Around seven or eight years ago, I spoke at my first International Women’s Day event held at a shopping center called Suria KLCC back home.

It was a 15-minute slot where I was interviewed ‘live’ by this lady who was talking to women who were doing all sorts of different things for themselves in terms of their careers and businesses. I got in because I had the unique job of being an editor and writer of a video games column in a magazine.

Now writing I can do. Speaking, not so much. Here I was, literally still a child afloat a sea of women who were doctors, lawyers, owners of boutiques, savvy corporate-ladder climbing females, AND moms (I wasn’t married then), who spoke a language I didn’t understand.

These women talked recipes and education and breastfeeding and early literacy while debating the finer points of domestic abuse litigation, different parenting philosophies, a woman’s financial security in the 21st century. Just blah blah blah on and on about all the sensible, important issues that any woman today should be concerned about.

And then suddenly, there I was, being asked, “So you play video games for a living?”

Sure enough, only the men in the audience had any interest in what I had to say about the role of women in the video games industry. While I stuttered and sputtered on, mouthing puff like “promoting e-sportsmanship” and “driving multimedia creativity”, the lady who was clearly uninterested, looked like she thought I was out of my mind (or the person who booked me the slot was out of hers).

If not for Lokes, my sweet, supportive then-boyfriend, who’d stood proudly at the sidelines beaming up at me and urging me on, I would probably have just stood there, mortified by the judgment on the faces of the women around me going

Video Games….bad…you…stupid…stupid…useless…girl. 

When I was done making a damn fool of myself, I slinked down. As I walked up to Lokes, I mouthed the words, “Shoot me now.” And just as I was contemplating drowning my sorrows in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, this dude came over and in his hands was a copy of my magazine.

“Jennifer Tai?”

“Hi,” I said weakly, thinking perhaps that he was one of the magazine’s advertisers coming to pull out some of his ads because the pitiful performance he’d just witnessed.

“I love your column. I buy this magazine because it has the most pages on games. Keep up the good work!”

And with that, he pumped my hand up and down a few times, and gave Lokes a cursory nod before walking away.

Being the editor of a video games magazine may not save lives, nor did it make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Neither was it as noble as being a mother. But a woman who plays video games can be the coolest thing in the world. The only thing that can top that is being a woman who writes about video games.

And the only thing that can top THAT, is being a mom who plays video games and blogs occassionally about them.

With that, I wish all you ladies who are doing it for yourselves a fabulous International Women’s Day 2007 tomorrow.