Zee Avi On Why We Should Be Aware Of Women’s Rights
Sarawakian beauty Zee Avi is not a stranger in the local music scene, as her many fans would agree that listening to her hit songs “Kantoi” and “Bitterheart” can bring back so many memories from our teenage or young adult years.
The 33-year-old singer whose real name is Izyan Alirahman or sometimes known as KokoKaina, is now based in the United States of America — but dear fans, you’d be happy to discover that she is currently back in Malaysia!
In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Zee Avi will be teaming up with local RnB singer who is known as her stage name NJWA, for the first time ever. Aimed to celebrate gender equality, the concert will be held at Dewan Merdeka, PWTC on 22nd March 2019 and will bear the hashtag #BalanceForBetter as well as #IWD19MY.
Upon meeting the petite singer, I was immediately starstruck with her vibrant and bubbly personality. I initially thought that a big star like her would be hard to approach, but boy, was I wrong.
In fact, saying that Zee is a friendly person would be an understatement — because not only will she smile at everyone who crosses her path, but she is also the kind of person who would casually drop compliments on random strangers. (Holler at me if you ever need a friend, Zee!)
1. So as a long-time fan, naturally, I had to ask Zee about the journey of her musical career.
Zee Avi: Culturally, when I was about to pursue music, it wasn’t really something that was common or usual or secured at all in the eyes of my parents. But I pursued it anyway and it was challenging at first, but in the end, you get to feel rewarded because life is an uphill battle.
2. How did you start believing in yourself and your talent?
Zee Avi: You kinda have to have that conversation with yourself before you even think about doing it. Because in order to pursue it, you really need to stand true to who you really are at the time, because we are constantly changing and always growing.
3. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Zee Avi: I would tell younger Zee that I’m proud of her. Many of us in our adolescent years need to hear that we are loved, in the way that someone is proud of us just for hanging on, for coping with the many insecurities that we had to go through and all of the fears that we had to face. So first and foremost, I would say, “I’m proud of you babe, just hang tight and everything will work out. But don’t forget to learn something new about yourself everyday because that’s really the answer to keep everyone growing.”
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I've been challenged!! By @wearelikely 💕 To celebrate gender balance for this year's International Women's Day. I'd like to nominate the Goddess Storyteller @alenamurang and the Beauty Queen @larissaping to strike a pose as well!!! Join in the challenge and nominate your people followed by these tags! #balanceforbetter #iwd19my #zeeavinjwaconcert @flyfm958 @putraworldtradecentre @dailyseni Don't forget to get your tickets to me and @njwamusic's concert on March 22nd 2019, PWTC at www.airasiaredtix.com! Location: Batu Caves, Malaysia Photo: @thenameisbon11 (thanks for the angles that make me look like I'm taller than the 4'11 that I am) 😆 #BatuCaves
4. Okay let’s talk about the big day. How do you think we should be celebrated on International Women’s Day?
“I think women should be celebrated all year round, all day, everyday — because women give life.”
Zee Avi: Women nurture and educate through our intuition and passion, while providing the most important balance in this whole world. So for International Women’s Day, that is the whole concept, which is #BalanceForBetter. It is an amazing platform for women to have a place where they can showcase their voices and their talents.
5. Do you think Malaysian women are aware about our rights and equality?
Even in social settings, there would be a certain bias-ness between men and women. So everything starts with education, because do women here know that there is such thing as women’s rights?
Zee Avi: I don’t think a lot of us are aware about our rights. Like, where do we even start and what are they? With so many things happening around us, how can these rights apply to us as modern women? Will there be flaws that need to be changed or updated? I hope we could progress from somewhere so that we could be informed better about this.
6. Speaking of women’s rights, what are your thoughts on young brides who are being married off to older men?
Anything without consent is wrong, my dear.
Zee Avi: I think anyone who is underage and not able to make their own decisions — being made to make decisions that are far beyond their years to do anything is not right. Again, it all goes back to your upbringing — parents. It makes me a bit sad. I mean, some families do it because they live in poverty and have to find other alternatives to take care of the household. I try not to judge other people’s decision on how to live their lives. However, when it comes to children.. I guess education is very important.
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In light of the losses of souls we've recently had, it matters not whether their lives seem easy or comfortable. Struggles are not always visible. I always say we are all in the school of life and everyone has their own ways and timing of learning their lessons and going through their tests. Sometimes, you may catch people on a bad day because that's their exam day or week and life's battles are tough when you can't really see what you're supposed to learn from your obstacles. Everytime you're going through a bad phase, just know that upcoming blessings await! So be kind to each other, everyone. You never know who might need it that day. ;))) ✨🌺💗🌺✨
7. Last but not least, do you have any message for your fans?
“Be kind. Be kind to yourself, be kind to each other. But first and foremost, everybody just has to be kind to themselves. Really try to understand all of your weaknesses and strengths because that’s how you’ll start to have understanding towards others, and able to support each other.”