Amidst the fog of a pandemic and all its novel challenges, I had the privilege of interning with Pinkcollar Employment Agency, the first ethical employment agency in Malaysia. Over the course of ten weeks, I researched Malaysian and Philippine employment and contract law and international best practices in the ethical employment industry. I synthesized this research into employment termination guides for domestic workers and employers which highlighted each party’s rights and obligations in the case of worker termination or resignation. I also collaborated with another intern to write a management guide for employers that highlighted ethical employment best practices in a friendly and accessible format. I wrote articles for Pinkcollar’s website addressing employers’ frequent concerns. I observed Pinkcollar’s virtual check-in with their workers during which they discussed mental health and building trust with employers during the coronavirus.
I also strove to learn as much about Malaysian culture as I could from afar, including watching movies, reading books, and trying traditional Malaysian recipes. This week, to celebrate the end of my internship, I gave myself a break from cooking and ordered takeout instead. I could only find one Malaysian restaurant within an hour drive of my house, Malaysian Kopitiam in Centreville, but it was well worth the drive. You can see in the picture below my fish mihoon and iced teh tarik and my father’s Malaysian style fried rice.
In summary, I am deeply grateful for my experience with Pinkcollar. Despite the unique circumstances, I learned so much in a relatively short period. This is largely due to the thoughtfulness of my supervisor, Elaine, who went out of her way to educate me on Malaysian culture and the challenges of growing a small agency. It also wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of Professor Warren and the generous support of program donors.
I so look forward to watching Pinkcollar thrive under the leadership and dedication of Zoya, Elaine, and Sophie. In a few years, when I see Pinkcollar setting the bar for industry standards across Malaysia, I will be happy, and unsurprised.