Merdeka in the year 2020 will probably go down in history, as Malaysians have come together in so many ways. Usually, we reminisce about Yasmin Ahmad’s Petronas advertisements. This year, despite the global pandemic, we have come to realise the importance of standing united no matter what.
Coming together during the MCO
Malaysians rediscovered that spirit of unity and togetherness during the MCO, which started on the 18th of March. People reached out on social media platforms about how hawker store sellers were struggling to conduct business as usual. Netizen, Gary Chong shared his experience in a Facebook post which went viral. He recounts visiting his regular local hawker stall, only to learn about the tough challenges faced by the hawker to earn an income during the MCO, including remaining open from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm daily. The hawker begged Gary to come back and even gave him extra meat to hopefully seal the deal. The post created social awareness among fellow Malaysians on the need to help each other out during uncertain times.
Another instance of people coming together happened when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits were running low. Medical staff needed it more than ever, and Social Enterprises banded together along with many other regular Malaysians, by sewing PPE suits. Others also ventured into making masks. The Biji-Biji Initiative started making face shields and anyone in possession of a 3D printer could join them in making and distributing the shields.
To deter people from going out during the MCO period, one young man took it upon himself to dress up as a vampire. Muhammad Urabil Alias shared a picture of himself dressed in a large white bedsheet and uploaded it to Facebook which went viral almost instantly. He even asked the police and RELA if there were job vacancies at road blocks .
English translation: “Dear RELA, Police, any available vacancies tonight, I’m bored sitting at home alone”
“When I uploaded the photos on Facebook, a lot of people panicked and became scared to leave their houses,” Urabil told Syok.my.
His initiative was lauded by the local police force in Terengganu. The local ‘ghost’ received a scare of his own when police officers unexpectedly dropped by for a visit and thanked him for his efforts. They also had another request; that he joined them for a photo-op.
Tackling food wastage
Other stories that came to light during the MCO were about Malaysians who were gathering food and basic necessities to distribute to those who were in the low-income group. An organisation by the name of ‘What a Waste’ (WaW) focused on reducing food wastage in general, had massive support during the MCO. According to Alvin Chen, founder of WaW, his team went into overdrive, given the high amount of food that risked going to waste. They weren’t just dealing with restaurants, but also wholesalers as well. However, WaW made it work and once again showing Malaysians coming together.
Supporting the local arts scene
One of the hardest hit industries affected by Covid-19 proved to be the music, arts and performances sector, one which thrives on crowds. In the U.S and the U.K, musical theatres were told to shut down. On the local front, many artists and musicians were forced to temporarily switch careers to make ends meet. But, as always with our “Malaysia Boleh” attitude, our local acts have come together for a great cause! Enter Live Support Asia – Malaysia’s FIRST live show since the MCO.
Over the following weeks, beginning 12th September until 3rd October, Malaysians can look forward to be entertained by some of Malaysia’s popular local talents. Kicking off the entire series of shows is Comedy Night set to tickle your funny bones with an amazing line-up of stand-up comedians including Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim, and Prakash Daniel, to name a few. Other highlights include KitaSapotKita, showcasing the best of Malaysian music with artists across various genres such as Ella, Reshmonu and Faizal Tahir, all in the name of reviving the live events scene in Malaysia!
This Merdeka, let’s care for each other the Malaysian way. Pledge to go local, support local artists and small businesses #MalaysiaPrihatin#kitajagakita