Since I cannot not make it for the last meeting cum end-of-term dinner this Friday, this is my appreciation note from my past 1 term participating in the Bar Council Human Rights Committee (HRC).
I am very glad to be part of the HRC. I still remember that the 1st HRC meeting was held on a rainy day. It rained so heavily that it seemed to strengthen my initial determination not to attend the meeting. My friend and fellow pupil, Eva, was invited to join the HRC but I was not. Sigh, and I was reluctant and shy to attend the meeting without an invitation. Ultimately of course, I decided to attend the meeting, and yes, despite the heavy rain. It marked the start of my participation in the HRC.
Thanks to the HRC I have learnt, and am still learning a lot about various human rights issues, and I am not so “katak di bawah tempurung” anymore. I have now become braver to put forth my views on certain issues even though some are quite different from the majority.
In the process also, I realised that actually each of us holds different opinions be it just minor differences, and I learnt to appreciate and accept other people’s views and perspectives on different issues. It’s about communication – taking and giving. I have also learnt to be more sensitive towards our use of certain words in daily life which we take for granted, for instance, “gay” person.
The HRC’s spirits are high and though we are very much pressured from time to time, especially the recent complaints (?) that the HRC is taking on too much !?!, we need to keep it up. We must not give up on things which we are passionate about.
Thanks to the HRC, I have had the opportunity to experience various new things that I never experienced before:-
- Being an “opinion contributor” when I wrote the article regarding May 13. I was reluctant for it to be published in my name but when it was finally published in theSun, I was happy to have let my feelings known on the issue and to have shared it with others. Initially, I was also quite reluctant to let others edit my piece. But eventually, I learnt that I needed to hear and accept the comments of others to improve the article.
- Being a “reporter” by doing web reports where one has to pay attention and record every detail during the event in question.
- Being an “event organiser” by taking charge of the food during the exciting Human Rights Debate competition, and being able to appreciate all the more the hard work involved behind the scenes of a successful event. The importance of teamwork and cooperation with others was evident to me as a refreshing experience.
- Being able to visit KEMTA where I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes the other “side of the world”, and really being able to appreciate the greater freedom I have.
- Being able to “act” in a sketch during the HRC Human Rights training at PD. And may I add the experience of being a “psychiatrist”!
- Being able to moderate a Human Rights training session.
- Being able to collect donations for the families of ISA detainees during our Bar AGM. It was a most awkward experience, and I was shy to approach people to ask for money but then realised that for every approach and every smile, the box might get heavier. So it was worth it. It’s really not easy to ask for money from people we don’t know.
- Being able to see a rainbow at so near a distance (as it appeared to me) on the way back from our trip to the Orang Asli Buluh Nipis village in Bandar Muadzam Shah, and having learnt how to meditate in the unique place we stayed in.
- Being able to learn how to play futsal, and experience the energy and lethargy of training.
Finally, I have been able to meet and get to know a lot of new friends, and for the first time I was able to watch a Malay short film at the Annexe, Central Market. The fun outdoor activities organised by Seira and Sherrie (the S-ploited) have been truly amazing, and a new Working Group for lifestyle and leisure should be set up within the HRC!
There are many more events which have been memorable and which touched me but if I continue writing it will be endless.
Arigato to the HRC. This has been a great term. There are still a great deal I wish to learn and expose myself to on such as persuading myself to attend more forums on various human rights issues.
I am proud of the HRC, the work thus far and what it stands for. I hope “graduation” day will never come, but it is nearinf the end of our term.