“It Ain’t Easy Being Independent” – The OL Challenge 2018

Office Ladies get it rough. We interviewed the organisers of the OL Challenge - a race that celebrates women's achievements.


Words Champa Ha

International Women’s Day is a day where we should celebrate women’s achievements in all fields of work. Of course, it’s easy to dismiss the women in the office, especially office ladies. Media representation often categorises them as busybodies, more interested in gossip than any actual career advancement, and sometimes as comical side-characters rather than protagonists. The team in S-Lite Event Support disagree with that, and have created the OL Challenge in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018.

We sit down with one member of the team behind the OL (which stands for Office Ladies, if you haven’t already guessed) Challenge, and talk to her about the importance of creating an all-women event, and what lies ahead.

Q. Tell us more about yourself and the impetus to organise the OL Challenge.


Joyce: I am Joyce, one of the directors of S-Lite Event Support Pte Ltd, the organisers of OL Challenge.  All too often, we women find it easier to criticise each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, we believe that we can do something positive!

OL Challenge is an event with an aim to empower women to shape a healthier society. It is Singapore’s first women-only obstacle race. Women can do it for themselves!

Q. What inspired you to create this event?

Joyce: With an increasing trend of women participating in obstacle races, we felt that there is a need to create an obstacle race solely for women. We hope that it creates an environment with less pressure from men, and more women can participate. We hope to encourage more ladies to step out of their comfort zone and exceed expectations.

In addition, by collaborating with our beneficiary, Star Shelter, we aim to support ladies who are suffering from domestic violence.

Q. Why is this event targeting office ladies?

Joyce: The majority of women in the workforce in Singapore are office ladies, but we welcome all ladies, including stay-at-home moms, students and even grandmas!

This event is for all ladies who believe they can stand up for themselves and are physically fit.

Q. Can you tell us what values you wish to promote with the event?

Joyce: We hope to highlight the strength of a woman herself, which is not just restricted to performance in the office. Women are like heroes in the family. For example, a mother has to go through pregnancy, take care of a child’s day-to-day needs, handle the housework and most of them have fulltime jobs too.

Q. Feminism is obviously very important in an event like this. What are some misconceptions you wish to change what people believe about feminism?


Joyce: Most people often mistake feminism as hatred towards men. Feminism is not a movement that promotes women’s superiority. Feminism is really about equal opportunities for both women and men. It is about social equality of sexes.

Q. We’ve heard that the main beneficiary of the event is the Star Shelter, a place that offers refuge to women and children of domestic abuse. What makes this charity so special to you?

Joyce: It matches our goal of empowering women. We also hope to increase awareness of Star Shelter and in return, garner support to help the women and children under their care.

Star Shelter takes a holistic approach in helping all residents, providing them with basic needs such as safe accommodations, clothing and food; helping with their practical needs through case management and meeting their emotional needs with therapy.

Q. Can you tell us what obstacles will be available at the OL Challenge?

Joyce: We will be revealing the obstacles on our social media on Facebook at The OL Challenge and Instagram @OLChallengeSG periodically. We are targeting to have seven obstacles in total, spaced about 1km apart.

We can reveal two types of obstacles exclusively here:

  1. The Super Muscle – a balancing beam where participants will need to carry a sandbag and cross the beam. In this obstacle, we aim to create the situation of a lady carrying something heavy (e.g. their baby or several folders) in their stilettos.

2. Thank God I’m Flexible (TGIF) – A spider web look-alike where participants twist and turn to free themselves. In this obstacle, we hope to reuse the frequently used office term of Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF). By escaping out of the obstacle, it replicates the feeling of having survived past the week (strings = trials faced) and the weekend is here to enjoy!

Q. Tell us your favourite quote that motivates you and inspires you to work for better future.

Joyce: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn.

This quote reminds me of the importance of correcting my own perceptions.

Visit https://olchallenge.sg/ to get the latest updates on the event!


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