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Happy International Women’s Day! March 8, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Event, Miscellanous, Note2Self, Women.


I wish I had time to put up the funky logo for IWD2007 and rant about the dearth of rights for women, but suddenly I looked up at the clock and saw the time: 5.29 pm!

I’m beginning to feel like one of the women that I had written about in the past – where they get up at 5 am to start work at home, go to the fields, return for more housework, childcare etc. and end up at crashing at midnight.

The grand plan concocted two weeks ago was to have a mega pampering session (insert – annual rant). Instead today turned out to be like this:-

    6 am Sleep
    7 am Wake up. Feed cats.
    8 am Off to Airport. Farewell Koulabear and family.
    10.30 am Leave from Airport
    11.30 am Reach Ampang Magistrates Court
    12.30 pm Lunch
    1.00 pm Reach Kg Berembang
    2.30 pm Return to Office
    5.30 pm Write 2 statements, read assorted pieces, edit translations, 1 phone interview, process Kg Berembang photos, 6 media enquiries and multiple niggly phone calls
    6.30pm Prepare for Vigil at Ampang Jaya police station
    7.00 pm Scheduled to reach police station. Stay til late or when Tian Chua is released.

Will have to postpone the ‘Happy’ of Women’s Day, hopefully only until the weekend.


Dear Sisters.

International Women’s Day is a day of ‘charting’ the rights of women the world over. I shall try to avoid being patronising by listing down what’s right and what’s not, here. We know what’s very wrong with the world.

But while we work in our own ways, through our own respective organisations, parties and collectives, one thing is clear. To see change happen, there must be political clout.

It is not political clout when women only constitute only 10.5% of Parliament and 6.3% of State assemblies.

I caught up with my old schoolmates during our Chinese New Year reunion lunch. Some of them asked me why they see me moving of late, from human rights in the NGO sphere, and more into the socio-economic political arena.

While I searched my thoughts, trying to find the right words to expound on the limitations of being a small, non-constituent-based, English-speaking middle-class pressure group; one of them held my right hand and said:-

“You need to have power to make changes.”

She had put it so simply and accurately that I gasped. A regular, non-politically-active person on the street with no PhD in Political Theory could plainly see this.

Having the right policies is a start. Having political will is another step. But while the numbers of women’s participation in realpolitik remain dismally low – as what we have today in our legislatative bodies – there will be no change.

Women will continue to be fodder for jokes, old-boys-ribbing, insults and humiliation in Parliament and State Assemblies, and there is only so much 4 Opposition women MPs can do to counter this.

I have always held the belief that if one wants a job done, one has to do it herself. This year may turn out to be an election year, and while women make up the majority of voters in this country, not withstanding, the best and fiercest election campaigners are women, an extremely disproportionate percentage of women get elected into legislative bodies.

There must be a fair share of women candidates and women legislators to make changes in the lives of women. Perhaps it’s time to stop waiting for someone else to take up the cause of equality and women rights, and start doing it ourselves.

(ends annual IWD rant.)



1. claire the cat - March 12, 2007

this is a good letter. 🙂 touching…
sometimes we are so conditioned to just sit and wait for someone to come along and do the dirty work. we wait for someone to speak for us, even though we know we can speak for ourselves.

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