Saturday, 29 March 2014

by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014


Design by: Amanda Lee

If you haven't read the Prelude: Who Run The World?, read it first here!

Our world is shaped by those who dare to be courageous — moulded by their ideas, innovations and inspirations. As women take the spotlight for this month, read on and be inspired by these women who transcend the ages, and who possess all types of courage. 


Thereʼs the courage to explore.
Like Amelia Earhart, a young woman who wanted to fly. It was unconventional for women back then to have big ambitions, many thought that men made better pilots. Amelia proved them all wrong. She grasped at the chance to be the first woman across the Atlantic, though three others had already failed before her. She broke the records and soared to new heights, setting no limits on her dreams as she once said:

ʻDecide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved, if it is, stop worrying.'

Her dreams held no bounds, her courage knew no limits, not even the sky. This is a woman who boldly went forth; into the unknown with hopes and dreams which surpassed the heights (literally) of any individual of her time. 

Thereʼs the courage to stand up for what is right.
Like Rosa Parks, an African American seamstress who lived under the Apartheid Law. It was a time when people were judged by the colour of their skin, when there were ʻwhites onlyʼ toilets and ʻcoloured onlyʼ seats. On the bus home, Rosa was ordered by the bus driver to give up her seat to a white man. She was not tired of always having to stand up, she was just tired of having to always give in. 

ʻArrest me for sitting on the bus? You may do that.ʼ

Her simple reply sparked a boycott from a thousand others. On Monday, the day of her trial, no black person in Montgomery, Alabama was found riding a bus. Sidewalks were crowded, the buses on the other hand, empty. Business was so bad that bus operations shut down for a while. Black churches even collected shoes to replace the worn out footwear of Montgomeryʼs black citizens. 381 days later when the boycott ended, buses got back into operation. This time? Black people could sit anywhere they chose.

One woman's courage gave others the courage they needed to speak up for their freedom. This is a woman who boldly went forth with what she believed was right for her people, and made a difference in their lives forever. 

There’s the courage to help others.
Like Irena Sendler, a Polish nurse during the war. She knew not of who she was saving, only the fact that they needed help and that she was willing to risk it. As a nurse, she was one of the few who was allowed a special permit to enter Warsaw Ghetto — an enclosed area for Jews established by the Germans. A place where random killings could occur any moment, where families would be separated, and escapees killed on sight. Both Irena and the people in the Ghetto knew that living conditions were harsh with chances of survival, slim. Under the pretense of carrying out health inspections, Irena and a team of nurses infiltrated the Ghetto and smuggled children out, carrying parcels and boxes out under the close scrutiny of the guards, which in reality contained small children. Irina managed to smuggle out at least 2500 children. Though she was caught and tortured, this brave woman managed to escape, and even lived to meet the children she had saved. War brings out the worst in some people, but for others, it brings out the best. Her courage ensured the survival of a race and fair treatment of fellow mankind. 

She risked her life to save others, regardless of whether she knew them. This is a woman who boldly went forth; putting her own life at risk to save thousands of others with high hopes of them living to see another day.

Thereʼs the courage to dream big.
Like Malala Yousafzai. Born in 1997 — my age — and living in Pakistan, the second country with the highest number of unschooled children. Her mission was to change the future of her country, one education at the time. Living in times where the Taliban had periodically banned girls from schooling, she wrote anonymously on a blog for BBC. It detailed her life under Taliban rule, their attempts of control over the valley but mostly, her views on promoting education for girls. Over the years, she rose in prominence, starring in a documentary which only led to more interviews and articles on this wide-eyed girl. It was then Malala and her father began to receive death threats for their outspoken views, causing them to fear for their safety. However, she refused when her father suggested they stop their campaign for human rights.

"How can we do that? You were the one who said that if we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply even if we are dead."

On the journey to school one day, a masked gunman entered the school bus. 

“Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all.”

Shot three times, once in the head, neck and shoulder,it took multiple intensive surgeries and nothing short of a miracle to save her. She not only had the courage to pursue her dreams but she had the courage to stand up for it. 

"I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child.”

She dreamt big, and she achieved big. This is a woman who boldly went forth; knowing that her efforts would someday change the future of those who had to suffer the same fate as she.

Be inspired by Marie Curie, Ruth Handler (the Barbie Doll) and Coco Chanel — women who empowered their mind, the inventors of the world.
Stay hungry to new things and opportunities. Stay foolish enough to risk things and take chances. “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one youʼre capable of living”.

Be inspired by Amelia Earhart and Eileen Collins (first female space shuttle pilot) — women who empowered their body, the explorers of the world.
Sail away from the safe harbour, go out there and explore, dream and discover. Have the courage to take the road less travelled, and maybe even make new tracks of your own.

Be inspired by Rosa Parks, Irena Sandler, Malala — women who empowered their soul, the liberators of the world.
Strive to make a difference, be the change you wish to see in the world. One day, history will judge us on our actions. So help those in need, stand up for yourself and for others. The time is always right to do what is right.

Be inspired by these women, as they are the ones who shape the world. Be inspired by them, then strive to become inspirations yourselves. “Weʼll all die eventually. But the goal isnʼt to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”. Go as far as where you dreams take you, and beyond.

So future generation of women, where will you boldly go?

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