An Interview with Shahnaz Haque.
Shahnaz Haque is well-known as a woman who inspires others. Included in her many efforts is her leading role as ambassador for the powerful documentary titled ‘Tupperware She Can’, exposing women who have striven to improve not only their own lives but the welfare of others. We sat down for an interview with Haque and she dished on her source of inspiration and emotional strength.
- How long have you interviewed inspiring Indonesian women?
- What is most attractive about the program?
The vision was and still is to enlighten, educate and empower women that live across Indonesia. The interviews prove that women can do anything for themselves and for others around them.
Most impressive is the attitude that they display. They are determined to improve. This attitude shines through despite the limited physical conditions that some of them endure. They manage to become resourceful. I hope our viewers will be inspired and that we can keep sharing endless reasons for such inspiration.
- What is your greatest motivation for doing this job?
My strongest motivation is filling the bonus years of my life with something meaningful for women. I say the bonus years because I’m still alive despite a near-fatal battle with cancer. I’ve been surrounded by girls and women all my life. My siblings are all girls… ditto my kids and nieces. Also, I live in a country where the majority of the population are women.
I believe women can make changes. We can begin by building confidence in our own abilities and then share it with others.
- How do you feel you benefit from your efforts?
Above all I become inspired. I get the power of appreciation when I involve myself in sharing people’s confidence and abilities. I am being educated with every new experience. It is like going to university on a scholarship. The encouragement I give gets me a constant stream of positive impact.
- Can you relate a particularly touching experience?
It is nearly impossible to isolate one above the other. Each person I meet stands out individually as the story of how they moved from zero to hero is unique. To describe the power they have, I’m coining the English-Indonesian phrase – “The Power of Kepepet!” Kepepet because it describes the pressured, “no way out” feeling they had when they started to fight back. Their lives were miserable. They were despised, looked down on for years. They only had a few bits of it left. If they failed to salvage that, they would end up broken to pieces.
This very situation is what made them powerful. In the face of serious problems, they never lost confidence in themselves. They fought to reach their dreams.
- What have you learned about women from hosting the show?
I feel that women are tougher than men. Men may have stronger muscles and stamina, but the strength in women is endurance. These women are successful because they are resilient. A better life is a dream worth struggling for, and many are making it a reality.
- What is your sacrifice?
[Smiles wistfully] I’m seldom at home. But I can then share these dreams with my husband Gilang and my kids. We remember that what I do is not about fame and fortune. It is something I do to share inspiration. That is my contribution to my family.
- What would you like to tell our readers?
To the male readers: Please give more opportunities for the women around you to progress because all of us, male and female, need opportunity. Share in raising the kids and other domestic tasks traditionally reserved for women so that your wives can multitask on a variety of experiences in life.
To the female readers: I hope you remain inspired to take advantage of the short life we have. Our deep emotional ability is the source of our success. This helps us multitask. It doesn’t mean we take over the husbandly position as head of the family. No! What it means is that we place our husband squarely in the position as head and that we become a solid neck of support. A strong neck helps the head keep direction and in turn the head gets ‘crowned’. On the other hand, if they can’t perform their role well, the family head will end up getting walked on – no glory there.
- How has your program personally changed your perspective, your character, and your determination?
It hasn’t changed me as a person per se. You can see that my experiences in life have moulded me into what I am. What has changed is that I found something that beautifully aligns with my existing character. This grounds and focuses me. The program and I fit like a cap on a bottle.
This is why I have actively participated in this project for the past six years, even though it is demanding. Finding the secret of life requires more than just academic theory. The power of a woman cannot be measured by diplomas and educational achievements. It requires experiences. A working mother is not sinning nor is her family destined for a cold failure. Success is posible only when we engage our full potential, which includes our reasoning ability, inner wisdom and mental strength.