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WAVES

Issue No 2, January 2009

85, Jalan 21/1


46300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-78774221
Fax: 30-78743312
www.awam.org.my

©2008 Evershed Card Collection. All rights reserved.

Women With the Wave


Some of the women
Chose to chase the wave,
Whilst others preferred to ride it.
2 WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009

IN THIS ISSUE: [W]RITE AWAY!


by Farlina Said & Kang Soon Chen
Editorial
3
Gender Workshop
WWRP (cont’)
4
20th Anniversary

Staff Movement 5

Xmas Party
6
Treasure Hunt

Myths of Femi-
7
nism

Politics or wres-
8
tling match?

Evaluation &
9-10
Hopes WWRP 6 participants, facilitators and guest speakers.
Photo credit: Maisarah Muhd Najib

“To me the WWRP is with an interest towards being discriminated in the


special because of its writing. The sixth work- media. That was an eye
MY rights, ability to bring a diverse shop was conducted over opener,” Shobana elabo-
your RIGHTS group of young women the span of three and a rated of her experience in
by Ho Wai Ling together. The energies half days at La Salle Hall, Women’s Centre for
that spark and the way PJ. There were fifteen Change (WCC) in
It is MY RIGHT to speak everyone comes to- sessions in total, most Penang.
out. But have we forgot- gether is simply terri- geared towards under- “Feminism is a per-
ten our choice of words, fic.” – enthused Seetha, standing gender and sonal experience for all of
tone and body language? facilitator of the Writers women’s issues, the me- us, whether we are men
Respect others. for Women’s Rights Pro- dia, and to develop writ- or women. These ses-
gramme (WWRP) sixth ing and analytical skills of sions were more personal
It is MY RIGHT to clean workshop, held from 13- the participants. rather than intellectual
air, water and environ- 16, November 2008. “[But]… there was because we would gather
ment. But have we forgot- “It was … emotionally more to it than just writ- our experiences when we
ten that we should use all intense. So it took me ing…” said Shobana talk about things,” Su-Lyn
these resources without way back. But after that it Hema, another participant continued.
wastage and exploitation? was good seeing new of WWRP 6. Karen Lai, 31 another
Respect our environment. people, teaching them “The workshop helped participant said “…[Y]ou
new things on feminism. It me realise what I am do- really can’t write effec-
It is MY RIGHT to rest was always interesting to ing here … [I] never really tively without touching a
and leisure. But have we see how they react to thought that there were nerve yourself and with-
forgotten how the domes- that,” said Su-Lyn, an- so many rape cases in out connecting to yourself
tic workers work 18 hours other facilitator for the the paper, that there was very deeply. I think the
a day? Respect our fellow workshop. so much violence, so workshop aims to do a lot
assistants. “… [T]he workshop many divorces, so many of things because it’s part
has opened my eyes and ugly marital problems. I of gender awareness and
It is MY RIGHT to volun- helped me see the world never really looked at all learning about ourselves
teer. But have we forgot- in a different way. Femi- those… [W]hen I joined as women and also femi-
ten our responsibilities nists are not oversensi- the organisation, I had to. nism.”
when we take up the tive; they are just being It was part of my job to “When the circle
task? Respect the posi- perceptive, and they see respond to articles so it around me is never really
tion and trust from others. the injustices against became a routine that I… affected like my house,
women in the media,” look at issues and I'm like my family, my close fam-
It is MY RIGHT to pen my said Eileen Cham, 18, ‘Oh my God, there are so ily, my personal relation-
view here. I respect your another participant of many things that is hap- ships, if we are all fine…
choice, your views and WWRP 6. pening.’ Then… [I] at- but in other words, selfish
your contribution towards WWRP is a workshop tended the workshop. kan?... But when I
the organisation, commu- catered for young women The workshop opened started to join the
nity and environment. from the ages of 18 to 32 up to how women are
See page 4
WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009 3

The Editor’s Pen newsletter would not have Editorial Team


been possible without the Bernie Chow – Editor
The economic meltdown To borrow a famous WWRPers’ involvement. Boo Su-Lyn – Assistant
that shook the world with maxim, “The impossible is Their enthusiasm and Editor
a resultant domino effect often the untried” ... per- dedication, attributed in Apsara Murale
globally has not spared haps this is the moment no small measure to the Dahlia Martin
us. that we have to seize to fire generated at the re- Farlina Said
Some have been laid try the “untried”! We need cent WWRP’s workshop, Gan Pei Ling
off while others have their to figure out what that is infectious to say the Kang Soon Chen
jobs on the line, faced means to each of us, per- least! So syabas to Maisarah Muhd Najib
with an uncertain future. sonally as well as in our WWRP! Malati Mal
Would women be the relationship with AWAM. Many more willing See Ju-Vern
first to be marginalised in We continue to invite hands and passionate
this? How would families, our members to come hearts are very much
particularly women and and join our activities, to needed to continue our All contributions are
children, be affected? help us continue journey throughout the welcome!
Would this change the “waving”, supporting, ena- year. Got something to say, a
landscape of our lives bling and energising each Together, whether story to share, a tale to
and that of AWAM’s? So other. All our committees new or old members, tell, an article to write, a
many questions begging are begging for new young or not so young, feedback or an encour-
to be answered …. “blood”. May the new year energised or jaded, happy agement to give? Give it
But meanwhile, life despite its uncertainties or angry, healthy or not to us at
has to go on, the be the impetus for us to so healthy, we have a life waves.awam@gmail.com
branches will continue to try the untried! to live and hands to We are dying to hear from
“wave” and AWAM has to Like our first, this sec- WAVE ….. so, come on! you!
continue with its mission. ond issue of the e-

OSCC Gender Workshop


by RK Boo

For the first time in years, tics.


we organised a gender A scary side of the
sensitisation workshop for usually demure Haslinah
hospital staff at General emerged when she con-
Hospital on October 23 ducted the next session
this year. on violence against
About 30 hospital staff women. Acting like a
members from various tough commando, she
departments attended the ordered everyone in the
workshop. Betty Yeoh, room to be silent as she
Haslinah Yaacob, Billie divided the participants
Day and I facilitated the into four groups.
workshop. One group was blind-
After an introduction folded and their hands
by the jovial Dr Faizal bin were tied; they were also them softly if they could mostly practical, with par-
Salikin from the One Stop told to kneel on the floor, untie the blindfolds. There ticipants going through
Crisis Centre (OSCC), while another group went was much hesitation numerous role plays to
Betty conducted a ses- through the same treat- among most of the blind- practice basic helping
sion on Sex and Gender. ment but were allowed to folded participants. skills.
Many participants stand up. After some time, All in all, it was an
called out typical stereo- The third group was Haslinah ended the role excellent workshop.
types when questioned observers while the fourth play and asked for feed- Evaluation from partici-
on the typical characteris- group stood without being back. Most of the partici- pants showed that their
tics of women versus blindfolded. pants who had been expectations were met
men. As the second group blindfolded refused to let and that the workshop
Betty then debunked knelt on the floor, other participants remove advanced their knowl-
those stereotypes when Haslinah barked at them their blindfolds as they felt edge on the three topics
she switched the labels and prodded a few people afraid. Haslinah then ex- above.
around and asked partici- who were reluctant at plained that those were Hopefully, this work-
pants if women could also kneeling down. the effects of violence. shop will be the start of a
be aggressive, or if men The fourth group then I facilitated the final collaborative relationship
could also be gentle, and approached the two blind- session on basic helping between AWAM and the
various other characteris- folded groups and asked skills. This session was OSCC in the future.
4 WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009

...from page 2 tween the coor- ers has learnt to be more


dinators and aware of the workshop
women's organisation and the participants dynamics, something
participated at the work- starting from which can only be learned
shop, I listened to a lot of day one. through experience.
experiences that every- Another great Having been involved
body was sharing. I achievement of in the running of WWRP
started to feel that it’s the workshop is for the last three years,
[feminism] not just me but that it was con- Tze Yeng hopes that a
it's a larger version of ducted with half new team of young
everybody,” Shobana the budget from women will take over from
said. the previous her.
Writers for Women’s five workshops. She shared that the
Rights Programme Resourceful- one thing which is special
(WWRP) was started in (Left) Eileen Cham checking out the ness aside, about WWRP is that it is
2005 as part of AWAM’s notes about Malaysia’s media history previous partici- run by young women for
efforts to build the capac- while Shobana Hema was pasting one pants were also young women. With the
ity of young Malaysian of the notes onto the board. roped in to ongoing campaign to or-
women to engage with share their in- ganise sales of the Ba-
the media. This workshop According to Tze volvement with the pro- hasa Malaysia version of
has already been run six Yeng, WWRP 6 was a gramme with the new Young Women Speak
times and churned out special one because it WWRP participants. Out (YWSO), it is certain
over 60 alumni. Part of its was the first time that On being asked about that WWRP will reach out
success lies with the hard they incorporated games how the committee can to more young women!
work put in by the coordi- besides writing clinics. improve for the workshop
nator of WWRP, Ng Tze She was also very glad at next year, Tze Yeng said
Yeng. the high level of trust be- that her team of organis-

Celebrating Dreams:
Creating Women’s Space
by Apsara Murale

AWAM's 2Oth Anniver- self followed by the


sary Event was held on keynote speech
the 8th of November 2008 which was delivered
at Tanarimba, Janda by the Vice President
Baik, Bukit Tinggi. The of AWAM, Haslinah
theme of the event was Yaakob.
Celebrating Dreams: Judith Koh also
Creating Women's gave a speech which was remain relevant but to sidered through right
Spaces. warmly received by the effectively address the down to the venue of the
The objective of the crowd. issues facing today's gen- event.
event was to celebrate Later throughout the eration of young women She explained that the
AWAM's 20 years of cre- event the eclectic guests and also to be more inclu- venue reflected the open
ating women's spaces in who came from all walks sive and respectful of space, a space beyond
the public realm, reclaim- of life were not only enter- diversity. boundaries, a space that
ing their rights, enlarging tained by performances Although the ideologi- would integrate our mind
their voices and regaining involving all the depart- cal and political terrain and body with nature.
their power. ments under the AWAM will always be contested, But most significantly
It also celebrates and organisation umbrella she urged us not to re- she appreciated the ef-
recognises the efforts of which included amongst main complacent but to forts of all her team mem-
the founding members others: Services, WWRP, value each other’s strug- bers who contributed
who provided much Training and Advocacy gles and learn from them generously to the prepa-
needed support for a rela- etc. in order to reach AWAM's ration of the event and to
tively young organisation. Each performance goals. living up to AWAM's ob-
The event was em- was unique as it show- The speech struck a jectives.
ceed by the witty and cased AWAM's work and chord with everyone who Upon reflection, she
delightful Priya Sharma. the ideals for which it was present and she was definitely felt that the
The informal and fes- stood for. greeted with rapturous preparation and the day
tive mood of the event The highlight of the applause whereby after- of the actual event effec-
what with colourful sa- event was the inspira- wards the merrymaking tively captured the spirit
rongs and sumptuous tional speech given by continued. of AWAM.
food was kick started by a one of AWAM’s founding Judith Koh, who was As for her dreams for
performance of the Tugu and pioneering member, the organiser of the the future of AWAM, Ju-
Drummers where the Dr Cecilia Ng. event, commented on dith hoped that the spirit
guests participated with She stressed the im- how organising this event of AWAM will continue to
the rhythms to create portance of keeping up was different. Every detail live on for future genera-
exotic expressions of the with the times to not only was thought out and con- tions to come besides
WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009 5

Staff Movement:
Sayonara to Honey, Elaine & RK Boo~~~
Compiled by Maisarah letting go. She also added was able to combine her some volunteers make for
Muhd Najib. that, “I remember telling love for counseling and this cause,” said Su-Lyn.
Interviewed by Bernie, the staff often that we her passion for social jus- According to her, she
Su-Lyn & Maisarah. cannot save the world, tice. has learned quite a few
and that we can't According to Su-Lyn, things at AWAM.
Our team decided to track change others, only her most notable contribu- Firstly, she learned
down three very important how we re-act to their tion is in reviving the Anu- that embracing diversity is
figures who left AWAM actions.” gerah support group necessary to achieving
during the course of 2008 According to Honey, which consists of domes- equality and non-
– Honey Tan, Elaine Siew by keeping those tic violence survivors. discrimination on all levels
and Boo Su-Lyn and got thoughts in her head – it “With new members regardless of gender, race
them to give their take on has helped her cope with coming into the group, I or religion among others.
the experiences with AWAM better. hope that this group will Secondly, she's
AWAM. When asked what her continue to sustain itself, learned that building per-
Honey Tan, the previ- most notable contribution and maybe even spawn sonal relationships based
ous Executive Director, throughout her stint at off more support groups on trust is very important
singled AWAM, Elaine Siew, for- for women in general,” in any group that strives
out her mer Administrative Assis- she said. for a cause, “If members
success tant, said AWAM's passion in the are willing to embrace,
in in- that it fight for gender equality trust and accept each
creasing was defi- and commitment to collec- other despite differences
the num- nitely tivism is Su-Lyn's favour- in values and beliefs,
ber of AWAM's ite part about AWAM. achieving goals is that
partici- Treasure “Although collective much easier.”
pants Hunt in decision-making is very Lastly, Su-Lyn's last
who participated in the July and difficult in a practical words for us: "Though I'm
discussion sessions for AWAM's sense, I think that it is leaving AWAM, AWAM
the Working Collective 20th Anni- very good of AWAM to try will always remain in my
meetings as one of her versary celebration. and practise it nonethe- heart, and I wish her all
most memorable contri- She also shared that less. It is also amazing to the best in her ongoing
butions. In her words, her favourite part about see the intense commit- battle for gender equality".
“Participation not only by AWAM is the people and ment and sacrifices that
those who usually speak, the nature of AWAM as it
but by those who found it is. “AWAM has been an
more intimidating to essential platform for
speak out in these face-to women from all walks of
-face situations.” life. Here, they may seek
The innovative ways any sort of help or advice
in which AWAM deals that they need whenever
with issues is what Honey trouble arises”.
like best about AWAM. She also added that
According to her, out- she's learnt quite a lot to Sofia Lim Siu Ching (President of AWAM) &
standing ones include the from AWAM. But most Ben on the birth of their twins, Alex and Elsa,
WWRP and the White importantly, “Working in on 15 October 2008!
Ribbon Campaign involv- AWAM has instilled in me
ing MAN.V. Although the the confidence and self-
latter has received mixed esteem that I need when
reviews from AWAM-ites, faced with frontier is-
Honey still believes that sues.”
there is a need to work Su-Lyn the former
with men in dealing with Social Worker said that
violence against women before
and other issues relating joining
to equality. AWAM,
Therefore, she hopes she had
that it will be re-looked been a
into so that it can be run volunteer
more successfully. since
At AWAM, Honey said 2005 –
that she learnt more and later joined AWAM
about detachment and when she felt that she
6 WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009

Pudding, games and prezzies


to end the year!
By Maisarah Muhd Najib

On the night of 19th of To keep up with the


December 2008, AWAM giving spirit, everyone
had their annual Year was asked to attend bear-
End/Xmas Party which ing a gift valued no more
included fellow alumni of than RM5.
WWRP. After a few hours of
This provided a great good food and chatting
chance for WRRP-ers to session, the party was
get to know the people kicked of with a short
behind AWAM better. carolling session and
Some founding mem- games.
bers and ‘old-timers’ were Everyone's general
also present to lend a knowledge (ranging from
good blend of old and Marx to Harry Potter) was
new members. put to test with the first
AWAM’s immediate game – which was won
past president Judith was by Team B! Photo credit: Ho Wai Ling
kind enough to host and After a series of
prepare the dinner at her women’s only game eve- the gift they received was whelmed with the array of
home which was attended ryone then gathered once actually valued less than Santarina’s hats!
by about 35 people. again for the gift- RM5! Bless the extra gen- The night continued
The food was great exchange session. erous soul! with more fun activities,
and nothing less than The gift exchange Siu Ching, the presi- talks and laughter. It is
delicious, not forgetting session was filled with dent, also surprised the without a doubt that eve-
the yummylicious choco- surprises as well as sus- party by dropping in with ryone had a lovely night
late pudding baked by picion – for some can’t one of her twins and older together.
Yasmin. help but wonder whether girl Sarah who was over-

They hunted for equal


footing, what about you?
by Malati Mal
"Hunting for Equal Foot- people.
ing" was what the partici- One pull factor for
pants were looking for at last year’s hunt was the
last year’s AWAM Treas- star-studded guests who
ure hunt. Held at Berjaya were the participants
Times Square, the event from The Amazing Race
was both an enjoyable Asia Season 2.
and informative one. The Racers not only
Compared to its previ- handed out prizes spon-
ous events such as the sored by Reebok for the
"Motor Hunt" in 2003, lucky draw, but also
which was limited to joined each participating The audience listened side Ida and Tania or
women participants only, group to help out in the with rapt attention as the hunt with Sam and Vince,
last year’s hunt stayed treasure hunt. girls performed their skit make sure you participate
true to its theme and Kids were especially presented along with in the 2009 hunt sched-
opened its doors to both excited to be able to race slideshow of engaging uled tentatively in July!
males and children to side by side with their pictures of women from Many able hands and
enter the competition favourite TV idols. all walks of life. willing hearts are needed
allowing them to partici- Apart from that, the Wai Ling, who is also to help plan the hunt.
pate on equal footing. members from the Writers in charge of this year’s Please call AWAM if you
According to Wai Ling, for Women’s Rights Pro- event, hopes to continue are able to lend a hand in
the organising chairper- gram (WWRP) were also last year’s success and organising the event! You
son of the Treasure Hunt there to perform their will be trying to get the can also help by exciting
committee, last year’s pollylogue session which participants of the latest your friends about the
event had an increase in was a short skit with ex- session of Amazing Race event!
the number of its partici- cerpts taken from their Asia to join them. So if
pants from 300 to 650 book. you want to race along-
WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009 7

By Farlina Said

Often when speaking of woman’s beauty. Still, the who are passionate about tempted to take strong
feminism, it is the hasher, items were not burned. something and more im- action against him. She
harder images of women Reports did mention that portantly you do some- did inform a lecturer of
engaging in activities that burning was suggested thing about it,” Su-Lyn her concerns, but the
are regarded as negative but shot down by local explained. lecturer’s reply was the
by society such as bra- authorities due to safety However, it is impossi- common occurrence of
burning and lesbianism reasons. ble to separate the per- such a case.
that comes to mind on top Now, perhaps forty sonal from the political, “She said it even oc-
of the shaking fists or the decades from the inci- Karen Lai, 31 mentions. curs in the office!” said
violent swing of rolling dent, Feminism is known She is currently in the Nina.
pins. as an ideology for the employment of Women’s It was a weakness she
As a matter of fact, emotional, the angry and Centre for Change, said she felt. The pres-
despite knowing the exis- the anarchist. Penang. sure of being victimised
tence of different forms of “Well, I don’t agree The very situation and held helpless. In ad-
feminism –women who that feminism was based seems to be true for Nina dition to that would be the
simply wish to preserve on emotions,” said Su- (real name withheld upon misconception that
their bit of sovereignty – Lyn, member of AWAM. request). women are forever seek-
most would be content to “It really depends on how It seemed a simple ing attention, as she men-
impose judgment on the you look at it. Essentially, situation. The attention of tioned the reactions from
whole population of femi- based on history, femi- a guy that seemed to her friends.
nists as the above men- nism began not based on border on unwelcome. They would aid her,
tioned actions. Actions emotions but it was really They were friends. How- she assured but, she did
that are, as a matter of based on rights… [I] think ever, who was to explain not want to appear over-
fact, stretches and exag- people mistake it for be- the unease she felt when paranoid. What if it is all
gerations of the truth. ing based on emotions she received the seem- only in her head?
The bra-burning inci- because we talk a lot ingly harmless Instant That is why, to her,
dent was objects symbol- about our experience and Messages? Or the place- she believes feminism to
ising female oppression what we go through so ment of her pictures be for women to stand up
such as high-heels, gir- people mistake it for an online without her permis- for their rights.
dles, curlers, bras and emotionally based move- sion? Or the soft jibes in “It’s about women not
tweezers being discarded ment which is not true,” class that caused her to needing to be afraid of
into trash cans. The inci- she continued. skip a week of class? speaking up. Feminists
dent had only occurred in “… [F]eminism isn’t “If I were to tell this can fight for themselves.
1968 to 1969 in reaction just about a bunch of an- guy, he’ll be like, ‘So? I They are not subjugated
to the way the Miss Amer- gry women… Feminism is didn’t break the law,” she when they are harassed,”
ica Beauty Pageant really about people, said, stating the reason
judged the value of a whether man or woman why she had not at- See page 8
8 WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009

Politics or wrestling match? when at this time our


country, along with others
by Malati Mal were undergoing eco-
nomic problems. The
feud as a Rafidah vs Shahrizat
catfight fur- news was in the front
ther per- page, while to read on the
petuates the growing numbers of
common MNEs that were being
stereotype closed down I had to flip
people use to page 4.
on women This method of pitting
who are one women against an-
arguing. other which is being done
These two by the media is in a way
famous poli- instigating the readers to
ticians were pick a side, turning a seri-
caught in a ous issue into what I said
media earlier, a wrestling match.
frenzy. The cartoonist, while
When read- trying to make light of the
ing about it issue had helped the pub-
in the pa- lic, to a certain extent,
A shirtless man clad only in the Wanita Umno Fel- pers I felt as if I was read- shape their opinion on the
in his kain pelikat, whose lowship lunch?!” ing a commentary on a behaviour of women (in
entire body is covered This is what the fa- wrestling match, from politics) from a particular
with angry, red claw mous cartoonist Reggie sensational front-page slant.
marks is crying in pain Lee drew during the clash headlines like “Wanita Whether a cartoonist
while his wife applies between the two leading Face-Off”, to side by side or a columnist, it is impor-
medicine to his wounds. female politicians in Ma- full page interviews. tant for those in the media
We hear how he got the laysia, Tan Seri Rafidah We seldom see news to rise above drawing
scratches from his wife’s Aziz and Datuk Seri related to female politi- comparisons with typical
comment while dressing Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, in cians when reading the old fashion stereotypes
his wound: “Who asked his comic column in The papers, I wonder however and present their com-
you to sit in between Star. why this issue is given mentaries in a more chal-
Rafidah and Shahrizat His depiction of their such extensive coverage, lenging and mature way.

...from previous page thought to take those of donned at the turn of the opportunity? You want
different races into con- weather. equal job opportunity?
Nina declared. sideration. “… [A] lot of it starts You want equal promo-
However, feminism, “I think the evolution of with being conscious, tion opportunity? And you
being an ideology, does feminism over time -- being aware of the is- think you’re not a femi-
not belong to a single through which we have sues. It’s just about hav- nist? Think again,’ Pei
school of thought. seen the many streams or ing that interest and if you Ling continued.
The history of femi- types of feminism emerge have that interest there, “Yeah, I want equal
nism was written with the -- is symbolic of how it is you’ll find the time. You’ll job opportunity. I want
first wave – an effort to fluid and reflective and find the energy somehow equal education opportu-
earn women the right to allows itself to change in to put the time into it,” nity. I don’t want to be
vote. Eventually, it was order to remain relevant said Karen. discriminated just be-
granted in the year 1928 to as many people as It is different tracks of cause I’m a girl, I don’t
in Britain. The second possible. I don't think it thought. Different ap- get promoted. I guess I’m
wave (beginning 1960s), will be very useful if it was proaches. Different ways a feminist in that way,”
seek to end discrimination stuck in form and it would of fighting for a cause that Pei Ling declared.
while the third wave, from quickly become irrelevant perhaps gave a spark There are some
the early 1990s, contin- if it does not address dif- somewhere deep within. strands of feminism that I
ued the goals of the sec- ferent issues that emerge “I’m not sure if I’m a do not agree with, said Su
ond wave only leaning over time,” said Vizla Ku- feminist,” Pei Ling, 21, -Lyn.
towards a more subjec- maresen, 29, member of student at Universiti “That doesn’t make
tive interpretation of femi- AWAM. Tunku Abdul Rahman me any less of a femi-
nism. Where the second Feminism, as any admitted. nist... I have my own
wave were essentialists, form of activism would, But there is this poster stand on how feminism
insisting on only one in- burns best with a fire that that says ‘You think you is.” Su-Lyn stated.
terpretation, the third suits. It is not a free-for- are not a feminist? But
wave called for feminist rent cloak that can be you want equal education
WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009 9

Services WWRP & Chit Chatters


by Apsara Murale by Apsara Murale
AWAM has been provid- welfare department for Throughout the year going out, speaking to the
ing counselling, legal in- the past ten years to pro- 2008, the WWRP and the public and working with a
formation, and a support mote understanding and Chit Chatters, which are new team for the WWRP
group to assist women awareness of gender part of AWAM's Public workshop.
who are victims of vio- equality and women's Education Committee, With regards to the
lence, besides promoting issues. have been actively in- Chit Chatters, they have
greater understanding Yet despite the hard volved in educating and recently organised a two
and appreciation of efforts put in by Services, encouraging discussion day ethnicity workshop
women's issues and gen- both Ho Wai Ling and Su- amongst young women with students from differ-
der equality. Lyn felt that the response about women's rights and ent local universities and
Ho Wai Ling, Services is not generally positive, other human rights issues diverse backgrounds.
Coordi- citing a lack of awareness affecting them in today's Tze Yeng explained
nator, and support amongst the globalised world. how she and her team felt
ex- public and volunteers. Ng Tze Yeng, WWRP nervous because it was
plained Su-Lyn gave the ex- and Chit Chatters Coordi- the first time they were
how ample of how irregular nator, was proud to say broaching a difficult topic
cham- some clients are coming that the WWRP have which hit close to the
bering in for follow up counsel- been doing great work in hearts of many Malay-
students, Photo credit: ling while Wai Ling cited getting women interested sians.
who vol- Melody Faye- the lack of support when and active in feminist However, they man-
unteer at Lynn Song it comes to volunteers. activism, apart from build- aged to pull through and
AWAM She felt that more ing a sense of solidarity the result was positive
to give legal information information should be among the participants of and it was an enriching
on a daily basis, have provided to encourage the last WWRP 6 held experience.
gained experience in han- ‘sleeping’ volunteers and from November 13 to 16 Although there were
dling cases, including the public to help make at the La Salle Hall in many new members who
child custody. the programmes run by Petaling Jaya. were enthusiastic about
According to her, the Services a better suc- As for Chit Chatters being actively involved
main problem with these cess. she said that they were with AWAM and the
cases is that the women The most notable ac- constantly engaged in WWRP, Tze
who seek advice have no complishment so far in discussions that chal- Yeng hopes
knowledge or awareness Services is the faithful lenged their assumptions that in 2009
of their legal rights, and service of six trained para about society and them- she will be
are more inclined to not counsellors, even though selves. able to see
lodge a report against clients have been irregu- She reckoned the more par-
their abusive husbands lar. most notable achieve- Photo credit: ticipants
for fear that they will lose Su-Lyn and Wai Ling ment was the presence of being more
Melody Faye
custody of their children. noted that although on new members and their assertive
Boo Su-Lyn, former average there are only involvement with not just -Lynn Song and taking
social worker at AWAM, two clients a day, the six the WWRP but AWAM as on leadership roles in
worked with a team of of them continued to vol- well. This is a positive activities organised by
para counsellors to pro- unteer consistently from outcome because it helps AWAM.
vide counselling. They the period of May 2008 to to ease the problem of Their voices and tal-
provide face-to-face and December 2008. the lack of volunteers. ents are much needed
telephone counselling. The volunteers are Besides that, the re- empowerment to help
She noted that al- trained by AWAM for two cent workshop has en- AWAM to realise its
though it is better to have months before undertak- couraged WWRPers in dreams and goals.
face-to-face counselling ing para counselling. The
as it enables thorough training covers areas like
counselling, a vast major- feminism, human rights, supervision of para coun- lic support, Wai Ling
ity of cases are handled counselling skills and sellors. This is to ensure hopes that people in gen-
through the phone. counselling theories. uniformity in their ser- eral will be more empow-
A notable Services This is to ensure that vices. ered to take the initiative
project is their collabora- the volunteers are gender But she explained that to bring their issues to
tion with Sisters in Islam sensitised and under- this might be difficult if light through different
to undertake outreach stand AWAM’s stand on there is a lack of human forms of the media, such
programmes in rural ar- feminism and women’s resource or if there are as writing to newspapers
eas to educate the public issues before they take too few clients who come or community radio.
of their legal rights in fam- on the role as para coun- in for face-to-face coun- She also hopes that
ily matters. sellors. seling; it is generally diffi- the Anugerah support
The Services commit- Su-Lyn felt that there cult to supervise para group will continue its
tee has also established were still many areas that counsellors who counsel outreach programme ef-
links with other service Services could improve via the telephone. forts and that the para
providers such as hospi- on, one of which was to As for encouraging counseling unit will be
tals, the police force and implement more effective more volunteers and pub- maintained.
10 WAVES Issue No 2, January 2009

Public Education
by RK Boo
The Public Education However, Betty and tee includes the involve- trainer due to the limited
Committee has done tre- Yock Lin felt that there is ment of AWAM as mod- resources of AWAM
mendous work in inform- a need to assess the di- ule writers and trainers in members.
ing the public on gender rect impact of trainings on Women's Rights and CE- She gave an addi-
and human rights issues. youth. Betty suggested DAW (Convention on the tional suggestion of im-
It is led by Haslinah that one way of assessing Elimination of all forms of plementing a Training
Yaacob (Coordinator) and such impact is to plan Discrimination Against Roadmap to develop
Betty Yeoh (Public Edu- future trainings with Women) training in Su- trainers and AWAM mem-
cation, Events and Advo- school programmes over hakam, as well as in the bers. Also, trainings
cacy Manager). a two or three year span. Gender Module in LPPKN should be strategised –
At the time of writing, In terms of the com- (Women's Ministry) and some training can be
Haslinah Yaacob was not mittee’s work with alliance the National Service train- done to generate income
available for an interview. groups, alliance group ing program. while others are to create
Hence, comments on the members are enabled to These involvements change.
evaluation and hopes of carry out Young Person recognise AWAM’s spe- In terms of generating
the Public Education Take Charge (YPTC) cialty in the field of gen- income, corporations can
committee are taken from trainings at schools. der and women’s rights be targeted to provide
Betty Yeoh and Ho Yock The Chit-Chatters and based on the CEDAW sexual harassment train-
Lin, active members of Writers for Women’s framework. ings at a fee.
the committee. Rights Programme In terms of improving Examples of trainings
The Public Education (WWRP) have recently the Public Education that create change are
committee has run much been put under the pur- committee in 2009, Yock gender and rights training
training last year, mostly view of the Public Educa- Lin suggested initiating a in National Service, and
with students. tion committee. good action plan, groom- mobile outreach pro-
According to Betty, Betty suggested that ing a pool of trainers and grams co-organised with
schools have made re- in order to strengthen conducting quality train- Sisters in Islam (SIS)
peat requests from impact, the WWRP can ings with impact. where community mem-
AWAM for additional synergize with other train- Betty added that we bers are trained on laws
training, which indicates ers. should increase the num- affecting women.
that the schools must Betty noted that the ber of trainers who can
have found the training accomplishment of the train during working days,
useful. Public Education commit- or to hire an additional

Advocacy & Lobbying


by RK Boo
The Advocacy & Lobby- projects or press state- Against Women) shadow She also said that
ing committee is currently ments. It has not taken report, and initial involve- members of the Writers
led by Ho Yock Lin, who the lead in advocating ment in the CGG for Women’s Rights Pro-
is also a any particular issue. (Coalition for Good Gov- gramme (WWRP) can
member However, the Advo- ernance) or JAG advocate issues through
of Em- cacy & Lobbying commit- Women’s Task Force. the media, while Yock Lin
power, tee made a notable ac- In terms of improving suggested working with
a sister complishment last year by the committee this year, AWAM’s Media Team.
organi- participating with JAG Yock Lin said that the Yock Lin hopes that
sation organisation members on committee needs to set the committee this year
in the the “Kotakan Kata” event, objectives that are in line will be able to focus on
Joint where participants pre- with AWAM’s three-year what AWAM is good at in
Action Photo credit: sented their demands to plan, as well as to identify order to create meaning-
Group Melody Faye- the MPs at Parliament to a suitable issue to lead ful results.
for Lynn Song fulfil their promises. This advocacy work. Betty also concurred
Gender event was covered exten- One strategy that can with Yock Lin, and added
Equality (JAG). Betty is sively by the press. be utilised is to source for that AWAM can either
also an instrumental Betty added that the appropriate members to lobby women to under-
member of the Advocacy committee was involved join the committee and stand their rights as en-
& Lobbying committee. with the UPR (Universal groom people to speak capsulated in the CEDAW
Yock Lin and Betty Period Review) CO- out. framework, or to work on
commented that currently, MANGO (Coalition of Betty added that cli- amending a particular law
the Advocacy & Lobbying Malaysian NGOs) report, ents of AWAM can advo- or policy for the next few
committee mostly sup- the CEDAW (Convention cate for laws to be more years.
ports other coalitions or on the Elimination of all supportive towards
NGOs on campaigns, forms of Discrimination women.