Subject: Social Studies,Gender & Sexuality
HOMELESS BY CHOICE – a research on the architecture of a Woman’s identity in Malaysia.
Does a house/home nourish one’s existence? ;or is it a parasitic institution, where one is mutilated continuously by the expenses of its many repetitious favors? If it is, then why does a house/home never ceased to be one of the most important benchmark of a person’s stability? If a house/home reflects the ideal of security and stability in the form of materials that symbolizes permanence, then what will be the real deal if one decided to be mobile and impermanence; especially when one is a woman in her forties; where marriage is sacred and a house/home is a kingdom; will one be able to survive the longing of having one’s ‘own space’? How far will one go in tolerating with constructed values of one’s society upbringing? ‘Homeless by Choice’ is an antithesis how a Woman should be.
Beginning with a question on ‘the myth of security’ that the government and consumerism imposed on the people by promising happiness in a form of a ‘house’; followed by her vast reading on feminism view of the role of a woman in the society and the restrictions of her social-constructed growth of a woman’s role that nourishes the gender inequality; Mislina Mustaffa abandoned her own house and embarked on a ‘homeless and nomadic’ journey in her country with only a small bag pack for nearly 2 years now; spending her nights couch surfing at friends and strangers house and cheap backpackers dormitories and camping on the beach for almost 6 months now; which has nevertheless stirred controversial issues among the curious and fundamentalists on her identity as a Woman in this country.
Banned for a while from appearing on main media outlets, she abandoned her 20 years of acting career and now actively collaborating with international artists and local NGO on gender, human and animal rights issues and recently invited to the international program, TEDxKL Women to give a talk on her ‘Homeless by Choice’ project. And now, this Public Enemy; suffered and survived from vast demonization by the media of her involvement in human rights activism and political movements throughout her quest; is more than ready to document her experience and findings in a written format that includes photos and scribbles from her personal journal and diverse commentaries and critiques from her society; and is ready to share with the world of an alternative way of life and the consequences she is currently going through right now.
Biodata of the author
MISLINA MUSTAFFA has been shedding tears, sweat and blood re-presenting all sorts of women characters with different history and socio-economic background in her 15 years of performing on stages and screens, among them films by award winning directors (Reference A) and was nominated for Best Actress Award in 23rd Malaysia Film Festival 2010 for the film Karaoke by Chris Chong. She was also awarded Best Actress in Johor Theatre Festival 1997. Through her work she found out that the body alone is not enough to define her as a woman. A woman is not a completed reality, but rather a becoming, and it is in her becoming that her possibilities should be defined, not to reduce her to what she has been or to what she is today, in raising the question of her capabilities. This nature of transcendent action means, no one is able to close the book till the time comes for it to close by itself.
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