Published on July 17th, 2011 | by Mercy Less0
Roller Derby Kuala Lumpur
We caught up with Hellvetica Hitster (formerly known as Miriam Massacre), government name: Miriam Omar, founder of Roller Derby Kuala Lumpur.
DL: How did you decide to start RDKL?
RDKL: I co-founded Chilli Padi Derby Grrrls (CPDG) Singapore in late 2010, while I was studying there. I graduated in June 2011 and had to come back to Malaysia. With great support and encouragement from friends in KL, (and depressed with the thought of a derby free life) I decided to start a league in KL!
DL: Did you have any connection to roller derby skaters or leagues before you started RDKL?
RDKL: Yes, when I was skating with CPDG, I’ve met a few derby skaters from Australia and the US, who used to visit Singapore now and then for work. They came to our trainings and we skated together. We also have a skater from Ballarat Roller Derby League who is living in Singapore now that comes and skates with CPDG too. CPDG also has close ties to the other Asian leagues, in Korea and Japan. The founder of CPDG, (my derby wife!) used to skate with The Townsvillains Sugardolls, in Brisbane. I’ve also had some contact with the London Roller Girls. I’ll be staying in London in August for 3 months so I have planned to skate with them while i’m there. I’ve also interacted with a lot of skaters all over the world online, answering interviews, exchanging info,getting advice and merely saying hi! Thank God for the internet!
DL: How is it going so far? Are you still recruiting? Just starting practices?
RDKL: We’ve just started our first practice and had our first meeting! Things will be a bit slow for the league for now, we’re still recruiting people for the committees, finding a proper venue, ordering skates…hopefully by January next year, everything will be settled, and we can fully concentrate on recruitment, marketing,training and looking for sponsors!
DL: What are your goals for the league?
RDKL: We want to spread derby fever all across Malaysia and hopefully Southeast Asia too! Establish the sport in this region, and encourage more girls to join such an awesome sport! Theres big potential out there in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. If derby could spread to this entire region, we could have a SoutheastAsia Cup. That would be beyond awesome.
DL: Who are your closest derby neighbors?
RDKL: Of course, CPDG Singapore! Starting the team in Singapore was crazy and rocky at first but slowly it started to grow and stabilize. Sometimes I cannot believe I had to leave just when the league took off. I co-founded the team in January, and left the team in June. Now I feel like im back in square one, but its all good.
DL: What can the wider global roller derby community do to help you grow?
RDKL: As for now, we dont have a proper coach, so we’re planning to do a Roller Derby bootcamp with CPDG and invite skaters and coaches from all around to help coach the two leagues. We also need help training referees! Roller Derby is a completely new sport in this region, we will need all the help we can get to get us started. Most of the girls have never even watched a bout in their life. We rely a lot of the internet for training, and we still need to order skates from across the world because there are no suppliers in Southeast Asia. Starting a league in this region is like starting an alien sport, everything must be done from scratch and we need all the help we can get.
DL: Who are your skaters? Are any former skaters, former athletes, are they students, foreigners, locals? What ages are your skaters mostly?
RDKL: Most of the skaters are aged 20 to 30, so most of them just graduated from college (like me) and just stepped into the workforce, or have been working for a few years. We have a few fashion editors, graphic designers, fashion designers, teachers, a radio announcer, journalists, engineering students…the list goes on. Its a good mix of everything.
DL: What are your biggest challenges in starting your league right now?
RDKL: The biggest challenge is looking for the right people to spearhead the subcommittees. Since the league is so new, not everyone is qualified to handle the tasks and delegating the work is very difficult. In addition to that, none of them have any experience. Some of them never even played a sport in their life, let alone managing a sport team! It’ll be a rocky few months, but im positive we’ll pull through!
DL: What has been the most fun for you in starting your new league, so far?
RDKL: I created the RDKL’s facebook fan page for fun. I just wanted to see how the response would be like in Malaysia. At that time, I was still living in Singapore and I was sad about leaving my league. One night I just randomly created the page, and posted the link to the page on my facebook wall. The news of the RDKL broke out like wildfire. That same day I received so many email inquiries about the league, I was overwhelmed! I think I replied about 30 emails the same hour I posted the link. From that day on, I knew RDKL would be a success and I started to feel excited about moving back to Malaysia.
Find Roller Derby Kuala Lampur on facebook.
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