MP SPEAKS | According to the New York Times, Ma Kyal Sin “loved taekwondo, spicy food and a good red lipstick”.
She was a young woman, with hopes and aspirations just like any other 19-year-old.
Angel, as she was also known, was shot dead by Myanmar security forces a few days back, triggering a huge outcry.
Scores of people turned up in Mandalay to bid their final farewell to the teenager, who has now emerged as the country’s icon for civil disobedience.
We have many “Angels” all over the world - be it the women who fight against patriarchy; the single mothers who soldier on despite poverty and lack of resources, guided only by the fierce determination to educate their children; the transgender women who are murdered for having the courage to be who they are; women who break glass ceilings; journalists who die pursuing stories; women artists who speak truth to power; our mothers and the list goes on.
As I sit contemplating International Women’s Day, I realised that what we are celebrating is the courage to be.
The courage to continue doing what they believe in despite a system that’s created to favour and support men.
Angel did the same: she took to the streets as a show of resistance to the Myanmar security forces and the country’s most hated man, General Min Aung Hlaing, who orchestrated the coup.
Thousands of women protested next to her, clearly signalling the crumbling of patriarchy that the generals were fond of preaching.
Just like them, we see women rise up against tyranny and oppression all over the world.
In pledging solidarity on this special day, I choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
And I choose to celebrate their courage and strength.
CHARLES SANTIAGO is the DAP MP for Klang.
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