29 March 2011



The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please. ==================================

Wednesday March 16, 2011

Salute to heroes – and heroines Musings


To the many men and women I have known over the years – some world-famous, some not – thanks for showing me the true value of life and how to cherish it.

I AM a week late for International Women’s Day, but since it is the 100th anniversary of this special day, I don’t think it matters.

I thought I would do a list of people who’ve done a lot for women over the years, who still are making an impact, and who really deserve to be recognised.

This is in no particular order and covers only those I’ve known personally. Some are world-famous, while others are not. But they all deserve mention.

1. My first dedication is actually to three women who are no longer here – Basariah, Lim and Suzana. All three were HIV-positive and died eventually of complications from AIDS-related diseases. But in their lifetimes, they taught many of us about the true value of life and how to cherish it.

2. Prof Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh who, through his microcredit programmes, has raised the incomes of so many poor women and empowered many of them to take charge of their lives. Many Grameen women have stood for local council elections and won. I hope this inspiring man will overcome his recent troubles soon.

3. Kamal Ahmad, the founder of the Asian University of Women (AUW), also in Bangladesh. The AUW is dedicated to providing tertiary education to young women from all over Asia, especially if they would never have access to such education otherwise. AUW students now come from 12 countries, including Afghanistan and Palestine, and if the recent symposium I attended in Dhaka is any indication, these girls will definitely be leaders in their countries one day.

4. My local heroines Zainah Anwar, Ivy Josiah and Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan who have done so much for women in Malaysia, trying to protect them from violence and unjust laws. They are my mentors.

5. Nafis Sadik and Thoraya Obaid, the two immediate past heads of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). Both Muslim, both formidable, both great role models to younger women everywhere.

6. Mona Eltahawy, my favourite current affairs commentator, especially on the Middle East goings-on. So smart, so sharp, so passionate. An antidote to all the dull ones we have at home.

7. My late grandpa Mohd Ali Taib, who wouldn’t let his daughter, my mum, get married until she finished her studies. She started her medical studies late and finished even later after having had to repeat two years. No supporter of early marriage, he.

8. My dad, who thought I was bad at Maths because I was too lazy to think, not because I was a girl. Actually it was because I was yet to meet a good Maths teacher, which I finally did in Form 1 and have had no trouble with numbers since.

9. The boys who did A-levels with me in Britain, for finally convincing me that you’re not smart just because you’re a boy.

10. My first bosses Ayesha and Jeanette, who convinced me that women do not necessarily block other women once they have positions of power. Thanks for the early encouragement!

11. My 3R co-producer Lina Tan for helping me make an idea come true 10 years ago. We never knew how big a gap our TV programme was going to fill.

12. My 3R “girls” – Azah, Yuen, Rafidah, Tini and Celina – who now have gone on to bigger and better things, including babies, but are still dedicated to raising the awareness of young Malaysian women of what they can truly be.

13. My late friend Dalilah, who bounced through her cancer experience so cheerily that it seemed impossible that it would catch her some day. To her and all other women with cancer, whether they survived or not, I place my heart on my hand to you.

14. The female Islamic scholars I have had the privilege to learn from, including Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Amina Wadud and more recently the amazing Musdah Mulia, who have been breaking new ground for justice and equality for Muslim women so fearlessly. There are few people more courageous than women demanding justice.

15. ... and that includes Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani woman who fought back after being savagely raped and then founded a school because she knew that women’s empowerment depended on education.

16. The many young Malaysian women I know who are so sparklingly bright, energetic and enthusiastic that they give me hope in this country. Now, if only none of that energy is dampened by the unchanging attitudes in this country, they can actually make a difference.

17. The young women in Tahrir Square, Cairo, who changed the face of young Muslim women everywhere by challenging everyone’s idea of what Arab women are, and look like.

18. My mum, who achieved many firsts long before most women, but who continues to want to learn new things, including the Internet. I still have to learn how to be as gracious as she is, to smile at the many impertinences I have to put up with rather than rail at them and to just laugh at the self-serving antics of wannabes everywhere.

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