Bernice Chauly, One of Our Malaysia’s Mothers of Dragons, On Speaking Her Mind and Standing Her Ground

MALAYSIAN WRITER Bernice Chauly has been struggling to survive and to write during the partial lockdown. However, she wasted no time in speaking up for fellow writer Tashny Sukumaran, who is being investigated by the police for something she wrote.

Tashny had written for South China Morning Post about an immigration raid in Kuala Lumpur where women and children as young as four years were being detained, handcuffed and sent to immigration detention centres in the midst of the pandemic.

As Pro-Tem President of PEN Malaysia, Bernice Chauly said, “The targeting and harassment of a journalist is a violation of press freedom. We call on the Malaysian police and government to allow journalists to do their jobs without fear of harassment, however controversial the story. Journalists must be able to report truths during this unprecedented crisis and this action is seen as a clear abuse of power from the authorities. PEN Malaysia is very concerned as to the treatment of migrants and refugees during this crisis and we urge the Malaysian authorities to respect human rights in all instances.”

This statement perfectly demonstrates the gumption she expressed in our video, Malaysia’s Mothers of Dragons, as one of four activists we interviewed: “You just have to do the work that you do. And I will continue to do that. Because I’m not here to be liked. I’m here to provoke. I’m here to be confrontational. And if you have a problem with it, that’s your problem. It’s not my problem.”

Watch the 12min video of Malaysia’s #MothersOfDragons here:

Read the rest of PEN Malaysia’s statement here: