The first time I heard about her was in late 2006, early 2007. I was 18...and she was still studying in UITM's Law School. Immediately upon hearing her songs and voice, you can tell that this girl is very smart, and thoroughly gives thought to her songs (before releasing it), aside from being immaculately talented.
I first got to meet her in the 2007 Urbanscapes (back then tickets were only RM30), and she sung some of her earliest records from her bedroom (hence the label name "yunaroomrecords"), where ep's were only RM10.00- RM15.00. Nobody knew about this girl, only the hipster wave of the time, when bands pop about like mushrooms, singing their hearts out even though they sound like.......yeah.
But Yuna outgrew the trend, she went beyond the hipster-indie wave (that I was once part-of too). She isn't just about passion, she is also darn gifted and talented. This tall malay girl packed her bags and leave Malaysia behind.... because it is tough here for a singing hijabi malay girl to really spread her wings and explore her options. And the tabloids/media here really enjoys cheap publicity, which is not a good environment for real-singer-songwriter like her.
Seeing her the other night at Istana Budaya (which was extremely good!!) enlivens the idea that a Malay girl CAN do it. We are not just a bunch of "kampung" faces that could not go international in whatever we do. We should not give anymore excuses to not go after our ambition.... I personally know malay girls who are Engineers working in the US at big oil and gas companies, I know a malay girl who went to Harvard, I know a malay girl who makes a 5 figure income at just 24, I know a malay girl who is working as a Doctor in the UK, I know...a lot of malay girls who made it big, and that we are not like the "typical" malay girl we are often dubbed as.
No, this is not about you being unique because you hear indie/unheard of bands instead of the usual ERA.FM playlist, or that you dress differently, or that your write deep poetry....this is about you, not saying you're just "contented" with what you have, and actually going big with it, even if it's just within your circle.
We are no longer in the time of our mothers, who may have a lot of economic challenges and limitations to overcome. We have technology, education and ideas..... we can elevate the meaning of being a malay girl in the modern world, that we are not weak. Even so, there will be opinions saying that achievements shouldn't be measured only by what you achieve on earth, but what you achieve in hereafter as well (an islamic point of view). The point is not that, this is women empowerment in general, through such inspirations and ambitions, we will be able to reduce the number of girls and women being abused and used for cheap morale jobs, we will be able to wash the streets of prostitution through better education, less rempit-girls on the road, clueless of their own capabilities.
Any educated and ambitious lady will not disappoint themselves in preparation for the hereafter, because truthfully, the awareness of doing so comes along with the struggles to achieve and do better. That is the best "islamic" training you could give a girl.
Budget 2014 is coming up. Wonder how much will be allocated to the "Women's Deparment"...and what the management will do with it.