We Love You Box to unbox love and gratitude from the Rakyat for the medical frontliners of Malaysia

Because “the human spirit is stronger than a virus”

People of Malaysia from all walks of life, NGOs, Corporate Malaysia, SMEs, solopreneurs as well as media networks unite through We Love You Box, a collaborative initiative, to send love in the form of care packages and message dedications appreciating medical frontliners.

Yuinny Soong had just left advertising to start her own agency, CNTRD Studio when she felt convicted by the plight of our medical frontliners just as our nation saw escalating record-high cases surpassing 20,000 cases a day. Very quickly, she started gathering like-minded people to join her on this cause and ran a survey and one-on-one talks with hospital directors to understand their needs. Soon enough, We Love You Box was formed as a repository for the public to send in their messages of love and contributions. 

Yuinny said of her objectives of creating We Love You Box: “I have had the honour to speak to medical officers; my heart reaches out to all of you at the frontlines. I hope that We Love You Box will motivate you, and help you find the light wherever you are. We are here for you; please know that you are not alone.”

We Love You Box aims to raise at least RM640,000 for 10 medical and quarantine centres around the country reaching out to more than 10,000 healthcare workers dealing with Covid-19 patients by this year-end. The first phase of the deployment will be made to Hospital Sungai Buloh, Hospital Kuala Lumpur and MAEPS in September. 

CEO of AMV+ and former CEO of The Star Media Group, Andreas Vogiatzakis aptly put the cause in perspective, “Our medical frontliners need us now more than ever to stand behind them. Whilst we fill their bellies, what about their mind and soul? After all, the human spirit is stronger than a virus.”

Andreas, who recently authored “Courage at the Crossroads” will be dedicating RM10 from each copy of his book purchase to We Love You Box. To contribute, visit amvplus.com and order your book via IHUB using coupon code WLYB.

Other personalities and thought leaders who have also joined the We Love You Box cause include Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Dr. Hartini Zainudin, Raymond Goh, Sazzy Falak, Jaclyn Victor, Elvira Arul, Altimet, Douglas Lim, Dr. Jason Leong, Azura Zainal, Brandon Ho, film and TV producer Lina Tan, Celebrity Photographer Kid Chan, and last but not least, Director of Hospital Sungai Buloh Dr. Kuldip Kaur. 

Hundreds of messages have been collected since the initiative started just a couple of weeks ago. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir hailed our medical frontliners as true heroes in her heartfelt note: “What can we say to our frontliners except thank you for your service, for your sacrifices, for your dedication. You’re our true heroes, women and men, and we are forever grateful. Sending lots of love, Marina.”

CEO of Signature Market, Edwin Wang thoughtfully wrote, “I am constantly in awe of our frontliners doing their part in keeping Malaysia safe. I would like to send a virtual hug and all my love and appreciation to everyone. I know it has not been easy but I am very grateful for your dedication in protecting our community so a big thank you to all of you.” 

Nathaniel Tan of Projek Bangsa Malaysia, the NGO behind the heart-wrenching video highlighting the cries of our medical frontliners that led to the formation of We Love You Box, has this to say, “You have served Malaysia more than anyone else, all these years, throughout Covid. You have sacrificed more than anyone else. We will never be able to give as much as you have, but we hope we can serve you in some small little way. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Messages that are collected will be curated and displayed on www.weloveyoubox.com as well as We Love You Box Telegram. Medical frontliners are invited to visit the website or join the Telegram channel to receive motivational doses of love and gratitude from around the nation – the man on the street, influencers, celebrities and industry captains alike. They can also tune in to any of their favourite Astro Radio’s 11 channels to listen to the message and song dedications made to them as part of Astro Radio KamiCare programme.

The We Love You Box collective comprises NGOs such as Sedunia, Projek Bangsa Malaysia, Kembara Kitchen, Caremongers Malaysia, Raleigh Kuala Lumpur, pitchIN, Reachout Malaysia, Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia and Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) in addition to the core We Love You Box team of 12 volunteers from the advertising and marketing field, among others.

Sponsors so far include Signature Market, SUNSTAR Foods and Bergamot. Anyone can sponsor a We Love You Box care package budgeted at RM64 per medical frontliner in which they will receive energy and immunity boosters, protective gears as well as personalised mementos.

Join the We Love You Box movement by taking part in their pledge via their Facebook or Instagram. Support our medical frontliners today by sending a message of gratitude and making a donation via www.weloveyoubox.com. 100% of all proceeds will be channeled towards funding the care packs for medical frontliners. For collaborations or corporate sponsorships, kindly email us at contact@weloveyoubox.com.

About We Love You Box

We Love You was created with the purpose of providing motivation and support to our medical frontliners. It is a collaborative initiative rallying the people of Malaysia and change makers to Corporate Malaysia to honour, encourage and give strength to them national heroes to push through these extremely difficult times. We Love you Box aims to raise a minimum of RM640,000, whereby 100% of all proceeds will be channeled towards funding and distributing the care packages to the medical frontliners by the end of 2021. The We Love You Box website, www.weloveyoubox.com serves as a repository for anyone to submit their message of gratitude and make a donation via its funding-raising partner, Sedunia (Epic Society). 


Be yourself tomorrow – just flinch and baulk

Embrace true meaning of Merdeka - Twentytwo13.my
Photo: Twentytwo13

Tomorrow is a public holiday. It is a day to mark the 64th year of independence. Period. The day is to get your car washed; buy groceries or go to the market; watch special programmes on TV. Nothing more.

The sloganeering, the rhetoric, the patriotism, unity and togetherness are secondary. This annual observation (read: holiday) is a front for pretenders, hypocrites and those apple-polishing politicians who believe what they say will end years of “my race is mightier than yours” and “my religion rules supreme over all others”.

It is not something new.

They talk about religious tolerance but not acceptance; they talk of a nation for all but not a nation of all. They talk about unity in one breath and scream ketuanan in another.

Bangsa Malaysia remains a pipedream and anyone promoting it should be asked: “What have you been smoking?”

The divide is so deep-rooted and even without the cajoling by self-serving politicians, it continues to go grow deeper, diving into an already a divided nation.

1Malaysia (1MDB will be easier to recall!) coined by the convicted felon has metamorphosised into Keluarga Malaysia with the interceding Abah and Makcik Kiah still in the pupa.

So, will raising the flag once a year immediately instil a new form of patriotism, just like instant noodles?

Malaysian PM Muhyiddin to give TV address amid calls to quit
Pic: Yahoo.com

Yes, radio and television stations – both public and private – are pounding the messages. Yes, many are listening or watching, perhaps because they are interspersed with their favourite Tamil or Korean serial or at halftime of live football matches or news bulletins. But are the messages absorbed? What do they signify?

Is raising the flag at the gate of your house or office is the only way to show patriotism? What purpose does it serve when the next moment you go into an expletive-laden racist attack on your neighbour because he has parked his car in front of your entrance?

Do all these messages mean anything to hundreds of cyber troopers on the payroll of politicians who stir hatred and contempt with their own provocative and divisive messages? Or do they mean anything to the paymasters themselves? For many of them, the end justifies the means.

A week ago, there was some hope. A new prime minister, we had hoped, would introduce fresh faces who will bring in fresh ideas. But last Friday, our hopes landed with a thud and melted in the air. A recycled cabinet devoid of any concepts or notions is what we got.

Have we scrapped the bottom of the barrel? Is this all the talent we have? Or has political expediency superseded all other considerations?

The rent-seekers and cronies will continue to flourish, expecting handouts from new sources because any cut to money means having to change lifestyles. No more RM600 cigars; no more designer T-shirts or even taking a new wife.

The theme (whatever that means) for tomorrow’s holiday is Malaysia Prihatin. We seem to be fixated by the word “prihatin”, which means concerned or cares. But does the government or anyone in government actually care?

Some are busy making videos promoting themselves instead of the cause. Kerepek and curry mee have got celebrity endorsements but is this what we expect of our leaders?

Some demean the learning of English and yet are comfortable falling on their feet by sending out their messages in well-designed posters but blinded by improper use of the language. Are these the people who are going to lead us?

A thousand deaths over three days last week are grim reminders of how the government handled the Covid-19 pandemic. Friday marked the 10th day out of the previous 14 where there were more than 20,000 new cases. Doesn’t this say something?

The warm water cure and the Spanish fly lecture may be behind us, but let these be a constant reminder of the quality of the leaders.

There is a glimmer of hope, though. The new health minister’s hands-on approach in testing and vaccination brought some tangible results. The stance that “the government knows best” has ended.

The consultation process with all stakeholders is expected to be the frontrunner in the fight to return the country to normalcy but lurking in the shadows will be hidden hands for contracts and supplies.

Walking through the quagmire as a principled and no-sense man is not going to be an easy task. The minister must be aware of the dangers within, some sharpening their knives (or keris) to thrust if they do not get their shares of the spoils.

We have had so many religious and cultural festivals which were public holidays. The only option was to stay at home, say your prayers and hope for the best.

Is there any reason to rejoice, celebrate or revel tomorrow? If we do, the leaders who fought for self-rule more than six decades ago will cringe, grovel and turn in their graves.

R NADESWARAN says speaking from the heart does not make him unpatriotic or un-nationalistic or a lesser Malaysian.

*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.

A much needed reset for the future

Pic: MalaysiaNow

FOR the last 12 years, I have travelled to London, mostly on Malaysian Airlines since it is a direct flight without the hassle of lost hours on transit and catching connecting flights.

Due to infrequent and few MH flights to London since the pandemic, I travelled on Singapore Airlines for my current trip, now that Changi Airport has allowed transit flights.

Dubai and Doha Airport stayed open throughout the pandemic while Changi just reopened some months back for transit passengers from Malaysia.

The airline industry has gone through the toughest period since its inception. Closed borders, changing rules on closed and open borders, safety issues of passengers and crew has reduced capacity by 80% to 90%. Cash burn velocity has been unbelievable with high capital investments with loans to service, major staffing costs and the maintenance of aircrafts.

Malaysian Airlines is lucky to have Khazanah continuing to pump in money for its sustenance. Meanwhile AirAsia is scrambling for private capital and government loans that has been supposedly forthcoming.

I am sure Tan Sri Tony Fernandes will eventually prevail, being the tenacious entrepreneur he is, once the Asean borders reopen. It will be a step by step reset for AirAsia and Tony as he spends his time in the last 15 months building his digital business.

I am not too optimistic on the future of AirAsia X as their main market, China, has closed its borders for inbound and outbound travel (due to their zero-tolerance on Covid-19) and there are no clear intentions of reopening their borders anytime soon.

The Chinese government has gone to the extent of refusing to renew expired passports since overseas travel is not allowed. In the last 15 months, world tourism has been short of 120 million big spending Chinese visitors to their countries.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, citizens were travelling for their summer holidays to European countries that do not impose quarantine measures and reciprocal non-quarantine requirements when returning as long as one is fully vaccinated. Countries like Greece and Spain, who depend on tourism dollars, have reset their Covid-19 policies to simply kick-start their tourism industry.

Domestic tourism in UK picked up tremendously with many hotels, lodges and Air BnB accommodations fully booked throughout August.

As I walked the popular shopping streets in London, many retail shops and restaurants remained shut with no new tenants forthcoming. Even though the economy is fully opened, inbound tourism is badly affected with the government set to stop the furlough scheme (paying 70-80% of citizens salaries) by end August, which can only mean that another round of retrenchments is highly possible come September.

Recovery will be slow and uncertain but at least the reset button has been activated. It will be like a country suffering from a deep recession for two years and now crawling out of the woods with outstanding public health concerns.

So what can Malaysia learn from these countries as we reset our economy?

Inbound and outbound tourism will recover very slowly depending on the opening of borders by highly vaccinated countries. Domestic tourism is the low hanging fruit that can be easily plucked for instant employment opportunities and reviving the severely-hit hotels and accommodation businesses. Local spending will have a multiplier effect on small businesses along the highways and byways. Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia can start building capacity with a clear roadmap ahead.

In a webinar two days ago, Khairy Jamaluddin, who was appointed Health Minister yesterday, argued that lives vs livelihoods need not be a zero sum game as we open our economy. Once our population is fully vaccinated, we must still practice safe SOP’s of wearing masks, sanitising our hands and keeping safe distance policies in enclosed spaces. I fully agree with him.

The whole nation is struggling from pandemic and lockdown fatigue and coupled with loss of income for the poor, it is best that we find a new pathway before unhappiness turns into civil disobedience, as we have seen happening in many countries.

I will go further by proposing to our new Prime Minister and his cabinet that they replace the micro-managing SOP’s with clear broad policies with regards to public health activities and economic activities.

Not only do the SOP’s confuse the business communities and the public, the haphazard enforcement has caused tremendous damage and uncertainty. Enforcement activities should come with advice and warnings, not an immediate fine. Instead of helping a drowning citizen, the enforcement officers, clearly lacking in empathy, are taking drastic actions. On a global basis, this pandemic has exposed many weaknesses in governments in managing public health, vaccinations and livelihoods issues. It is a fact that no current government in the world, except for China and Singapore, have managed these three issues effectively. Malaysia’s problem has been exacerbated by the political crisis since the start of the pandemic.

Perhaps with Malaysia turning 64 in three days time, it is time for a reset in our national policies and strategies going forward. It must be noted that our new Prime Minister, at 61-years-old, is the first PM born after our independence and represents the new generation of leaders post Tun Mahathir’s generation of old.

It is clear that the past and current political game plan of playing race and religion cards has polarised this country. The older generation of politicians are unaware of the changing landscapes and are still stuck in this vicious cycle of money politics, corruption and power play for self interest.

The time to reset is the next General Election (GE15). In the interests of the nation, may I humbly request that the older generation of leaders step aside and allow the current generation to take over. This nation needs fresh ideas and energetic young leaders who will work in a bipartisan manner for the good of the country. Provide the opportunities for the next generation of leaders to take over come the next elections.

There is an urgent need for this nation to be more inclusive in our multi-racial landscape, reboot meritocratic policies across the entire government and civil service, besides resetting our education towards academic excellence and skill sets needed for the future.

If you think my wish is far off, my friend Yew Meng predicts that when the new generation of leaders take over in 2028, they will manage this country with righteousness, ethics and morality.

That would indeed be a major reset from what we are going through now.

Happy Merdeka to Malaysia, our beloved country.

Tan Thiam Hock is an entrepreneur. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.