For over 60 years, rapid development has taken place in the ASEAN and Malaysian communities. Six decades is a long time, and a variety of social changes have taken place during that period. Development is aimed at upgrading or elevating the life status of communities towards that of developed countries in the aspects of health, economy, urbanisation, and formal education. However, behind this developmental progress is the impact of the changes on the lives and well-being of older people.
Shiela May Pansoy, a 39-year-old native of Davao del Sur, is one of the 37,000 women in the Philippine police force.
One night in 2019, Shinta Puspa Dewi found herself hiding under the bed as her patient yelled, “Hide, or they will shoot you!”. Her patient, who has dementia, believed they were in the middle of a war.
Tra My Nguyen was a model student all her life, but felt unfulfilled even after landing what she thought was her dream job: an engineer in advanced materials. It did not take long for Tra My to realise she did not want to spend the rest of her life surrounded by cold machines in a laboratory. She decided to quit.
Shwegyin Town in Bago District, Myanmar, is reputed to be one of the country’s best places to get gold. The town lives up to its name, “Shwegyin,” which means “making gold” in English. However, the precious mineral is not what keeps bringing 27-year-old Nwat Derli Zaw back to the town.
Noemi Obrero Abainza is a working mother and sole parent to her two children while her husband works overseas.
In 2014, three teenage girls rocked their way to fame from a small village in Garut, West Java, Indonesia. Firda ‘Marsya’ Kurnia (lead vocal, guitar), Euis Sitti Aisyah (drums), and Widi Rahmawati (bass) formed a band, Voice of Baceprot (pronounced ba-chey-PROT, means “noise” in a West Java dialect). Fans saw them as female artists who were challenging gender stereotypes and religious norms. The brave, talented teens, all wore the hijab or Islamic headscarves and played rock music. But the band’s performances and garb courted controversy and harsh criticisms too.
The girls say all they wanted was to play music and express themselves. Nine years after they burst into the music scene, Marsya, Sitti, and Widi reflect on how they have found meaning, and their voices in the noise around them.
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