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News from Malaysia


I was lucky to have an IRC chat with a Malay fellow about the situation
of women in IT there; it was very insightful, and I asked for permission
to share it here.

enrico: One day I'll probably want to ask you about women and IT in Malaysia
jiyuu0: sure :)
enrico: There is this legend that in Malaysia 70% of people in IT are
        women, and I'm trying to verify it
xxxxxx: enrico: can i help?
enrico: Voices I have heard include a very successful government project
	to push women involvement, and another voice saying that women
	are just cheaper workers and there's a lot of them in IT but
	only for lower jobs
jiyuu0: enrico, not sure bout that now... but back then when i'm studyin
        there r more females than guys in my college
enrico: IT college?
jiyuu0: yes
enrico: Wow. That sounds like a good news!
jiyuu0: > and another voice saying that women are just cheaper workers
	and there's a lot of them in IT but only for lower jobs.... i
	think it's true in general
enrico: That sounds like a bad news :(
enrico: In fact in your pictures I didn't see many women, so I was worrying
jiyuu0: 40% of our members in open source club is female
enrico: oh! That's a super-big number!
jiyuu0: my gf won't be happy if i snap photos of girls
jiyuu0: so i try not to :)
enrico: jiyuu0: I see :)))
jiyuu0: i'll snap some tomorrow at our road show
enrico: People such as Pia Smith of Linux Australia and people from
	Debian Women were curious about it, since those numbers are
	incredibly different than the rest of the world
jiyuu0: girls here in colleges are more hardworking...
jiyuu0: so if we approach for academic purpose... they will sign up
xxxxxx: jiyuu0: and good-looking?
jiyuu0: so that's where we get the numbers
jiyuu0: xxxxxx, very true
jiyuu0: sexy too
enrico splashes a bucket of cold water on xxxxxx :)
xxxxxx: jiyuu0: just for academic purposes?
xxxxxx: enrico: it's the tao.
jiyuu0: yub... as we give workshops on open source
jiyuu0: and in malaysia... it's zero in their syllabus
jiyuu0: so what they know is only the name "open source" and "linux"
jiyuu0: but not really know what it does
jiyuu0: that i'm referring to final year IT students too
jiyuu0: soon... all of em will know ubuntu
jiyuu0: ubuntu is used for our workshop 2 to 4
enrico: sounds like no female hackers, however
jiyuu0: i've attended a hacking competition in a local uni
jiyuu0: yes... no females around
jiyuu0: all guys
enrico: So unfortunately there is still a line somewhere
jiyuu0: true
enrico: From this conversation, then, I kind of undestand that the
	directions are set by mainly men, and the work is being done by
	mainly females?
xxxxxx: line?
xxxxxx: enrico: the perfect society?
jiyuu0: some females just don't bother... if i start talk to my gf about
        linux... she'll shy away and she's a IT person too
enrico: xxxxxx: I mean, a line preventing involvement of women at some point.
jiyuu0: enrico, in politics.. how many men vs women? so that's a clear cut
enrico: jiyuu0: is that because linux sounds too complicated, too nerdy or what?
enrico: jiyuu0: so in Malaysia is mainly men in politics as well?
jiyuu0: yes
jiyuu0: i think less than 10% women
enrico: ok
enrico: jiyuu0: do you have any idea on why your gf shyes away? linux
        sounds too complicated, too nerdy, something else?
jiyuu0: my gf... just don't even bother to listen... not interested
jiyuu0: that is also what i get from some lecturers
jiyuu0: i think is mindset of certain ppl... changing is not fun... or
        if there's no need... then no point to learn
enrico: So IT is more seen as a source of income rather than a passion,
        if I understand correctly?
jiyuu0: here in MY... u will hardly see ppl passion on IT
jiyuu0: that's why open source is not really being pushed
jiyuu0: and not much community development too
jiyuu0: OSC aim is hope to build a community and passion towards open
enrico is somehow enlightened
jiyuu0: the club detail and benefits http://www.myosc.org
enrico: what do software companies in Malaysia do? Just outsourcing?
jiyuu0: not really
jiyuu0: some write
jiyuu0: some buy out of shelf
jiyuu0: it's really hard to say
jiyuu0: one thing i find it not easy in open source community is... some
        ppl are just not friendly + arrogant
jiyuu0: had been joked about, mocked for work, critise in front of public
jiyuu0: i learn open source the hard way
enrico: You mean, Malay free software community or international free
        software community (or both?)
enrico: Wow... learning like that indeed needs lots of committment
jiyuu0: both
jiyuu0: some of em... still hurt
jiyuu0: wanted to learn + help
jiyuu0: but got shot down instead
jiyuu0 happy to find that ubuntu community are friendly ppl
enrico: the people in Debian-Women thought that one of the reasons for
	lack of women involvement in free software was that the
	community is sometimes unfriendly
enrico: They also realize that that can be one of the reason for lack of
        more men involvement in free software as well
jiyuu0: very true
enrico: Luckily they contribute to voice the idea that being involved in
        free software should not necessarily be only an ego fight
enrico: I'm quite confident that things are going to change a bit, and I
        think Ubuntu's quite helping on that
jiyuu0: yes... ubuntu are friendly to newbies
enrico: Inside Debian, besides Debian Women, there are people that are
        concerned about making the community more friendly
douglas has quit ("Leaving")
jiyuu0: yes... friendly is always better... y be rude... in the first place
jiyuu0: there's no gain
jiyuu0: only will make ppl shy away... or worse spoil the name of the product
enrico: I agree completely
jiyuu0: :)
enrico: jiyuu0: thanks a lot for your insights. You activated some
	neurones of mine telling me about a reality slightly different
	than what I'm used
jiyuu0: sure no prob
jiyuu0 feels nice sharing with someone who feels the same bout building
        a nicer community
enrico: I'm happy to know of other people involved in this task; one
        more name doubles the value of the network



GPG key: 1024D/797EBFAB 2000-12-05 Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org>

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