Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - Contents - Azza Arif ED­I­TOR az­zaarif@bluinc.com.my @az­zaar­ifk

‘Why is speak­ing up so im­por­tant?’ I was asked this sev­eral times when I spoke about our ‘Make a State­ment’ dig­i­tal cam­paign, which was cre­ated to en­cour­age women from var­i­ous back­grounds to share the re­spon­si­bil­ity of speak­ing mind­fully with pure au­then­tic­ity about causes they be­lieved in, so that oth­ers, who feel the same way, can stand up for their rights. It is also a way to en­cour­age them—and ev­ery other woman out there—to be more vo­cal, speak up and speak out.

I want our or­di­nary women to stand up on be­half of vic­tims, and say, “hey, this needs to stop!” be­fore more and more sto­ries turn into tragedies. I’m not sug­gest­ing that we should force our opin­ions on oth­ers. I’m merely stat­ing that we should strive to com­mu­ni­cate with more au­then­tic­ity and less fear, so that oth­ers will lis­ten. Turn to pg80 to read a list of state­ments from women of power all over the world.

Many of the vic­tims sub­jected to abuse are of­ten those who are pow­er­less and the marginalised. Imag­ine the change we would start to see if everyone stepped up and ex­er­cised their power to ex­press dis­ap­proval in sup­port of those vic­tims. Hav­ing a voice and us­ing it ef­fec­tively is as­ton­ish­ingly pow­er­ful. In this is­sue, we speak to the fear­less Heidy Quah about Malaysia’s alarm­ing crim­i­nal acts of baby sell­ing on pg78. She lent her voice to those of count­less of in­no­cents so they could be heard.

An­other feisty hero­ine we had the plea­sure of meet­ing was our cover girl, Con­stance Wu, shot by Mitchell Nguyen McCor­mack in Los An­ge­les. The lead of hit Hol­ly­wood block­buster, Crazy Rich Asians, Con­stance is one of those peo­ple that are blessed with en­ergy, wit and en­thu­si­asm.

I re­called my mom’s words of wis­dom from when I was six­teen years old; “What scares us the most is not so much the fear of be­ing rude and curt, but it is more of our un­cer­tainty of the un­known. If you aren’t happy with what you see be­fore you, say some­thing. A small voice is still a voice. And no one can ever take that away from you.” A quiet woman, she of­ten kept her thoughts to her­self, fear­ing that she might of­fend oth­ers with her words. But times have changed. And the time to speak up is now.



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