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.”

STYLING Debby Kwong
HAIR Ann Lin
MAKEUP Lolent Lee & Eunice Wong

This story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Her World.