BAC Launches
IWD Week with
Empowering Women

On 11th March 2024, we at BAC began a week-long celebration in conjunction with International Women’s Day which was celebrated worldwide on 8th March. This celebration included exciting events and activities aimed at recognizing and empowering women. BAC has always been committed to promoting gender equality and creating a more inclusive work environment for all. 

The launch, which took place at BACPAC, and drew students, staff and individuals from outside the organisation, started with a welcome note by Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, Strategy Executor and UPLIFT Secretary. She began by sharing about how she started her own NGO twenty-one years ago, and how she has been reaching out to communities in Sri Lanka and Nepal.   

Dr. Malar, as she is fondly known, asked all who were present if they knew how IWD came about, and then related that its history dates to 1908 when 15,000 female textile workers marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights. This eventually led to the establishment of International Women's Day on March 8th. 

Dr. Malar also emphasized the importance of community involvement and collaboration in creating positive change, inspiring the audience to take action in their own communities. She also shared how each one present can do little things to support women: 
- Make a positive difference in supporting fellow women 
- To not be afraid to voice out for yourself, or other women and to always ask Why Not 
- To speak up and call out bad practices 

Mr. Raja Singham, Managing Director and Chief Future Officer of BAC Education then welcomed all who were present, expressing his gratitude and admiration towards the women who have dedicated their lives to making a difference. Mr. Raja Singham raised the importance of being inclusive and supportive of all individuals in order to create a more equitable society.

He also highlighted the power of education in empowering marginalized communities and encouraged everyone to work together towards a brighter future for all. 

Amreeta Kaur, BAC Law lecturer then stepped up and commanded her presence as moderator, setting the tone for the panel discussion that followed, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue and collaboration in addressing issues faced by women in society, and celebrating their achievements. She encouraged active participation from the audience to create a meaningful and impactful conversation that would inspire positive change.  

The three speakers were then invited on stage to relate their story: 

  • Shamini Flint, Law graduate and Author
  • Tunku Mona Riza, Award-winning Film Director, and 
  • Amanda Kong, Community Development Manager

An insightful session then ensued, with the panelists sharing personal stories and experiences, highlighting the resilience and strength of women in overcoming challenges.

Kuantan born; Law graduate Shamini Flint shared how she began her journey as an author. When she could not find any books that her own daughter could relate to, as a child growing up in Singapore, she decided to write her own stories that would resonate with children in the region.

This decision led her to become a successful children's book author of The Shasha Series, with her pieces celebrating cultural relevance and her storytelling, engaging. To date, Shamini has written 78 books, which include the Inspector Singh Investigate Series. 

Tunku Mona Riza, who is also part of IACT’s Creative Industry faculty then spoke about her experience climbing up the ladder, from creating jingles and advertisements, to becoming an acclaimed award-winning Film Director. Tunku Mona gained fame and recognition for her movie Redha in 2016, which was the first Malaysian movie to highlight the plight of parents with an autistic child. Her movie was selected as the Malaysian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Her latest movie Rain Town also gained recognition as the first Cantonese language movie produced by a Malay female film director, and has been screen in China, Canada, India, and US, among others. Having won Best New Director at the 29th Malaysian Film Festival, Tunku Mona’s Rain Town tells an emotionally charged story of controlling parents, and also features family issues plaguing Malaysia’s multi-racial society. 

Amanda Kong, Make It Right Movement’s Community Development Manager, who is also a First-Class Law graduate from University of Liverpool and the first visually impaired individual to be called to the Malaysian Bar told her story of how she overcame challenges and discrimination in pursuing her legal career. Her determination and success served as a powerful example of breaking barriers and achieving one's goals despite obstacles. Amanda's story resonated with many in the audience, reinforcing the message of perseverance and empowerment in the face of adversity.  

As the talk ended, Amreeta, the affluent moderator, asked the audience to reflect on their own journeys and consider how they can overcome challenges in pursuit of their dreams. Asking each speaker one final question: What advice would they give to women in general?  

Shamini answered, “Self-care is crucial in maintaining balance and resilience in the face of challenges.” 

Be the role model you want or need to be. The one making a difference will be the person in the mirror,” quipped Tunku Mona. 

Amanda closed the session by saying, “Don’t doubt yourself for anything. The key is to just start.” 

What a good beginning this was to a week full of inspiring stories and valuable lessons.