This story is part of a series on body neutrality, where we shine the spotlight on five women on the journey towards self-acceptance.
Nur Syakirah Syazwana, 25, was born without hands.
“When I was younger, I’d fold my arms so that people wouldn’t notice that I have no hands. I was worried about the way people looked at me, and the things they said about me. However, when I was 15, I asked myself, ‘Am I going to keep ‘hiding’? Or am I going to change?’ It was then that I decided to stop folding my arms.
Growing up without fingers wasn’t that difficult. I have no issues with holding pens, typing on a laptop or handphone, and putting on makeup. I have a lot of patience, and believe that practice makes perfect. I don’t give up. If I need help, l simply ask for it. I am independent. When people think I need help, I will usually say, ‘No, it’s OK. I can do it myself.’ I don’t see myself as a disabled person. I see myself as a regular person.
The only challenge I faced was when I was looking for a job. Despite going for a few interviews in the retail industry, no one got back to me, so I gave up my search for a job in that field. I continued sending out my resume until I received a call from Anytime Fitness for an interview – I was thankful to land the job, despite not having any sales experience, and now also teach salsation dance classes at the gym.
I am also a delivery rider with Foodpanda. During the circuit breaker, all the gyms were closed, so I thought of taking up a freelance job. Besides, my friends were also doing it, so I told myself, ‘OK, why don’t I give it at ry?’Idid not know that I could do it,but I gave it a try anyway.
I’ve learnt to overcome my shyness and have also grown to be more extroverted. In addition, I have become more comfortable in front of the camera and now post videos of myself dancing and lip- syncing on Tiktok, where I have over 200,000 followers. To me, it’s most important to stay positive and be grateful for what you have.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Vee Chin
STYLING Debby Kwong
ART DIRECTION Adeline Eng
HAIR Ann Lin
MAKEUP Lolent Lee & Eunice Wong
This story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Her World.