Saturday, 10 March 2007
Calling a Cow, a Cow...
Attended the Perak Women for Women's Forum on "Building a Non-Discrimination Society: A Responsibility of Everyone" this morning, and it was a very enlightening experience...
What I found to be disheartening was the fact that the crowd was made up of mostly women, with the exception, of say maybe 4 guys, speakers aside (Way to go, dudes!)...The speakers were however, evenly balanced, which was a good thing, considering the theme of the talk.
Dr Sharifah Halimah (Senior Lecturer, Royal College of Medicine Perak, Consultant O & G, Ipoh Specialist Hospital) is the President of PWW, and she opened the talk, naturally.
I missed the opening speech, and most of the first speaker's speech. The whole forum was pretty good actually, although I only found the last three to be more interesting, as they were not as dry as the first two. But to be fair, the first two had very substantial facts and figures.
What struck me, I suppose is the fact that these people were all not evenly remotely afraid of saying what they really felt. There was no "I might offend the person with the tudung if I praised the one who doesn't" or "I will piss the fairer lady if I say the one who is darker is better"...You get the gist, I'm sure (Read: Read between the " " lines).
Which was way cool, and commendable.I respected the fact that the speakers, along with the audience, were all matured enough to all address facts, and things as they are, not the way we have been brought up to recite from memory. Finally, there is a talk and forum that says it as it is. Finally a forum in which people can actually say, "Yeah, let's call a cow a cow, and not a chicken"...Way cool...Nobody got offended simply because there was nothing to be offended by...We were all merely addressing the fact that despite Malaysians being a lucky lot, we still have a lot to improve...We still can do lots for women...
We can never really make any change if all we do is smile and agree that all is well, if it isn't...We have to stop being contented, because then there will be no progress...We have to learn to state facts, and I was impressed that the Representative from Sisters In Islam, address the situation as it is, and not try to justify a 'right'...
We also had a very enlightening speech about the constitution...I mean, hell, it was way better than spending God knows how many weeks studying Malaysian Studies' Constitution Component, which was like eating dry paper, with no water to wash down...I was worried it would be a wasted morning, but it wasn't after all. At least the audience was attentive, respectful and matured...I guess it makes a difference when you attend a talk with adults and when you attend them with a bunch of your peers, who go because it is cool, or as an excuse to catch up...Worth coming back to Ipoh all the way from Penang for...
Anyway, a sum-up of the speakers:-
Gender Discrimination : Impact on Health and Socio-Economy
Dr Shayesteh Jahanfar, PhD,
(Senior Lecturer, Royal College of Medicine Perak, former
Associate Professor, Iran University of Medical Science, Tehran.)
Race Relationship in Malaysia: A determinant of harmony
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj
(Consultant Chest Physician, Social Activist)
Malaysian Federal Constitution : Our Basic Human Rights
Mr Jerald Joseph , Activist (KOMAS)
Islam and Women: The Legal and Social Perspective
Cik Zaiton Mohamed Kassim (Programme Manager, Sisters in Islam)
Violence Against Children : Malaysian Perspective
Dr Amar Singh HSS
(Consultant Community Paediatrician, Head of the Paediatric
Department, Ipoh Hospital)