Don’t hate me because I am beautiful

How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Very often, physical attractiveness is associated with advantages. But how much is it true?

Early in my career, I came to know a friend. She is by all accounts gorgeous, clever and capable. She has had several jobs in the past and is currently struggling at one. The reason is simple yet idiotic: Female colleagues envy her while male colleagues lust after her. Then, I realised that being beautiful comes with its own set of issues. She had become the target of jealousy among her colleagues.

Some sincere colleagues told her that a woman like her is in “danger” because she is too beautiful, and many speculate that she has had scandals with bosses to get to where she is now. In the past, I have also met some young female professionals who grumble that male colleagues, particularly the older ones, don’t always take them seriously.

In order to earn respect, many young female professionals tend to tone down their physical attractiveness by dressing more plainly and using less make-up with the intention of looking more “matured” and of course, well, older.

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Civil Society Commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This is the CSO statement that was delivered to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Economic Planning, Dato’ Seri Wahid Omar at the SDGs Symposium on 23 February 2016. 

Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the global development agenda at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, more than 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malaysia met on three occasions since October 2015 to reflect on the relevance of SDGs to the country.

We recognise that under the principle of leaving no one behind, the SDGs integrate human rights and development in a balanced, inclusive and ecologically sustainable way.

We note that the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) and the SDGs share some common policy and program focus. With that, the 17 goals, 169 targets and the many indicators identified will guide a clear direction for both policy and delivery in Malaysia’s development program.

We recognise the gaps and shortcomings in the Government’s development planning, priorities and implementation. However, many of these gaps could be addressed through the SDGs over the next 15 years between 2016 -2030.

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The rich got rich faster than the poor

e1525ecc7c8d00fbafdfd6e599083b2b.jpgGrowing cases of child abuse and negligence in Malaysia are becoming a serious issue for the government and the general public. Just recently in Butterworth, the father of a 7-year-old girl who was found abandoned and abused in an apartment was charged under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001. However, it is not an issue of child abuse alone. These cases also highlight another significant problem: the enormous amount of stress that the people living in poverty feel in their daily struggle to make ends meet. In many cases, the parents might be financially unstable or poorly educated. Such forms of scarcity could then lead to abusive behaviour. Similarly, homelessness is another great concern that affects thousands of people across the country. The awful part is that people who are homeless are generally blamed for their homelessness. The public typically perceive homeless people as lazy. The fact is, the presence of homelessness in the city indicates the failure of government to provide adequate social welfare for the poor. In recent years, various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social groups have been stepping up to provide assistance in terms of food, clothing, medicine and so on to homeless people.

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We unite, therefore we protest

Lawyers don’t march every day. But if they march, then something must be very wrong. That was what the then-chairman of the Bar Council Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said during the “Walk for Justice” by the lawyers in 2007. What Ambiga said was right. Unfortunately after seven years, lawyers once again have no option but to march again. Why are people prepared to protest or march for a cause? It is a question that has intrigued not only the academic community but also the general public. The heart of every protest originates from grievances. It could be feelings of injustice, inequality or relative deprivation. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly”. Certainly this time around, amidst the “crazy” numbers of arrests made under the Sedition Act in this year alone, would you not want to protest?

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