv big feet, kan? Yang memalukan tu Lan is that Mizi's feet and mine sama besar! heheheh

Pootz in Boots said...

From a fellow big footer - Pedal Works is in KL too, Lot 10. Loads of sampans, tongkang, kapal haihong pun ada.... Princess have limited choice and not so comfy. Another choice is a shoeshop on the first floor (if not mistaken) opposite Cosway HQ shop in Wisma Cosway Jln Sultan Ismail.Bukit Bintang. Cheap!!!!
If everything fails, have them tailormade at any of the leather shops at Pertama Complex. They can make even size 20....

Kama said...

Pootz - Aduh, Pootz! You're my darling for the day..hehehe.. tqtq.. I didn't manage to visit Pedal Works in Spore. Now that I know it's in KL, Insyaallah I'll be there soon.. and the other places that you mentioned.. this is such good news..:)