“I am Generation Equality – Realizing Women’s Rights” is the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day on 8 March. Thus, it was fitting that 16 teens commemorated the day with their mothers by attending a conversation with body building champion Melissa Sarah Wee.Mel runs her own dessert business catering for the likes of FB, Twitter and Spotify and while she has made a promise to share some recipes, she came to our premises to deliver a more important message. “You can be the most beautiful girl in the world but if you are unhappy with how you look, nothing is going to matter because you will still see yourself as ugly.”
On the UN Women’s website, it is said that even before “hitting puberty, girls across the world already carry internalized beliefs about their place, worth and role in society as dependent, vulnerable or incapable and are told to act accordingly, reinforcing gender stereotypes and keeping them from realizing their full potential.” Hence, Mel reminded all who came that they are strong, capable and deserving of the same respect as boys and there is no wrong or right way to be a girl.
We are certain that not everyone present aspired to be a bodybuilder, but we noticed how everyone resonated with the self-belief, self-care and perseverance Mel was advocating. A mother who had lost a child to illness a few years ago was nodding in agreement every time Mel elaborated on what these actions meant. After losing her child, life continued to be heavy-going and listening to Mel told her that with each load she held up, she had been building the emotional muscles and will power to uplift her family.
The World Health Organization has now declared COVID-19 a pandemic and this is not good news for our members whose income has already been reduced. Thankfully, over the past week 2 corporations have initiated discussions on how we may support our members should they provide funding. So, we have been making plans to alleviate financial stress within families experiencing a loss of income and to supplement retraining cost where needed. Meanwhile, the funds we have raised from our COVID-19 Response have been disbursed as grocery vouchers and emergency cash to 45 households benefiting 211 persons.
For a long time now, we have regarded social issues as opportunities to rally people from different backgrounds to cooperate toward a common good. COVID-19 is such an opportunity and we thank all who have stepped forward with offers of help. We must apologise though to those we have yet to respond meaningfully. Please note that your offer of help has been a important source of encouragement for us to keep going.
Wishing you good health and peace of mind.
Having overcome SARS once, we know we can pull this through – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong