Dr. Martens


The New Yorker

How did you get into your line of work?
I’m currently an editor at Beyond The Hijab—I started off by volunteering at a feminist organisation, and realised that I wanted to be involved with an organisation that did targeted work for issues pertaining to Muslim women in Singapore.

If you could implement one new law or practice, what would it be?
I’d implement the practice of mutual aid, which isn’t something that we can really enforce in principle—it’s more about suggesting a new way of relating to each other to create a more humane society. Mutual aid respects the value of each human being beyond how they have been judged by society in terms of “productivity”.

One of the painful and traumatising things we have had to deal with in Singapore is this overwhelming logic of competitiveness that ruins a lot of relationships, from personal ones to ones between colleagues and even strangers.

What was your favourite fairytale growing up?
I liked Jack And The Beanstalk, because it was a fantasy of class mobility and literally climbing up the ranks. I used to think that’d be nice, but I know now that it’s just a fairytale.

What’s something you’ve found yourself being nostalgic for lately?
I’ve been nostalgic for my childhood a lot lately, and I’ve had to remind myself that it was not exactly great. I guess in times of chaos, we look to simpler times. Even then, my childhood wasn’t exactly simple—I guess I’m just nostalgic for a time that isn’t the present.

Share with us an important discovery you made about yourself during this year:
I’m a conflict-avoidant person in general, so this year I actually had to learn how to enforce boundaries and say “no” to things. I’ve had to tell myself that I don’t have to sacrifice my own well-being, just because I’m afraid to make the other person feel bad. Being honest is a good thing, and in any case, there are respectful ways to say no. I also learned unfortunately that I’m not very good at handling stress.

If you could be known for something, what would it be?
I’d like to be known for being wholesome: no one ever leaves from a conversation or interaction with me feeling terrible about themselves. Oh, unless if you’re a bad person, then I don’t owe you anything (laughs).

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