If you'd told me earlier that we had such accomplished altruists amongst Malaysian women, I would have snorted with disbelief.
Well. I take back my words.
Like many people I know of, we Malaysians don't give enough credit to ourselves.
Doing this project, one of my major ones for 2010, was a huge eye-opener. For every Gloria Allred, we have our very own Dr Hartini Zainuddin; for every Carly Fiorina, there's Ng Wan Peng.
Why fixate on occidental overachieving scientists like Marie Curie when we have somebody like Datuk Choo Yuen May in our midst?
And forget Gray's Anatomy - who knew doctors looked so hot??
For most parts, these women have smashed glass ceilings with quiet dignity, paving the way for other women to stretch their limits.
Editor Elaine Kwong delivered a memorable speech about how the greatest lesson that these ladies impart to us is that inside each of us, is a heroine waiting to be unleashed.
A project of this scale and complexity is no cakewalk. It's more than just multiple photo shoots and doing justice to 18 over-achieving women and their mile-long roster of accomplishments in under 350 words.
I had a bigger problem to grapple with: after every interview, I wanted that person to win!
Decision-making tugs-of-war aside, GWOT definitely ranks as one of the most rewarding experiences in my writing career. And I mean that in a literal sense as well.
At the end of the GWOT award ceremony, which included a sizzling performance by Sheila Majid (yup, she's still got it), all of us who stayed till the end of the dinner got to cart home an Osim uMama massager :P
Drool at the eye candy :)