Five Women in Film Who Saved the Day When Men Couldn't

  When I’m not working diligently for BK Publishers, I blog for a couple of film-related websites.  I’ve been given an opportunity to meld these separate worlds in a brief article for this month’s newsletter.  Since the theme of this issue is Women, I’ve decided to give a few examples of powerful, heroic women in Cinema.  These are characters that stood up and saved the day when their male counterparts fell short.  Enjoy!

1. Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) from the Alien Franchise

Ellen Ripley was the only crewmember of the Nostromo to survive an alien infiltration in 1979.  In 1986’s sequel Aliens, she nearly single-handedly saves the day when a squadron of Colonia Marines is decimated by an infestation of the creatures.  In 1992, Ripley saved a colony of prisoners on a desolate penal planet and successfully prevented the nefarious Weiland Corporation from using the alien as a biological weapon. 

2. Sarah Conner (played by Linda Hamilton) from the Terminator Franchise

While she might have seemed a bit weepy when she was first introduced in 1984, Sarah Conner nonetheless survived a mechanized Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ruthless attack.  In the sequel, 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah does nothing less than save the entire world from potential nuclear annihilation.  

3. Buffy Summers (played by Kristy Swanson and Sarah Michelle Gellar) from the film and TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer

First in a 1992 movie and then in a television series that ran from 1997 until 2003, Buffy Summers juggles school and dating with exterminating all manner of otherworldly beasties in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Gifted with strength and intelligence, she upends the stereotype of the dumb-blonde to save the world on numerous occasions.

4. Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell) from the Scream Franchise

In 1996, Sidney Prescott completely shattered the “final girl” concept common to horror movies that sees female survivors as either victims or bimbos.  Sidney manages to summon strength and poise beyond her years as she dodges the knife-wielding Ghostface in Scream and three subsequent sequels. 

5. Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) from the Resident Evil Franchise

When the evil Umbrella Corporation doomed the planet by releasing a zombie-virus, they never considered that Alice would be their undoing.  Throughout Resident Evil and its four sequels (a 5th sequel, Part 6 in the franchise, is currently in development), Alice dispatches legions of undead and genetically modified creatures as she leads a rag-tag band of survivors on a quest for a fabled safe-zone.


BK in SIngapore

The Inaugural Writing for Change Workshop on 25th November, 2014 in Singapore

A Berrett-Koehler Event in Association with The Sequoia Group

The Purpose
The Writing for Change initiative is a strategic initiative that emerged from the BK Global Task Force chaired by Johanna Vondeling, comprising a core team of BK staff, authors and local partners.  The purpose of the WfC is to help nurture and build a vibrant, local community and network of authors, emerging writers, activists, and practitioners dedicated to helping to “Create a World that works for All” (BK’s Mission).   Our collective aim is to increase conversations about creating positive change through writing, and to support the development, publication, and marketing of transformational books and other thought-inspiring content.


The Call

The call to help nurture the start-up of a Writing for Change (WfC)

Singapore community came through a chance meeting in January 2014 between Michael Prince, a BK Global Task Force member and Jacqueline Wong, Founder of Sequoia Group.  Following the format of the very first WfC held in Perth, the inaugural Writing for Change workshop in Singapore hosted by Sequoia Group was launched on 25 Nov 2014.

The People 

Twenty-five curious minds, current and aspiring writers, spanning

self-employed entrepreneurs, social activists, civil servants, teachers to senior doctors and corporate directors, executive coaches and consultants, received Sequoia Group’s invitation. They responded to the call to join this inaugural dialogue held in the pristine Ceylon room of the AXA Asia Pacific Campus at No. 3 Ladyhill Road.  Conserved from the colonial days, the room had a beautiful mix of the modern and the old and the walls were lined with paintings created by corporate leaders and participants of the AXA Campus programmes. 

The panelists comprise visiting BK author Dr Marcia Reynolds, who just completed her latest book, The Discomfort Zone, and  Singaporean writer and award-winning poet, Alvin Pang.  The event was co-hosted by Jacqueline Wong, Managing Director and Founder of Sequoia Group, and Michael Prince, member of the BK Global Task Force. 

The Writers’ Inner Journey

The seeding questions started with a walk down memory lane for
the authors to share their own personal stories about what and how they came to their own journey as writers.  

The audience enjoyed the landscape of personal motivations that had inspired the writers to make visible their thoughts through their works, as well as personal stories of life experiences shaped and impacted their world views.  Coming from different parts of the world, the cultural nuances stood out brightly through the two voices, one North American and one Asian, but both shared an underlying passion for creativity, expression and impact, and a deep desire contribute towards the advancement of the human spirit.

The authors shed light on an interesting fact that underscored what fuels their passion for writing – it is not just about how they hoped their writing would change the world, but how their writing has actually changed them.

What inspired all of us the most were perhaps the earnest, fiery and curious questions from the audience sharing their own deeper perceptions and fears about both ‘writing' and ‘change'.   For some, it was the very first time they are stepping into the realization that this is something they would actually pursue, regardless of what they do in their day jobs.  They all had something they cared deeply about, and were longing for a way to share these ideas and passions with other like-minded people.   

The Invitation into Possibilities

The Facilitators opened up the space to invite hosts from the
audience to step up with themes and questions that they are passionate or curious about and the rest of the audience to step up as ‘bumble-bees’ and ‘butterflies’ to travel to the emerging topics that they might be keen to pursue in their writing.  The audience, at this point, changed visibly to a self-organising community either hosting the space for deeper questions that are emerging for them to themes of books they wish to write and publish.  

Some of the Open Space topics that emerged include

+ Capturing stories and insights from the journey of healthcare transformation in an acute care hospital
+ Writing stories for my grandchildren
+ Enabling people to redefine and expand their definition of success in all its forms
+ How do we go beyond our inner dialogue and articulate them in a way that is meaningful through writing?
+ Writing for social change – How can we bring about positive change in the community through the nurturing of writing?

The group closed with new ideas, to first steps and new connections for follow-up with people whom they wish to carry the dialogue further.

The first Writing for Change evoked dreams and possibilities for everyone and left us with a sense that “we are not alone” in our own desires for a space to express the ideas, thoughts and insights we care deeply about.

What’s Next for WfC Singapore

Singapore is unique gateway between the east and the west and offers a colourful blend of the eastern and western traditions. It is a space rich with inspiration for aspiring writers who wish to be part-take in the capturing, harvesting and contribution of perspectives to Asia’s rising and transformation. From Singapore, we hope to contribute towards the co-creating of a world that works for all, one that honours the diversity, expression and promotes deeper understanding across boundaries.  As a way to continue fanning this spark, Sequoia Group will form an interest group in 2015, inviting participants from the first WfC to continue the dialogue about what supporting tools, resources, platforms and infrastructures will they need most going forward, and how they would like to play a role in contributing towards this ground-up initiative.  Together with our local authors, publisher, partners and co-sponsors, we hope conduct regular creative Writing for Change workshops to bring together a wider circle of people who are interested in the same mission.   

Our Special Thanks

We wish to express our appreciation to all the participants who made this possible.  Our special thanks to Berrett-Koehler, Johanna Vondeling and the BK Global Task Force members for their sponsorship and support, the AXA Asia Campus for their generous venue sponsorship; to our two wonderful panelists for inspiring us their personal writing journeys, and to Michael Prince, who got us all started on this journey. 

Written by Natasha Dalmia and Jacqueline Wong
Photographs by Zafirah Mohamed