For this year’s International women’s Day, I was asked to participate in a question and answer session with the British High Commission in Brunei. Thank you for the opportunity to share!
Please find the link to the full article on the British High Commission Facebook page here and the Q&A is also shared below:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
“Hello! my name is Noor Affizan but you can call me ‘Fii’. My biggest passion is for personal development and sharing that with others. Having seen so much potential in Brunei, I speak at schools and organisations to inspire self-belief and determination. Last year, I completed specialist training in Singapore to become an ophthalmologist and now I’m based at RIPAS Hospital, working to save and restore sight.”
2. Where did you study and your fondest memory of it?
“I had an incredible time in the UK, studying medicine at University College London. Looking back on my time there, I can really appreciate how much of an impact the experience had on building my sense of independence and helping me grow as a person. My favourite memories are from making new friends and discovering a love for theatre, even getting involved in writing and directing several performances with the Brunei and Malaysia Societies.”
3. Who is your biggest influence or icon?
“Eleanor Roosevelt has been a big influence and is such a special person in history. Her journey to become the driving force behind the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is beyond inspiring. My favourite quote of hers is: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams’.”
4. If you could spend a day in a woman’s shoes – who would it be?
“I just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book ‘Becoming’ and she would be an amazing choice! She has been a modern champion for progress in her own right, and leads by example with authenticity and compassion. She has given a voice to many underprivileged communities and been able to meet so many unique and fascinating people.”
5. Have you felt any barriers in Brunei and how have you faced them?
“Brunei has a great record for providing opportunities in work and education for women, yet at the same time, I think there is always more we can do individually and as a society. In my own journey, I have faced some resistance to finding my own path, to push beyond the limits and expectations of others. I’d like to see everyone take those every-day opportunities to support each of the women in their lives. Whether for their colleague, student, daughter, sister or friend – lift them up and encourage their hopes and dreams, with that we can unlock so much potential for a brighter future that everyone benefits from.”
6. What words of wisdom would you have loved to tell the 15-year old you?
“At that time, I did face a lot of issues with insecurities so I would have loved to hear these words: You are enough. Don’t let anyone define who you are or what you can achieve. Keep pushing forward, especially when it’s hard but remember, you cannot give what you do not have, so work on yourself and it will be easier to help others.”
7. What do you do when you need to feel motivated?
“I get so much motivation and inspiration from reading – in fact it was a single book that turned my life around when I was going through a difficult time. Ever since then, I’ve had a love for personal development and learning more about how we can have a positive impact on the world.
“Other than that, I feel like my motivation comes from a strong sense of purpose. That even if I’m not exactly sure what the best course of action is, there is always a direction I can move towards that will get me closer to my goals.”
8. What book would you recommend for women empowerment?
“That’s so difficult to choose just one so I’m going to have to cheat and pick two… First, ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown. This book showed me how having the courage to be vulnerable empowers us and transforms our lives for the better. Secondly, ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg is a fantastic read that sparked a global movement. It contains powerful personal stories and wide-ranging research that explores the obstacles in the workplace of modern women.”