"Aunty Tini Bling-Bling" Reminds Youths of Malay Roots

Last update: 19/12/2018

By Norsyafawati Ab Wahab

ADELAIDE (Australia) (Bernama) -- The decision to leave the country and try to make it abroad is not one that many will take lightly.

So when her husband made the decision to start a new life with his family in Adelaide, Australia, Kartini Mohd Mustafa hoped it was for the best.

This writer travelled to southern Australia recently and met up with Kartini, who has now been residing in the land Down Under for 25 years.

Fondly known by her friends as “Aunty Tini Bling-bling” – due to her love for sparkly accessories like brooches, bracelets and rings – Kartini still retains her accent, which is telling of her birth state of Penang.

Despite living overseas for over two decades, Kartini still keeps to her Malay roots and hopes that the younger generation of Malays who grew up in the country would do the same.


As a wife and a homemaker, Kartini does not only takes care of her home and family but the local Malay community as well.

Many others also share her concern for the welfare of the Malay community there. After much discussion, the Adelaide-Malay Association Inc (AMAI) in May.

“AMAI was formed to unite and take care of the welfare of the Malay community in Adelaide.

“Among the activities that AMAI organises are Malay language classes, traditional Malay cooking demonstrations and folk games,” she said, adding that AMAI currently has over 100 members that included Singapore Malays.


AMAI was also formed to inculcate the Malay culture and values into the Malay children who were born or grew up in Adelaide and had little exposure to their roots. In addition to helping them retain their Malay identity, AMAI also serves to promote the Malay culture to the local community.

“As parents, we don’t want our children to get too caught up in the Western lifestyle simply because they are not living in their home country.

“AMAI focuses on intensive classes teaching Malay language and Jawi through the Adelaide Malay School programme, which is handled by qualified teachers,”said Kartini, who has five sons.

Kartini, who is AMAI’s Head of Women Affairs, said that the association wants to become the “unofficial Malaysian ambassador in Adelaide” to help assist and provide information to tourists from Malaysia visiting the city as the Malaysian Embassy was located in Canberra.

Before AMAI was formed, Kartini who holds a science degree from the University of Adelaide, was actively involved in an NGO known as the Human Appeal International Australia (HAIA). 


“I joined two and a half years ago, when I found out that HAIA was in need of a volunteer to open up a used goods store near my housing area.

“I have always been interested in charity work and volunteerism, so I went to see the HAIA general manager to offer my services,” she said.

After six months at the store, she was offered the post of assistant manager at the Living & Giving Store – an initiative by Human Appeal to sell preloved goods donated by the community.

“I ran the store along with the store manager Julia Booker and other volunteers. We would clean and repair donated items before selling them,” she said.

Living & Giving Store sells preloved items for as low as AU$0.50 (RM1.50). Among the items sold at the store are clothes, toys, household furniture and electrical equipment.

There are two to four volunteers from Work for the Dole assisting at the store at any given time. Work for the Dole is an Australian federal government program that is a form of  work-based welfare. It is a work experience programme which places job seekers in activities where they can build new skills, experience and confidence to move from welfare to work while giving back to their community.


Kartini said that in Australia, the low income population would be given government assistance in the form of an allowance, provided that they do volunteer work for six months to a year, depending on their contract.

In addition to running the store, Kartini and Juli also assists volunteers in equipping themselves with skills that can be used to find employment elsewhere.

“Living & Giving is well-received by the local community, especially by the lesser privileged groups because its prices are much more affordable than brand new goods,” she said.

In addition to selling preloved goods, she also joins Malaysian students in setting up stalls selling Malaysian food near the store, pasar malam style.

This is done once a month and is popular among the local community with foods like char kuey teow, nasi lemak, roti canai and teh tarik are sold out every time.


Kartini enjoys a warm relationship with the Malaysian students in Adelaide, in addition to that with the local Malay community. As such, her home has become a popular venue to host gatherings or parties.

“I have even offered my home as a wedding venue for two Malaysian students,” she said.

The wedding, which was organised via gotong-royong with the help of the Malaysian students there, was attended by both sides of the couple’s families and over 150 guests.


Translated by Sakina Mohamed