About female rights defense in Malaysia, about favourite dishes of Ukrainian cuisine and how and why Kyiv has taken her breath away

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In the rubric International Club Charge d’Affair of Malaysia in Ukraine H.E. Missis Rina Hanis Rodzli informs the FD about female rights defense in her country, about favourite dishes of Ukrainian cuisine and how and why Kyiv has taken her breath away…

This year has been proclaimed as the Year of the Expansion of the Rights of Women. Be so kind and tell us more about this national initiative. Why this initiative is so important for your country?

– I must say something about the background of this initiative. As you know, the world now is passing through the 4th Industrial Revolution that has brought the era of digitization and innovation. Malaysia wants to ensure the women are a part of this revolution too and not left out. This is the reason why Malaysia has proclaimed the year 2018 as the Women Empowerment Year or better known as TMW18. TMW18 is a national initiative, to empower and drive women into the 4th Industrial Revolution and get them engaged within five strategic clusters namely health, safety, economy, culture and education. TMW18 is the platform that allows everyone in the community to create a program or event in filling up the gap for each cluster. TMW18 is also a medium to create platforms for women to gain funding and organising on ground programs related to women empowerment concept.

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About female rights defense in Malaysia, about favourite dishes of Ukrainian cuisine and how and why Kyiv has taken her breath awayHow many ladies work at the diplomatic institutions of your country?

– For the Embassy of Malaysia in Ukraine itself, we have three ladies working while our former ambassador was the only male. In the Malaysian Foreign Service, altogether we have 425 diplomats and 183 of them are women.

Tell us, please, about your family. Does it stay with you here in Ukraine?

– Yes, my two sons are here with me in Ukraine. My husband is back in Malaysia because he is working in the private sector. So we have long-distance relationship. He does not often visit us because there is no direct connection with Ukraine yet. Nevertheless every 6 months he tries to visit us here. Previously I worked in Japan and for him it was much easier to get there because there was a direct flight to Tokyo from Malaysia.

Do you participate in some charity programs in Ukraine?

– Yes, I do. Mostly I do this at my sons’ school – every Christmas the school organizes charity drive wherein we collect donations in kind and monetary to give to families in need. Also, the Embassy of Malaysia participates in the annual Charity Bazaar organised by the International Women’s Club of Kyiv (IWCK) whereby proceeds from our sales of Malaysian handicrafts and food are donated to IWCK for its supported charities. Last year our Embassy also organised our own charity to support selected orphanages in the town of Sumy.

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In Ukraine there are certain clubs that unite diplomats. Do you attend such clubs?

– Unfortunately not, because of family reasons. Since I am the only parent here with my two sons, I would like to spend my time with them during the weekends.

Which ones were your first impressions about our country?

– I came here in August 2015 and, sure, my first impressions were naturally about Kyiv. The city that took me by surprise – its facilities were modern ones. I was pleasantly surprised by the convenience of the public transport and the surroundings were safe for me and my children to go around. Also, when it comes to modern ways of communication such as Internet – I must say that all these facilities are on the highest level. Sincerely talking I did not expect such high level of the infrastructure. I have always been more exposed with countries in Asia but I have to say Ukraine pleasantly impressed me.

What do you like most of all in our country?

– The spring. Why? Because the winter in Ukraine is long and when the spring comes all the changes in the nature are obvious and palpable. Everything is luminous and bright. You know, I like walking and I cannot walk a lot in Malaysia, because we have rather hot climate and we mostly drive when we want to get somewhere. But, here, in Ukraine I walk and I really enjoy walking in spring because in winter it could get really slippery and of course, very cold.

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Have you got acquainted with the Ukrainian cuisine? What do you think about it?

– Unfortunately, not so much yet. I know borsch, I know varenyky and I know Kyiv-chicken. I particularly like syrnyky.

About female rights defense in Malaysia, about favourite dishes of Ukrainian cuisine and how and why Kyiv has taken her breath away

Do you travel around Ukraine? Where have you been already (except Kyiv)?

– Sure, I have been to Lviv and to Bukovel. Also, I visited Kremenchuk and next month I am going to visit Odessa. There are many different landscapes in your country. I had an idea that Ukraine is a big country but I had to see it with my own eyes to be convinced that Ukraine is really huge and it can be seen only out of Kyiv.

What would you like to wish to the readers of our magazine?

– I think all the fights and struggles the Ukrainians have gone through made you stronger as a nation. You preserved your freedom and your culture and I wish your people to maintain hope for the children and for the younger generation and – I believe – if you maintain hope, your future will be bright.