I had been invited to the event run by Zafigo which is the website to encourage women to travel. The event would be held in Penang, Malaysia for three days that I had to take the plane in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was nervous as it’s my first time to be on the stage and I had to speak in English which was not my first language.
Come to think of it, I have never entered a new country by airplane without my bike on my trip.
I was hungry that I ordered some food at Malaysian airport and then I was surprised by the amount of food. Thai food was always so little that I had to order two dishes many times. And Malay people were kind that I felt great from the airport already.
The organizer provided luxury hotel. I couldn’t remember when I stayed at this kind of luxury place last time. Moreover, they gave me good money to invite to this event. That made me more nervous because I felt all of the good things as pressure. I wish I practiced more to speak naturally. But to memorize and speak in English was not easy for me as the first time.
After leaving my luggage in the hotel room, I went down to see the event hall.
I asked the staff preparing the stage that I could try to speak a bit. I thought I would have proper rehearsal later, but there was nothing. I wished to do it as the beginner.
We had a welcome party on the stage in the night and later we moved to have dinner with organizers, staff, sponsors, and speakers.
At the next day, the event started. Other speakers did really well. I had a lack of confidence because I didn’t have such an experience. When I was in Chiang Mai, I got the chance to speak at some college class which my friend introduced. But at that time I spoke with looking my paper. So this would be really different cause I would not have any paper to hold. My speech and workshow were scheduled tomorrow.
And here I was on the stage. I talked about five things I learned from my trip. My voice was shaking at the beginning, but later I felt comfortable. I edited my scrip every single time when I tried to read. Thankfully I had two native friends who helped to edit with better words and grammar.
My speech 🙂
Vlog of preparing speech
The most inspired speaker was Manal al sharif. In Saudi Arabia, it had been banned for women to drive. She didn’t agree with it and she drove to protest. After it, she was in jail as against the law.
I always got more inspired by people fighting for their rights than by world travelers or high mount climbers and so on.
Another inspiring person was Nelleisa Omar. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she decided to fight against to inspire people suffering from same illness.
(Sadly, her cancer was back and she died at the next year.)
After it, we had a panel discussion about sexual harassment. Actually many male travelers got sexually harassed too that it’s not only our problem.
Actually, I declined an invitation in the beginning because only women can come to this event. I liked to share my story not only with women but with everyone. Talking to one of the organizers, I agreed to join as I heard that many Malay women cannot raise their voices easily when they were with men.
My last thing to do at the event was a workshop for one and a half hours. It was really easy than having a speech that I enjoyed as like talking to a friend.
On the last day, I took the picture with my hero.
Also, I had a picture with Marina Mahathir, a founder of Zafigo. After finishing the event, someone told me she was an influencer as an active campaigner for women’s rights in Malaysia and warded UN Person of The Year for her volunteer work in combatting HIV/AIDS. Another thing was she was the eldest child of Mahathir Mohamad, previous Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003. (He returned to the office in 2018 at the age of 93.)
It was funny that I didn’t know anything about her and I just wondered how come she could make this event big as the founder of the small website. Then later I understood that one of her jobs was to find sponsorship for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, so she was good at finding sponsorship.
For me, it was a really good time to share my story and meet many different people. I thanked Marina for organizing this event, James for contacting and helping me, staff and volunteer for hard work, attendee for coming, and sponsors for making it possible.
I had a return ticket after two weeks booked one month ago. But then I realized two weeks were too far as there was not much to do in Penang. When I talked about it on the last day of the event, one of the people working at the media team invited me to her house in Kula Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
I decided to hang around in Penang for a few days and head to her house by bus.
Penang was famous for its amazing street food.
I made the video with helping from a local friend.
Edina and her son were welcoming me in Kuala Lumpur.
We went up to the top of the famous Malay building. When I was in Thailand, I thought Thailand was the most developed country in South East Asia after Singapore. But it seemed Malaysia had a bigger economy market.
As a bird lover, to visit bird park was so good. It was a really big park that many birds were hanging around next to people.
The best part of coming to Kuala Lumpur was to meet Zafigo team again 🙂