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Friday, July 17, 2009

102. An Issue

I read in yesterday's newpaper The Borneo Post that 'Sex Workers, transsexuals have right to identity'.

I don't understand or know what exactly was really meant by the word 'sex workers', but I do know what is meant by the word 'transsexuals'. To my knowledge I also refer them as 'Mak Nyah'.

In a forum, Malaysian Human Rights Sarawak Commissioner Dr Mohd Hirman Ritom said,'they have the right to basic ameneties, legal counsel, housing, education and medical facilities'.

'They also had the right to form associations, dress-up the way they liked and work as long as their work did not promote criminal activities'.

'These people are viewed as vulnerable group, they are marginalised by society and faced problems like social stigma and unjustified prosecution by over-zealous people'.

'Like everyone else , they have the right to have their own identity and dignity'.

I was thinking only of these 'Mak Nyah' group when I read the papers yesterday. It brought back some memories back in the years 1985-1997, when I was active with my NGO's work, I had worked closely with some of the 'Mak Nyahs' in my hometown. Even today I still are acquanted with some of them.

It was somewhere in 1993 I had organised a 'Pertandingan Ratu Tradisional Mak Nyah' at the old 'Dewan Masyarakat' here in my hometown. With organising, I had to laise with them regularly. I find them very friendly and helpful, though I must admit they can be suspicious of me in the beginning, but once I gained their trust, they will go all out to help me, be a friend to me. They are playful yet they are disciplined people, even possibly more disciplined than us. And they worked hard. There were 30 or so of them who participated in the event. I could see they really took the pain to dress up or look for or even borrow the traditional dresses.

It was a hit in town that night. There were whistles and 'boos' from the crowd at the same time but the Dewan was tremendously packed with the crowd of people.

To me, they could really dress up, make up beautifully, maybe even much better than us females.
The winners were front page in the papers the next day. It certainly had been a great night yet there were some controversy remarks made as well.

This issue was brought up again in the papers today.
Do read at


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