KUCHING: They have been jeered at and their record attempt has yet to be recognised, but all these did not break the spirit of three 50-something Sabahan women who are walking from Perlis to their home state in their drive against all forms of violence against women.
Datuk Elizabeth Maurice, joined by friends Clarice Paini Mojigoh and Rose Moguloi, have by now completed approximately 1,000 kilometres through the ‘Walk the Talk from Perlis to Sabah’ since starting their journey in Arau, Perlis, on Nov 23.
They were here briefly yesterday to walk for 2km from the airport to Green Heights Mall, before taking another flight to return to Kota Kinabalu for the final stretch of 10km.
Prior to that, they had walked more than 900km from Arau to Johor Bahru, with a few stop and start points in the big towns along the way, and concerned members of the public joining them at some of the routes to show their support.
Elizabeth, who acted as the leader of the trio, told reporters yesterday that they were excited to be near the home stretch although there were a few ‘bumps’ along the way.
“We made it, but it was such an agony. We met all kinds of people, some very rude. Sometimes, people, especially some men, shouted ‘hoi’ at us,” she lamented.
According to her, they were also attempting to make it into the Malaysian Book of Records for the longest walk attempted by women aged above 50. She was, however, unsure whether the record-setting attempt would be recognised.
For some unknown reasons, only the distance from Perlis to Johor Bahru would be recorded, but event organiser Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia (Sirom) is trying to add in distances in Kuching and KK too, she added.
“We are trying to put it into the Malaysian Book of Records, but at the moment nothing is sure yet because a post mortem needed to be done first before this sort of attempt can be accepted.”
On the walk, she said they also walked at night, which was on the first day from Arau to Alor Setar.
“We walked for more than 12 hours and reached Alor Setar at 11pm. During our walk, we try to maintain our momentum of walking 7 km per hour.”
Elizabeth nonetheless said they appreciated the support given by the public, even from a royalty in the person of Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail who joined their walk.
Asked if they would do this again, she said they would want to repeat the same feat, but at different locations.
“This is the longest that I ever had walked”.
“I have covered all Sabah, and this is the longest. And it is just like breaking a record.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 people joined them during the 2km walk from the airport to the Green Heights Mall. The participants earlier assembled at the Kuching International Airport to await the arrival of the trio from Johor Bahru.
They were then given a celebratory welcome upon arriving at Green Heights Mall.
Also present at the event were Soroptimist International Federation of South West Pacific president Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam and Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) president Margaret Bedus.
Siew Yong said the effort of the trio should be applauded because they took great pains to propagate the message of zero tolerance towards violence against women and girls.
“Even if the Malaysian Book of Records do not acknowledge, we all should acknowledge their effort to spread this message to stop violence against women and girls and raise awareness especially among the younger people.”
The trio flew back to KK in the afternoon, where they were due to walk for two hours covering 10km from the airport to the city centre.