Three years ago, most of us would have watched the video of a confrontation between a law student, Bawani KS and Sharifah Zohra Jabeen, president of a women’s organisation called Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M).
When Bawani stood up to speak at the public university forum, highlighting points on Bersih and free education, Sharifah dismissed her with the now infamous “Listen” said about 10 times, and decided to assert herself with statements such as “When this is our programme, we allow you to speak,” and “When I speak, you listen.”
It didn’t end there, as she decided to tell Bawani to leave the country if she was not happy here, berated her for not respecting adults, and finally capped it off with a statement that even animals have problems.
In the video, the students in the hall clap and cheer these words, as Bawani stands alone. For about 7 minutes, she has to take in this tirade, before she finally leaves the hall.
Many people would not fault her for coming out of this experience disgruntled and discouraged. Even though she received overwhelming online support after, there were still voices speaking against her and Sharifa also alleged that Bawani had been rude to her.
In the face of all this attention, both positive and negative, Bawani’s personal and university life could hardly have been entirely comfortable after. Happily, this story ends well, and Bawani graduated from University Utara Malaysia, with a degree in law and has been recognised as a lawyer by the High Court of Ipoh.
On her Facebook page, she writes, “Thank you very much my dear friends, comrades, family, relatives and everyone for all your wishes and support. You people made me what I am today. Again thank you very much. I will try my level best to uphold justice and more importantly the truth. Let’s fight for a better world for EVERYONE. My love & salute for all. Salam perjuangan.”
It’s heartening that she did not allow the experience to stop her from chasing her dreams. As a lawyer, she does have the potential to bring about the change she wanted to see as a student, so we will be watching her career with interest.
Feature Image Credit: Compiled from Penguincute33 Youtube & Arul Psm Facebook.