What started out as a project among a bunch of colleagues hoping to spread some post-general election positivity has turned into a full-out campaign, one that seems set to spread all over the country.
The Kita Kawan Mah project was started by a group of around 15 colleagues, mostly in their mid-20s to mid-30s, and the idea was simply to take to the streets with some quirky cardboard signs containing messages encouraging racial unity.
They held up the signs for about two hours near a mall and an LRT station. After they were done, they decided to upload some photos to a Facebook page, just to amplify the effect a little. In two days, the page received more than 10,000 “Likes”.
Now, the group is receiving requests from Malaysians living abroad to start Kita Kawan Mah chapters. People are asking them to produce videos and merchandise to help keep the positive vibes going. Many are following the group’s lead by sharing personal stories and photos about Malaysian unity.
“It was just a spur of the moment idea,” said a spokesperson for the group, who only wished to be known as Teoh. “We saw a lot of negativity on cyberspace, people saying things based on emotions.
“We wanted to remind people we are all still friends, neighbours, colleagues. That hasn’t changed. We are all still Malaysians, we still have friends of all races.”
According to Teoh, the response from the public has been mostly good. During those two hours on the streets, they had people shaking their hands, thanking them for their efforts. Some even bought them drinks.
“Many asked if we were politically-linked, but we just said no – we are rakyat, just like them,” said Teoh, who prefers to not make public what company the group is from.
Teoh said it has been a lot of work just being an admin for the Facebook page. They have to respond to messages and requests, and make sure no one posts anything that could incite anger or hatred.
The results so far, however, are keeping them going.
“The most encouraging thing is that most Malaysians feel the same. They want to affirm each other, they believe in the muhibbah spirit.”
On another note, the awesome folks over at Random Alphabets will be organising a mass picnic at Lake Gardens tomorrow morning starting at 9am. It’s called #SayaMahuPicnic, and just like Kita Kawan Mah, it’s all about spreading positivity, and bringing Malaysians that much closer together.
“I’m sure a lot of people might be thinking a picnic won’t change anything (in terms of politics),” said Zain HD, co-founder of Random Alphabets. “But change can be a long process that happens in multiple levels and multiple ways.
“Some people might not be so interested in politics – they need a channel as well. The people coming for the picnic are not policy-makers, but they still need a platform – and this event is just one of them.”