31 Good things that we can celebrate about Malaysia this Merdeka
Good news only
It's easy to lose hope and feel bitter about the instability and uncertainty in Malaysia. While 2021 turned out to be a horrific sequel to 2020, there were times when silver linings broke through the dark clouds.
Not that we shouldn't hold the powers that be accountable when the time comes (note: please register to vote); but there's a season for everything. As we inch closer to our 64th Independence Day, here's one where we look back on all the good that has happened in Malaysia in 2021.
Bonnie Bunyau Gustin gave Malaysia an early Merdeka gift by smashing the Paralympic Record in the men's -72kg para powerlifting event en route to winning gold. The prize was also personal—his father, Gustin Jenang was a former national powerlifter who had the same dream—and Bonnie has him to thank for achieving it.
Jong Yie Khie wins the nation's second Paralympic medal, a silver, in the men's -107kg category in para-powerlifting. Malaysia still has hope for more medals yet, with more para-athletes scheduled to compete this week.
Katun sells two of his NFT collections for over RM1.6 million in 24 hours—the most expensive batch of NFTs sold in one release by a Malaysian artist so far.
After losing a family member to Covid-19, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna has partnered with Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MCRS) to help launch Oxydrive, an awareness campaign to raise funds to provide oxymeters to vulnerable communities.
Three PDRM officers in Johor helped to fund the surgery of a stray dog that keeps them company at a roadblock. It survived a broken leg and serious injuries in its stomach thanks to the kindness of the police officers who rushed the dog to an animal clinic to save its life.
Fakhirah Khairuddin, an alumna of MARA Junior Science College (MRSM), earned the praise of netizens in early August for landing a role as a technical training robotics engineering instructor at Tesla.
Isaac Voo has made his debut as Malaysia's first-ever K-pop star in six-member boyband, IN2IT. The Sabahan picked up singing and dancing on his own, and is now based in South Korea to train and perform alongside his band mates.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik bagged Malaysia's first bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, beating Indonesian top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
A few days later, cyclist Dato' Azizulhasni Awang won silver in the men's keirin cycling final.
Medal or not, the rest of our national athletes have inspired us with their grit and determination to make Malaysians proud against all odds at a "Pandemic Olympic". Watch their post-Olympic interviews here to see why.
Malaysia records among the highest vaccination rates in the world, peaking at 531,114 doses administered on 18 August 2021. As of 23 August 2021, about 56.9 per cent of the adult population in Malaysia have been vaccinated, according to JKJAV.
A man in Penang went viral when he showed up for his vaccination at Universiti Sains Malaya wearing a plastic bag over his head. But he left the PPV centre touching many hearts, after he handed a stack of RM50 notes to the secretariat on duty, saying, "The frontliners have been working very hard. Please buy them lunch."
These two overlapping movements show how Malaysians have each other's backs in hard times, regardless of race, religion, or background. Read more on the #RakyatJagaRakyat initiatives to support here.
The Free Makan project by BAC provided over two million meals to 85,000 people across Malaysia, thanks to generous contributions from individuals, businesses, and organisations.
Frontliners broke out in dance and song after a two-week EMCO ended at the Sri Ayu flats in Bandar Baru Bangi in Selangor.
Singer-songwriter Daiyan Trisha volunteered at a PPV centre, sharing that "Malaysians are very nice" as many of her friends and followers have offered their time to lend a hand too.
An anonymous good Samaritan built a kampung-style house for a stray cat in Subang Jaya, complete with an address so that the public can "post" food to feed the adorable black and white feline.
In July, several Food Panda riders and a postman came to the aid of a pregnant woman whose four-wheel drive had a flat tyre. They spent over 30 minutes to replace it out of goodwill, without being asked to.
Malaysian BTS fans (aka ARMY) banded together to donate over 200 McDonald's BTS meals to medical frontliners and children at several local hospital and NGOs across Malaysia in May and June.
Perak-born 15-year-old Karthikgesan Santharasekaran won two gold medals at the virtual Global Olimpiad Green Innovation Fair for his biodegradable plant pots, made out of eco-friendly compost.
Francisca Luhong James represented Malaysia as the "first native" at the 69th Miss Universe Pageant, donning a ‘Kampungku' (translation: ‘My Village') costume by Carven Ong for the National Costume category.
Malaysian contemporary artist Red Hong Yi made her Time Magazine cover debut with a stunning artwork that saw the burning of 50,000 green-tipped matchsticks to "light" awareness on climate change.
Former world champion squash player Datuk Nicol David was crowned the World Games' Greatest Athlete of All Time after winning the contest with 318,943 votes in an online poll.
Legendary national football player Soh Chin Ann was named the most "capped player in international football" by the elite FIFA Century Club, with 195 international matches to his name over a 15-year career!
36 Indian classical dancers from Sri Rathakrishanan Music & Arts Centre danced their way into the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for the ‘Longest Non-stop Traditional Dance Relay" and ‘Most Number of All Women Participants in a 24-Hour Barathanatyam Relay' in May.
Sarawakian artist Alena Murang won two Silver Awards (Best Music Award and Best Concept) at the Global Music Awards 2021 for her song, Warrior Spirit!
Google Doodle honoured the late Malaysian epidemiologist Dr Wu Lien-Teh, who invented the precursor of today's N95 surgical mask, on his 142nd birthday on 10 March 2021.
Fashion designer Neng Kho Razali partners with Grab to convert 200 used GrabFood delivery bags into 400 items such as school bags, pencil cases, fanny packs, and more, which were donated to orphanages, schools, and Grab's driver-partners.
Johor's Desaru Coast entered Time Magazine's Greatest Places in the World 2021 list, highlighting the 17-kilometre stretch of pristine beach as one of the world's up-and-coming travel destinations.
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