Siew Yong was a charter member of SI Petaling Jaya (SIPJ) in January 1994 and became the President of SIPJ from 1998 to 2000 after 1 year as Vice President. I was President of SI Region of Malaysia (SIROM) from 2005-2007 after serving as Vice-President (2001 – 2003) and President-Elect (2003 – 2005). SI National Rep for Malaysia in 2008 and President of SISWP 2012-2014, recently Siew Yong was the chair for the Soroptimist International Convention 2019 held in Kuala Lumper, the first time a International Convention has been held in Asia.
Siew Yong Gnanalingam’s Adventures
My theme for the biennium was “Flower Power – Strength in Diversity” with a focus on 4 sub-themes - Strength in Diversity, Members Matter, Programme Impact and Image Factors. There were two federation wide initiatives:
“Walk the Talk – Stop Violence Against Women” for image, action and advocacy impact. A personal high was 3 ladies walked 850km from Perlis to Sabah, supported by thousands more in seven city walks during the UN’s 16 Days of Activism. Its exemplary success inspired Malaysian members to have four more annual walks.
“Educate.Exchange Connection” rides on the strength in diversity of SWP’s young ambassadors to spread goodwill, understanding, best practices and gain leadership experience.
I learned tenacity and patience from seeing these projects come to fruition. I appreciate the diversity of values and cultures in different countries and gained knowledge from inspirational speakers at CSW and accepting differences at SI Board Meetings. My key takeaway from my visits to newly chartered clubs (Erdenet, Kuching, Mandurah, Gippsland) and to New Zealand, PNG, Mongolia, Fiji, Australia, Hong Kong, Federation Conferences in Berlin and Belfast, and COC2014 Kuching, is “Soroptimist Sisterhood”.
But my most meaningful experience was in PNG where I personally faced the reality of infant mortality when birthing resources are lacking and witnessed the BIP’s impact in saving the lives of babies and mothers.
Yvonne Simpson (left) presenting Siew Yong with the President's Insignia
the start of the Walk Against Domestic Violence
Siew Yong sending the walkers on their way
Siew Yong holding the walk the talk TShirt
Conference of Clubs 2014 Logo depecting the Diversity of clubs and flowers.