To commemorate International Women’s Day we want to recognise every woman’s achievement no matter how big or how seemingly insignificant it maybe. Whether they are up the corporate ladder or hawking by the roadside, we salute their courage, grit and efforts. We asked nine women randomly what were their proudest achievements and their quotes here are meaningful and significant to their lives as individuals. And we are grateful for society to evolve away from being gender bias, to give women the opportunities to grow and develop.
I was married at 18 years old. I was a chicken stall attendant with a primary school education. By the time I was 25 I was already with 3 sons, the oldest being 7 years old. We lived in a shed on a piece of land that did not belong to us. On the first day of school for my son I could not take him there because I did not have money to buy a pair of shoes and pay RM20 school fees. We had a pond where we reared carp fish. We used to sell them to the middleman for a few dollars each and he hadn’t come. I thought to myself “these 6 fishes if i could sell them at the market for RM5 each I could perhaps get some money”. I packed up the fishes and with my sons in tow we went to the market and squatted by the roadside with the fishes. They were all bought up quickly. Next day my son could go to school and I was so proud I found selling the fishes from my pond the beginning of a better life for the family. I am 61 now and my sons have stable jobs and children of their own.
I have been growing both the Malaysia ice hockey sports and my own insurance business with significant achievement simultaneously. In ice hockey, my proudest achievement was organising the Sea Games 2017 ice hockey tournament. My insurance business allows me the flexible time to be actively involved in both ice hockey and in protecting people’s life. Through that, I am proud that I am able to provide the platforms for aspiring youths to achieve their dreams in ice hockey sports and building their life through a business that aims to help others. My motto is to work hard, have proper time management, crystal clear goal and undying determination to achieve that goal. And to work with the right people with the right purpose. I am mindful of hardships, but I also know that once I have achieved the goal it will all be worth it.
Being able to build a career, from merely a Secretary and without having my dad to spend a fortune on my education, is the proudest achievement of my life. Out of high school dad asked what I wanted to study. If I were to take up a Degree, my dad would need to sell of one of his houses which I know he was investing for retirement. I didn’t have the heart for him to do that. So, I took up Secretarial Studies instead. My first job was secretary to the Head of Human Resources in a retail environment. The lady boss was fierce, firmed and very particular! She made me cried on my job but she was also the one that first crafted the journey for my career until now. She said: “Judy, I see your flair and interest in dealing with people. And I see your interest in the job (in HR, which she graciously provided me the opportunity to learn). Go take up part time studies and equip yourself. Build a career”. Along with burning the midnight oil and sacrificing weekends for studies, I made sure that each career move henceforth was a step up from the last. The rest is history. In this career I have been very blessed with wonderful bosses who have become my friends and coaches. This whole journey of becoming who I am till today, Head of Human Resources, is my proudest achievement.
My proudest achievement would have to be DJP, where I was part of the team that saw it through from the birth stage to where it is today. A company that stands firm to the values and aspiration that we have set from Day 1. I’ve learnt that there is no one correct answer to do a certain thing, especially when it has not been done before (which is common; as the company went through the different stages as we grow). We just have to decide, plan on how to make it work, do our best and give it our all, and God will do the rest.
My proudest achievement so far is my understanding of myself. I’ve begun to not justify my impatience or anger, but to understand why it is I feel the way I do when someone disagrees with me or when I’m just having a bad day. Life have its ups and downs and I don’t want people or circumstances to affect me negatively, which is why the more I understand myself, the better I get at communicating, making decisions and responding to difficulties. I think of success as living each day with joy – to not sweat the small stuff, to be able to solve problems calmly and to let go of what I cannot change – so ability to cultivate happiness will always be an achievement.
It is easy to think that publishing a few cookbooks and starting a cooking school to be my biggest achievement. But I when I reflect on what I’m really most proud of, it is my strength to stand up for myself amidst of difficulty – gently. A few times in my life, I was bullied by rude and chauvinistic men just because I am a female and can look like a damsel in distress. I was able to speak firmly yet politely to point out that they were wrong, and got an apology. Then I realise that one can be both gentle and strong.
I am a wife, mother and grandmother and I have been staying at PPR (Perancang Perumahan Rakyat) public housing for 15 years. While staying here I have experience various issues and social problems such as school dropouts, hunger, illiteracy etc. Because of this my interest in social work started. I worked with various NGOs and individuals to give whatever help to the youth to help relieve their hardship. I managed to get people to conduct youth camps, give financial aid for single mothers and donate grocery for the poor. We may feel sorry for their troubles but it’s even tougher for the ones who have to bear it. Even though this contribution is not a lot compared with the problems at hand, I am proud to have made a step towards improving their lot.
I am most proud of living a life I am happy with. I am independent and self-reliant – and not just financially, but also in most other aspects. The years have shown that I am capable of handling my problems and issues, and so there is less anxiety. Even though there is more uncertainty and insecurity these days, I am less afraid – which is wonderfully liberating. It’s good to have work I am excited about, and to be blessed with family and friends I like and love.
The proudest achievement of my life so far cannot be described by a single moment, but rather a collection of events that have centred around leaving my comfort zone and conquering fears. From travelling solo to accepting an internship opportunity overseas, there was an initial resistance to change. I’m proud to say that, despite the fear, there was always a quiet whisper that said: “I’m terrified, but let’s do it anyway.”