Many are suffering in time of need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysians have again gathered in true Malaysian spirit to help fellow Malaysians fight through these difficult times. Learn what the Kempen Bendera Putih or White Flag Movement is all about and lend a helping hand too. #BenderaPutih #WhiteFlag #KitaJagaKita
After spending the whole of June in lockdown, it’s safe to say that most, if not all, Malaysians were left devastated when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that MCO (or what is now called Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) has been extended until the daily Covid-19 cases drop below 4,000. This news left many Malaysians feeling anxious about their financial situations as the extension of the lockdown means many might lose their jobs.
The Statistics of Labour Force in Malaysia for March 2021 showed that there are as many as 753,200 unemployed people in Malaysia. Compared to the year before (March 2020), there were 610,500 unemployed Malaysians. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer also reported that while 77 per cent of those surveyed said they were worried about being infected by the Covid-19 virus, 89 per cent were most afraid of losing their jobs.
The anxiety of trying to make ends meet coupled with the uncertainties that we’re facing in the current lockdown has made matters worst. According to health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, there was an average of four suicide cases every day for the first three months of 2021. The reported number was over half of the total number of suicides reported in 2020.
It is without a doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic and the neverending lockdowns had a tremendous impact on the mental health of every Malaysian. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, don’t suffer in silence. Seek help from these mental health practitioners.
Just recently, the co-founder of the Refuge for the Refugees took to Facebook to reveal the truth about helping the families in need amid the lockdown. Read her post here.
What is the White Flag (#WhiteFlag)/Kempen Bendera Putih (#BenderaPutih) movement?
In response to the plight of thousand of families, netizens of Malaysia have launched the White Flag/Bendera Putih social campaign, encouraging those who are struggling to make ends meet to raise a white flag in front of their house as a signal for help.
In a tweet written by @HafizolHakami, he urged people to “raise the white flag if you need help, there is no need to beg or feel ashamed.”
Kepada semua yang susah dan tiada makanan, naikkan bendera putih ?️ di kediaman anda.
Biar orang sekeliling pakat bantu sedikit sebanyak yang termampu.
Tolong jangan ambil tindakan yang meremukkan hati orang yang tersayang.
Tak perlu merayu, tak perlu malu. Kibar saja bendera pic.twitter.com/BGy7muxcMc
— Hafizol Hakami (@HafizolHakami) June 28, 2021
The tweet has garnered 18.7k retweets by users, with many voicing out support for the movement.
In a short period of time, the social movement became the talk of the town as many Malaysians, politicians and brands like 99 Speedmart, Vits showed their support to the movement.
How to contribute to the White Flag/Bendera Putih movement?
The movement is simple. If you spot a white flag in your neighbourhood, head over, knock on the door and ask if they need any help besides food and groceries. You can also purchase care packages that are sold online to your struggling neighbour.
Not sure what to buy? Fahmi Fadzil, Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, tweeted that besides rice, eggs and bread, you can also buy necessities like cooking oil, sugar and sardine cans.
— Fahmi Fadzil ??? (@fahmi_fadzil) June 28, 2021
The other way is to help spread awareness of this #BenderaPutih campaign so that more people can join in. This will also assure those who are suffering that they’re not alone in this fight. Recently, a group of students even developed an app that lets Malaysians track the locations of white flags and the nearby food banks. Promptly named Sambal SOS, the app allows people who are in need of help to send an SOS alert and spot the locations of food banks in the area. Aside from that, if you do spot a white flag in your neighbourhood, you can also report it via the app. Its GPS function also allows users who are willing to help spot the locations of the houses with white flags.
Aside from that, you can also do your part by donating to these NGOs:
- Kuching Food Aid – This community-driven outreach delivers food aid boxes to the rural communities in Sarawak. Donations can be made directly at participating local supermarkets and outlets in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu or via the following designated fund:
Persatuan Maju Ke Hadapan Kuching
Swift Code: MBBEMYKL
- Food Aid Foundation – This NGO collects unused or unwanted foods from organisations and distributes them to those in need. Lend and hand and donate via their website.
- PERTIWI – This soup kitchen distributes free meals to the homeless and hardcore poor in KL. You can make a donation on their website.
- Kechara Soup Kitchen Society – This NGO serves the marginalised communities in Malaysia by distributing free meals to them. You can get involved as a volunteer or make a donation here.
- Yayasan Food Bank – They redistribute surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers, hypermarkets and the hotel industry to the identified targeted B40 communities in higher learning institutions (IPT), charity homes, welfare centres and Program Perumahan Rakyat Termiskin (PPRT). Make your donation here.
- Refuge for the Refugees – To help the refugees in Malaysia, this NGO supports them by providing food, medical aids and education. Those keen to support can make your donation through this account:
Persatuan Kebajikan Perlindungan Kanak-Kanak Pelarian
Reference: Food aid
- The Lost Food Project – They rescue ‘lost foods’ (surplus food production) and distribute them to charity partners, B40 families, refugees and marginalised communities. You can sign up as a volunteer or make a monthly or one-off donation via the website.
If you’re struggling and in need of help, don’t be afraid to reach out by raising a white flag (or cloth) in front of your house. Help is on the way. #KitaJagaKita
Read more: PEMULIH Package Highlights June 2021