30 classic cars 'rentas' Peninsular Malaysia in three days to raise funds for survivors of gender-based violence


Private Classic Drivers stopping for a stretch at Bandar Jeli, Kelantan - four hours in, 32 hours to go - in the first edition of Rentas Peninsular. Photo: Practical Classic Drivers

Thirty cars driven by members of Practical Classic Drivers (PCD) will embark on a journey across Peninsular Malaysia to raise funds for Women's Aid Organisation. The three-day drive will flag off on Nov 16 and all funds will go towards ending violence against women, specifically towards WAO's shelters for women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse and gender-based violence.

Known as "Rentas Peninsular 2.0: We For She", the cross-peninsular initiative also underscores the importance of male allyship in addressing gender-based violence.

Dr Haridev is the founder of Practical Classic Drivers, a passionate group of vintage car enthusiasts with a rich history of organising classic car drives. Photo: Practical Classic DriversDr Haridev is the founder of Practical Classic Drivers, a passionate group of vintage car enthusiasts with a rich history of organising classic car drives. Photo: Practical Classic Drivers

"In general, motoring-related events are often related to masculinity. But here, we have an avenue to use the very platform that showcases the classic car scene to advocate for the welfare of women and children in need," says Dr Haridev Devadas, 37, a doctor from Ipoh.

Dr Haridev is the founder of PCD, a passionate group of vintage car enthusiasts with a rich history of organising classic car drives. They have participated in other charitable causes by completing some very challenging tasks such as completing 36-hour and 72-hour fundraising drives of up to 1,500 km.

"This is a small gesture, but we hope it will have a large impact in the community," says Dr Haridev who has been interested in cars since young, attending to the repairs of his father’s Mercedes 190E at the young age of 14. After being gifted his first car, a Volkswagen Beetle, at the age of 18 as a project where he taught himself to manage the repairs of the car, he has since then purchased and refurbished many vehicles.

Some of the participants in the first edition of Rentas Peninsular. Photo: Practical Classic DriversSome of the participants in the first edition of Rentas Peninsular. Photo: Practical Classic Drivers

For over four decades, WAO has been a vanguard in the fight against gender-based violence, working tirelessly to provide assistance, advocacy, and empowerment to women and girls affected by domestic abuse.

"The charity drive, which commences on Nov 16 from the Klang Valley, symbolises not only a physical journey but also a symbolic one. By encouraging the participation of male allies, the event highlights the critical role that men play in advocating for gender equality and ending violence against women," says WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan.

'When we work together, we can make sure no one has to suffer quietly,' says Sumitra. Photo: Filepic/The Star'When we work together, we can make sure no one has to suffer quietly,' says Sumitra. Photo: Filepic/The Star"We need to shift the needle towards public rejection of violence against women. To do this, we must have the tough conversations. This partnership and fun activities such as these help us to start talking openly about domestic violence and other difficult subjects," says Sumitra.

"By doing this, we can create hope, understanding, and a strong determination to make things better for women and girls. When we work together, we can make sure no one has to suffer quietly, and we can change lives," she says.

Artist Ilham Alshahab, 25, the only woman participating in the event says: "I believe that this is an opportunity to challenge gender stereotypes, that women like me can just be as passionate and knowledgeable about classic cars as men. I’m certain that there are many women out there who are just as interested and as passionate as I am, but maybe felt discouraged due to the lack of female representation in these groups, I’m hoping to change that.”

Ilham joins this year's Rentas Peninsular 2.0: We for She as the lone female driver. Photo: Practical Classic DriversIlham joins this year's Rentas Peninsular 2.0: We for She as the lone female driver. Photo: Practical Classic Drivers“By taking part in this event, my presence alone can spark conversations about gender diversity and inclusion, which could lead to discussions about the need to combat violence against women. I believe that this will be a great opportunity to build connections with the group and enlist more allies to the cause. There is always strength in numbers," says the interdisciplinary artist.

As a classic car enthusiast from young, she has always been fascinated by the "elegance, history, and artistry" of these vehicles.

Dr Lim Shin Tom, 33, a doctor from Petaling Jaya, reveals that he was "bitten by the car bug at a terribly, young and innocent age”, and that the event has two purposes for him.

"Firstly, as an event, the drive is to support WAO’s cause in protecting women and children who have gone through abuse. More importantly, it is to create more public awareness for WAO and its initiative in supporting survivors of gender-based violence.”

“Secondly, in the personal arena, it’s an adventure to test both man and machine, while forming new bonds between like-minded drivers. We aim to prove that while our cars are more than 25 years old, they can still take us through a journey covering 1,500km,” says Dr Lim whose earliest memories were of Singapore’s Ferrari club zooming past him at the age of six.

The drive helps create public awareness for WAO and its initiative in supporting survivors of gender-based violence, says Lim. Photo: Practical Classic DriversThe drive helps create public awareness for WAO and its initiative in supporting survivors of gender-based violence, says Lim. Photo: Practical Classic Drivers

Dr Lim says that he learnt that day how “the sound of twelve cylinders could make one’s hair stand on its end” and three years later, “(his) mum sat him on a pillow in the driver’s seat of an old BMW, while (his) sister introduced him to the third pedal of a Saga” just as he entered his teenage years. And to top it all off, (his) dad later “showed (him) on an empty tight and windy B road how a car is a living thing, capable of invoking an indescribable emotion, the kind that would later flourish into an obsession that would go on to define (him) apart from (his) significant other and two sons”.

The drive will traverse picturesque routes through Segamat, Pahang, Kuala Terengganu and finally ending at Kuala Perlis and there will be opportunities for participants to engage in meaningful conversations about the importance of male allyship.

But the event goes beyond the road trip itself, says WAO.

It aims to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among the participants, foster understanding about WAO’s mission, and deepen public awareness about the significance of male allyship in addressing gender-based violence.

Individuals and organisations are invited to sponsor and support Rentas Peninsular 2.0: We for She. By contributing, supporters can stand together with, or become, allies in championing women’s rights and safety.

More info: @womensaidorg (Instagram) and Women's Aid Organisation (Website)

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