Images courtesy of Apa Kata.
Images courtesy of Apa Kata.

On Malaysia Day, Poskod.MY published a feature on the Women Who Made Malaysia. The feature highlights 12 women who influenced nation-building and civic life in the 1950’s – 1970’s. The reaction has been quite overwhelming, with thousands of readers sharing this article to pay tribute to these women of history.

However, in compiling the list, we couldn’t include everyone. There are many more women out there who made a difference. Perhaps their names were never commemorated, and their contribution is known only to a few. In that spirit, the project Apa Kata playfully salutes ordinary women from Malaysia’s past.


A projct by the Malaysia Design Archive and Sisters in Islam, Apa Kata has produced a series of images where historical moments such as Merdeka Day, 1957, are re-imagined with women at the helm. The images were made by collaging pictures of ordinary women (a teacher, a lady queuing up to buy National Bonds) onto the iconic photographs of Tunku Abdul Rahman.


According to the project leaders, Apa Kata takes its inspiration from a line by the Tunku himself, who said in 1987 that “a woman could lead the nation”. The resulting images aim to “make us think about the role of women in all our diversity in shaping the nation, not just those who actively participate in political processes.”


Both wistful and cheeky, the collages are a window into an alternate universe: one which tells us not only what could have been, but what could be now. First exhibited at a recent Arts For Grabs market, the images are now available to buy as a set of postcards – so you too can re-picture history.

Ling Low

Purchase a set of Apa Kata postcards for RM10 here.