Nori

Saya sebenarnya anak Tok Batin. Apabila bapa saya meninggal dunia, saya jadi isteri Tok Batin. Tanggunjawab yang saya pikul ni sama besarlah dengan suami. Kalau kami berkumpul, saya ada tanggungjawab berbincang dengan ibu-ibu. Jadi dengan suami, saya bersama-sama pikul tanggungjawab di kampung.

Pertama kali dapat tahu tentang EMPOWER ni dari kawan lah, Asmah. Lepas tu, dalam tiga tahun ni, EMPOWER memanggil saya untuk menyertai bengkelnya dah tiga kali. Yang pertama kali tu yang saya dapat tahu dari Kak Asmah, saya cuba pergi sebab saya tak pernah keluar, macam mana cara untuk kita nak tahu, macam mana nak bawa masalah kampung kami. Pertama kali saya keluar untuk berbincang masalah kampung ni rasa takut ada, sebab tak biasa bergaul, tak biasa keluar, tak biasa pergi cari pengalaman, saya rasa agak susah nak bawa masalah kampung.  Tetapi apabila saya sampai ke bengkel, EMPOWER tunjuk macam mana cara nak bawa masalah kami, mengajar kami, dan saya mendapat pengalaman sedikit demi sedikit, saya dapat belajar. Apa yang saya belajar dengan EMPOWER, saya cuba bawa ke kampung. Saya cuba cerita kat kampung bahawa apa yang lelaki buat, kami wanita pun boleh lakukan, apa yang kami boleh buat untuk mempertahankan hak kami, hak wanita. Kami wanita Orang Asli sebab duduk di pendalaman, kami tidak tahu apa itu hak wanita. Kami sahaja dapat tengok dalam TV wanita lain berkempen, tetapi kami tak pernah berkempen, tak pernah pergi mana-mana, tengok dalam TV sahaja. Saya lihat orang lain yang buat, bukan Orang Asli, mereka Orang Melayu, Orang Cina. Dalam TV, saya lihat wanita boleh bersuara tetapi di kampung Orang Asli, ada setengah kampung di mana wanita tak boleh bersuara. Jadi saya ikut bengkel EMPOWER ni dah tiga tahun, dah boleh mula faham sedikit apa yang diajar dan boleh bawa ke wanita lain di kampung saya. Sebab saya menyertai bengkel EMPOWER, saya dapat faham tentang hak wanita, bahawa wanita Orang Asli juga ada hak. Bagi wanita Orang Asli, selalunya apa yang kami tahu tentang hak wanita tu adalah mengikut adat Orang Asli, menjaga anak, mengurus rumah tangga, jaga makan minum suami, itu sahaja. Kami tidak tahu tentang hak-hak wanita yang lain. Macam sekarang ada wanita Orang Asli yang bekerja. Dulu tidak dibenarkan bekerja. Jadi, saya bila balik ke kampung, saya beritahu wanita Orang Asli di kampung saya bahawa wanita boleh bersuara, wanita ada hak, sama-sama dengan lelaki. Wanita di kampung harus tahu ni, bukan sahaja wanita di luar — apa hak wanita, apa yang wanita boleh lakukan, macam mana orang lain buat, kami juga boleh buat, kami boleh berkumpul, berbincang tentang masalah kami, dan cuba menyelesaikan masalah kami.

Cabaran tu memang ada. Ada separuh wanita Orang Asli, mereka tak faham, biasa lah di kampung, ada yang pandai membaca, ada yang tak pandai membaca, ada yang bersikap nak jaga anak dulu, tetapi bila saya cakap dengan terang, saya cakap dengan mereka perlahan-lahan, mereka faham. Pertama kali mereka tak faham, tetapi saya terus berjumpa dengan mereka sampai sekarang mereka faham lah. Tiap-tiap kali saya ikut bengkel EMPOWER ni saya akan bawa orang lain bersama. Yang paling penting bagi saya dalam pengalaman saya mengikut bengkel EMPOWER adalah mengenai hak wanita Orang Asli. Sebelum ni saya tidak tahu, tak pernah berbincang tentang perkara yang kami tidak faham. Saya banyak menghargai EMPOWER kerana membantu kami wanita Orang Asli, membantu kami faham hak kami dan apa yang kami boleh buat, EMPOWER bagi tunjuk cara lah. EMPOWER sebenarnya bekerja keras untuk mengajar kami. Saya sangat menghargai EMPOWER. Sebelum saya menyertai bengkel EMPOWER, dulu saya juga wanita yang takut, saya berani di kampung, tetapi sebagai Orang Asli, saya tidak tahu tentang undang-undang, saya hanya berharap sahaja kepada pihak JAKOA [Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli]. Parah. Tak tahu macam mana nak tentang dia, macam mana cara untuk bercakap dengan dia. Kalau kami sudah bercakap, mereka tak balas. Kami wanita Orang Asli di kampung Gebok memang boleh bersuara. Tok Batin tak pernah melarang, orang-orang tua di kampung pun tak pernah melarang wanita Orang Asli bercakap. Mereka menggalakkan wanita bersuara bersama-sama dengan mereka. Bagi saya, apa yang saya belajar dengan EMPOWER, saya bawa balik ke kampung dan memang ada perubahan. Macam ibu-ibu yang ada anak-anak, mereka nak tahu macam mana nak bahagikan masa, kami kena berbincang bila kami nak keluar dari kampung. EMPOWER membuat pemikiran saya terbuka, boleh faham tentang undang-undang. Kerana EMPOWER, apa yang kami tak tahu sebagai wanita Orang Asli, kami sekarang tahu, apa yang kami tak dengar, kami dapat dengar, apa yang kami tak faham, kami boleh faham. Macam tu.

Kampung Gebok, 29 May 2016

 

I’m actually the daughter of the previous Tok Batin (Village Chief). After my father passed away, my husband became the new Tok Batin. My responsibilities are just as great as my husband’s. Whenever we gather, I am responsible in talking to all the women. So, together with my husband, we bear the responsibilities of the wellbeing of our village.

I first came to know about EMPOWER from my friend, Asmah. EMPOWER asked me to join three of their workshops in the last three years. I got to know about the first workshop from Asmah, and I tried attending it because I have never been out of the village, and I didn’t know how to get information, or how to bring forward the problems that we face in our village. I was scared when I first went out to discuss the problems of our village, because I am not used to mingling around. I never left the village. I was also very new to seeking experience, and it was hard for me to bring up the problems faced by my village. However, when I was at the workshop, EMPOWER showed us how to bring up our problems and issues and also taught us, and little by little, I learned by gaining experiences. I tried to bring what I have learned with EMPOWER back to my village. I tried sharing in my village that whatever it is that men do, women can do just as well, and also what we can do to defend our rights as women. As Orang Asli women, we have no idea what are the rights of women, because we live in the rural areas. We only get to watch on the television, about how the other women are having campaigns. But we never had any campaigns of our own– what we know are what we watch on TV. I see that the other women who are doing these campaigns, they’re Malays and Chinese, not the Orang Asli.

I saw on TV that the other women can voice out, but in certain villages of the Orang Asli, women are forbidden to do so. Throughout these three years of joining the workshops by EMPOWER, I have started to understand the things that have been taught, and I can share the information to the other women in my village. I began learning about women’s rights, and that the Orang Asli women, too, have rights because I joined the workshops by EMPOWER. As Orang Asli women, usually what we know about the “rights” of women are those dictated by the customs of the Orang Asli, which revolve around childcare, managing the household, and also caring for our husbands. That’s all. We did not know about the other rights that women have. For instance, nowadays there are Orang Asli women who work– it was forbidden previously. Hence, when I return to my village, I tell the other Orang Asli women in my village that women can voice out, and women hold as the same rights as men. The women in the villages should know about these things; what are the rights of women, what women can do, we (the Orang Asli women) can do as much as the other women out there, we can assemble and hold meetings to discuss our issues, and to solve them. The women in the villages should know all these things, and not just the other women out there.

There are challenges, certainly. In the village, it’s normal to find that half of the Orang Asli women do not understand the information that I share from the workshops — some of them are literate, the others are not. There are also those who prioritise their children, over anything else. However, when I explain clearly and slowly, they begin to understand. They don’t understand when I first tell them, but I kept on going to see them, until they understand. Each time I join workshops by EMPOWER, I would bring the others with me. Of the experiences that I gained from joining the workshops organised by EMPOWER, the most important thing for me is knowing about the rights of the Orang Asli women. Before this, I had no idea, and we never talked about the things that we don’t understand. I really appreciate the help that EMPOWER has given to us, the Orang Asli women. EMPOWER showed us how things really are, and helped us understand our rights, and what we can do. EMPOWER works really hard to teach us, and I really appreciate that. Before I joined the workshops by EMPOWER, I was a timid woman. I am vocal in the village, but as Orang Asli, I didn’t really know about the laws, and I was only depending upon JAKOA (Department of Orang Asli Development). It was terrible. We had no idea how to resist them, nor how to speak to the people in JAKOA. Even when we have spoken with them, they never provided us with a response. The Orang Asli women in Kampung Gebok are allowed to speak out — the Tok Batin and the village elders never stopped us from speaking. In fact, they encourage women to voice out alongside them.

In my opinion, when I bring back what I have learned from EMPOWER, changes do take place in my village. For example, the mothers with children want to learn how to manage their time, and we discuss among ourselves, when to go out from the village. EMPOWER opened up my mind, and now I understand the laws, as well. Because of EMPOWER, we now know what we didn’t know before about the rights of women, we now hear what we didn’t get to hear before, and we now understand what we didn’t understand previously. That’s how it is.