GIRL TALK

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Life -

Ida: How did Ikal Mayang came to be? As in the name? It lit­er­ally came to me when I was in the shower wash­ing my hair – as all great ideas tend to! Ikal mayang is spe­cific to long, black, wavy Asian hair. It is about the dif­fer­ences we all have: “Ram­but sama hi­tam, hati lain-lain”, which means we look the same but ev­ery­body has a dif­fer­ent story. But I thought I’d sell the word ‘ ikal’ to Yuen be­cause I thought she might say ‘Ikal Mayang’ is too long. Yuen: And when she came to me with ‘Ikal’, I said it was too short, of course! I: ‘Ikal’ did not mean much on its own. That was when I sug­gested ‘Ikal Mayang’ and she loved it. Y: And that is how we came to name the film project that is Ikal Mayang, right now in its sec­ond year. I: We are Women: Girls, and we are about cre­at­ing a plat­form to raise women’s voices and to en­able them as well as younger girls. As pro­gen­i­tors of Ikal Mayang, it has been amaz­ing to see it grow. It started out as a film col­lec­tive last year where we got first-time di­rec­tors to make films. Car­men Soo, Sofea Jane, Elaine Daly were all part of it and it is won­der­ful that this year sees an even big­ger project with re­gional in­volve­ment by top women di­rec­tors. ‘Un­spo­ken Truths’ Ikal Mayang 2014 was launched on In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day with a host of other ac­tiv­i­ties to mark the day. Y: What Women: Girls re­ally is and how it started is ba­si­cally how all of us just came to­gether, as women do, us­ing our dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties, re­sources, strengths, and back­grounds to do some­thing just be­cause we can. I: Re­mem­ber what you used to say? “No­body did this for us. We should do it for oth­ers.” Y: Yes! I think what Ida and I share is in­ter­est­ing. It’s as if we are build­ing Lego. She starts the piece and I add the next, and she adds the fol­low­ing and so on. While this is As part of the Women: Girls ini­tia­tive for 2014, Low Ngai Yuen and Ida Ne­rina talk ideas and the lat­est Ikal Mayang

film col­lab­o­ra­tion. go­ing on, ev­ery­one else can’t seem to keep up. We are a lot more sim­i­lar than we think. I: Can’t say no to you be­cause they are great ideas. You can’t deny great ideas. It some­times seems like you have an idea and you throw it at me ... Do you re­alise that it ex­plodes and ev­ery­body around us scram­bles?” Y: You should see the What­sApp mes­sages we ex­change. They are manic! When we start some­thing, I know where you are go­ing and it just rolls on from there. I’m the one float­ing in the clouds and she makes things re­ally hap­pen. I just start the flame. I: I think we are a bit of both. But Yuen is burst­ing with ideas. Amaz­ing out-there kind of ideas. Things that people are think­ing about but not do­ing. Your knack is get­ting the right people around you. Y: That’s true, you are only as good as your team. And I have a great one so do stay tuned for ex­cit­ing up­dates from the Ikal Mayang film project. For more in­for­ma­tion on the Women: Girls ini­tia­tive and ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing an up­com­ing TEDxKL­women talk later this year, log on to www.wom­en­girls.org

Low Ngai Yuen and Ida Ne­rina

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