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Some days I wake up feeling 60 and other days I wake up feeling 6. So if your within that age group .. we can relate.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

i am a unicorn

Don't pay any attention to the title there is no hidden meaning to it. I sat there thinking of a good one and nothing clever came to mind so i just wrote a random one.

So many things have been going on in my life i don't even know where to begin. My internship at the place i'm working at, Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) just ended , I've have had such an amazing time and I'm so glad i was accepted for it .

Few days ago we had an internship evaluation and while doing it i thought to myself , i cant believe i did all these things in 3 months it never really felt like work . But I'm glad to move on to a new chapter in my life . Should blog on my work ... soon.... soon.... . Finally I'm free and officially bumming around till i start Uni in Feb.

Anyways i just , ( well 'just' meaning many weeks ago but i was so lazy to blog on it , pretty ironic since i just came back from a Writers workshop ) got back from this 4 day live in Workshop held by AWAM ( a Womans rights NGO ) and the European Council called Writers for Womens Rights Program held at Armada Hotel.

Its a program for young women ages 18-35 to get educated on womens issues and rights and to write about them in the media . They have been having this every year but I've never heard of it . Well my boss told me and Anna (my fellow intern) about it and encouraged us to apply for it . We wrote our application essays (After i edited mine for about 100 times) and we were so glad that they accepted both of us for it .

Behold the comments i got after people found out i was accepted in the program :

" Mal , have fun at your Lesbian conference "

"Its a witches cult. Ur going to spend four days dancing round fires and eating human flesh"

"Its actually a casting for a lesbian porn "

" Your going to come back hating men "

" Their going to find out by the end of the workshop , you still love those Disney Princes Movies AND THEY WILL KILL YOU ! "

Well rest assured people :

a ) No it was not a lesbian conference

b ) No I have not turned into a witch or the next Hannibal Lecter
thus no human flesh was served to me . Actually
Armada has
a Bloody awesome buffet , Thats another thing is miss
The Great food .... Oh the
free flow of ice cream how
i miss you so ......

c ) (-_-'') NO it wasn't 'actually' a casting for a Lesbian porn , no matter
how convinced you were that it was .

d ) No i didn't come back hating men well ..... not all at least

c ) and No they didn't kill me when they found out i still love those
Disney Princess Movies .....
Well to be honest David they didn't ask so i didn't tell :) Anyway
No one can kill my inner Disney princess ! *alright alright
Bimbotic moment over *

Before entering the program i too had my own fears on joining it like :

  • "Oh i don't consider myself a feminist and i know next to nothing on feminism how if they have deep discussions on it that i'm totally clueless about "
  • " God i'm such i power puff girl what the hell am i doing here "
  • *as emo as this sounds* "Oh i'm not good enough to be selected for this"
  • " God what if they ask me to share personal stories ..... what will i say"

But honestly right from the first day i could feel all my doubts and fears that i had being cleared . The whole program was so inspiring and such an eye opener .

There were only 15 girls including me chosen for the program and by the end of the 4 days we all became such close friends . It was a jam pack 4 days we had sessions from 9 am till 10 pm , only stopping for lunch and dinner .

The first session was called "tell me" where we had to DRAW a picture diagram as creative as we could to chart our development in life . Firstly :

a) At the word Draw i cringed . You are looking at a girl who can even mess
up drawing a stick man .

b) I was thinking how the hell am i going up to these strangers and tell them
about myself without looking stupid.

As i sat and looked at my blank white mahjong paper i couldn't draw a single thing i froze , all that kept replaying in my mind was what the hell did i get myself into. But i (when they announced that we had only 5 minits left) grabbed my marker and started drawing a strange chart of my development in life . Which of course i drew myself as a stick person . I was terrified and wanted to be the last to go .

As i heard each girl and also the coordinators go up and tell the story of their lives i felt humbled . Here were these people who each other for barely 5 mints , were standing up and sharing their most personal secrets , fears and problems . I felt sadden to listen to some and also angry when i heard of the injustice done towards them . To me i thought it was really brave of them to do what they did on that day .

When it was finally my turn i took a deep breath and told them my story . It was a brief one of who i am and what i've been doing before i joined the program . It was a good exercise to do as it made me reflect my actions in my life which some i'm proud of and some that i'm not .

After that session we all felt closer to each other as we shared so much with each other that conversation flowed
freely between everyone . As the days went by we were introduced to topics like Violence against woman , it was a somber session as when you hear how so many women are subjected to different types to violence , you feel angry towards the injustice subjected upon them.

The representation of women in the media . I found that particular session very interesting as i never noticed so many things that they pointed out before . Like how in one particular newspaper , They had two articles on the same page about :

1. A Malaysian male singer who won a competition .In the article he had his
picture practically covering half of the page and had a big write up on the
recent award he won and a also on his upcoming concert .

2. Malaysian female who was a politician in Australia . In her article there
was a small passport sized photo of her and a even smaller write up on
her accomplishment in Australia .

Things like this you don't notice at a glance but how many of us stop and think of this being a kind of male chauvinism which is apparent in the media ? Many people think fighting for these kinds of issues are like fighting a loosing battle but thank god many womens groups don't think they are .

Another session at the workshop that struck me was the one on sexuality where in it they were talking about the people who are labeled as being "different" ( gays , lesbians , mak nyah's , transvestites ..... etc ) are openly discriminated upon . I myself have many friends who are gay and never thought treating them any different despite of their choice . But to listen to all these stories on how society reacts to these people really saddens me . Do you know that there was a group formed called Pergerakkan Sukarela Rakyat Anti-Homoseksual (PASRAH) that went around spying and catching gay people trying to make them repent and change their ways? Shouldn't people be free to choose whatever path they wish to take in life ? Just because they choose a different lifestyle from the norm dose not mean their any different from anyone else . Dam those ignorant people :(

There were also many other sessions that were held . With a bunch of amazing speakers like Jacquelin Ann Surin from the SUN , Shanon Shah from Amnesty International , my Boss Gayathry from CIJ and many more . It was inspiring to listen to them as they have dedicated their whole lives fighting for what they believe in and knew what they were talking about .

Despite all this we also had loads of FUN . There was free flow of coffee thus all of us were buzzed on caffeine throughout :D We had a social session on one of the days and had drinks and played silly games ... LoL . When we played truth of dare ...and of course i just had to pick dare and had to act out something stupid which of course i did and of course the girls had their cameras on video mode ... sigh i was threatened that it will be up on youtube ... oh the stupid things i do ....

At the Social session

Me and Melody with our *ehem* Orange Juices during truth or dare . I found out me and Melody was from the same High School what a small world ey !

At the last day we decided to go out drinking . At first we went to this dogy bar at the hotel where it was filled with slimy old men ... half naked women singing horribly ... Beer that cost RM18 ... and boring music that puts you to sleep not dance ... honestly i've had more fun at funerals then at that place ... Anyway before leaving we took one obligatory group shot at the dogy bar to remind us of the 'fond' memories of our 60 seconds at that place :

We then decided to be cheapskate and buy our drinks at Giant so the bunch of us walked to the nearest Giant which of course had to be closed . So we detoured to 7'11 and got em there and had the party at one our our rooms . We talked , drank , took silly pictures and had a good laugh :)

Haha nothing says angry feminist like that picture :)

Yes i know i'm smiling like a Jackass in this one


Yes and not forgetting World Peace

After that i proceeded to bug my roommate Seetha . To take more silly pictures :

Haha i love this pic :) Seetha shall win the Best Roommate of the Year Award for waking me up in the mornings and for being such a great person

Seetha : Why do you need to take pictures of the bathroom for ?
Me : Well you never know one day you may want to remember how it looked like and plus its so nice what !
Seetha : Crazy one

On the last day , was a sad seeing everyone leave but i'm glad i met these amazing people who are fun and really care enough to want to make a change .From the laughter to the stories we shared all these people i met at the program were really great and i'm gonna miss each and every one of them . But its good that despite the program being over we've all managed to keep in touch thanks to Facebook , e-mail etc... :)

Pictures from the last day :

Us at the place we pig out on Armada's awesome food

The ever smiling and wacky Jee Wan

Two Sweethearts Jee Wan and Maisarah

Alicia who's so bubbly and fun

Cheerful Meena and Kind Eva

Beautiful Melody

Our very wonderful coordinator Yi Xing

Three girls who are cheerful and friendly
Apsara . Shazana . Siew Lian

A posed picture taken by Melody of me . LoL i look like i want to hit someone lah .

I left WWRP with many fond memories . A few weeks later i even wrote to the papers on an issue which i felt strongly of :

It was regarding on a news article of a rapist who had his appeal to reduce his sentence denied . He was a serial rapist who raped girls aged 13-24. He was sentenced to 30 years jail . Behold his appeal :

“If the current sentence was upheld, I will spend the rest of my life in jail,” he said while reading out his mitigation from a letter.

Ismail Shah claimed that he had not hurt his victims or use violence against them.

“Please consider that my victims are not injured and they can be cured in future while I have to suffer the injuries due to the sentence,” he said.

He said further that “I could control my desire as I only rape each victim once and each of them was sent back to a safer place afterwards”.

I was so angry when i read him trying to justify his actions . I wrote a letter to the Editor on what i thought on the issue tho some parts of the letter was cut away i'm still glad The Star decided to publish it :


I'm glad i finally i got the time to write about my experience at the workshop

WWRP 5 :)

P/S : Leaving for Cambodia today and will be back on the 27th :)

Change your thoughts and you change your world.
Norman Vincent Peale
US clergyman (1898 - 1993)

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