12th Biennial Conference, Port Dickson

SIROM held its AGM on Friday 31 March 2017, where highlights were shared by the executive committee, after which a new exco for 2017-2019 came into service. On Friday evening, a lovely warm friendship night was held, organised by SI Shah Alam, with the theme of “Sarong Rocks”! Of course, the Soroptimist sisters showed off their individual styles by partying in their sarongs.


Sarong Sisters!

On 1 April, the Conference opened in the morning, with a parade of banners by all 15 clubs, and Joanne Yeoh as the MC.



The morning continued with Organising Chair Dr Saradha Narayanan welcoming the audience, which was followed by a speech from outgoing President Anita Pater, and the keynote address from the Guest of Honour National Council of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) President Professor Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin.

Guest of Honour National Council of Women's Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) President Professor Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin

Guest of Honour National Council of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) President Professor Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin

SISWP President Theresa Lyford had been delayed overnight in Australia due to the cyclone but managed to just arrive in time to deliver her speech. Theresa then together with Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah, Dr Saradha and Anita officially opened the conference in a ribbon cutting ceremony.


Official opening of the 12th Biennial Conference

The panel discussion on the theme of “Bridging the gender gap” was moderated by National Rep Nora Lam. We had four engaging speakers: The session began with Dr Theresa Devasahayam, prolific author and highly-respected authority on gender issues, and also the IPP of SI Singapore. Her topic was on The Asian Career Woman: Conflicts, Challenges and Contradictions.


Dr Theresa Devasahayam

Next, Executive Director of Women’s Action Network  spoke on the topic of whether gender disparity propagates violence against women.


Ms Siva Visvanathan

The third speaker was a constitutional lawyer En Syahredzan Johan, who spoke on gender equality from the constitutional perspective.


En Syahredzan Johan

The fourth speaker Ms Adelaine Foo could not make it due to travel issues, and was replaced by Mr Sam Leong, who was a friend of Adelaine’s and a great impromptu speaker at the last-minute.


Mr Sam Leong

All speakers were very powerful, knowledgeable and eloquent on their respective topics and the audience were very impressed.


The panel of speakers taking questions from the floor

After lunch, there was another presentation by Dr Haslinda Musa, who is the CteD Coordinator at the Institute of Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship (IPTK) at the University Technology Malacca. She spoke on the challenges of being the mother of an autistic child and how to deal with them. She even expressed interest to join the Soroptimists, which was great.


Dr Haslinda Musa

After that, there was a change of pace as a team building exercise outdoors was held.

In the evening, everyone dressed in their best for the gala dinner, with the theme of “women in red, men in black”. Francine from SIKK and National Rep Nora Lam were the MCs for the night, and there was a great line-up of entertainment, consisting of a quiz, two sets of singing – one by Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam and another by SIPJ, as well as a slot by a young comic duo.


Dato’ Anusha entertaining the dinner crowd with a song!

The evening was interspersed with raffle draws, and the nomination of best dressed, which was won by the elegant Bernie Selvi from SI Sentul.


Best Dressed winner Bernie Selvi

The highlight of the evening was the passing of the presidency, from Anita Pater to Dr Saradha Narayanan.

passing-the-presidencyAnita also gave tokens of appreciation to all the exco members who served during her presidency.


Thanks Anita!

Partying went on late into the night even after the official party was over.

The following morning, President Dr Saradha held her first meeting with Club Presidents and delegates. SISWP President Theresa Lyford was also present and expressed her thanks and gave kudos to SIROM clubs for their projects.




The 12th Biennial Conference was a blast – always showing that SI ladies work hard and play hard. Much appreciation to the hardworking organising committee, led by Dr Saradha, who contributed to the great conference which was had by all.

Click here to download the PDF of our souvenir programme: SIROM 12th Biennial Conference Programme


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