Malaysians help spread #BenderaPutih campaign

We’ve been trying our best to make do and follow COVID-19 safety measures through the various Movement Control Orders in hopes of making it out of the pandemic sooner than later. But the measures have also left many helpless, with a growing number of people being unable to make ends meet.  

The government recently announced PEMULIH, a cash assistance package worth RM150 billion, to provide relief to the rakyat. But with calls for more aid growing, Malaysians have been helping spread awareness of “Bendera Putih” – or white flag – a campaign on social media so those in need can safely ask for aid from their community, and fellow Malaysians can help out. 

Signal for help to aid each other in times of need

The extension of Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan has brought about many uncertainties, as people are unsure of when they can get back to their livelihoods due to the closure of most businesses. So in hopes of reaching out to anyone struggling at this time, Malaysians have taken it upon themselves to spread awareness about Bendera Putih campaign on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

On Twitter, the hashtag #BenderaPutih has since amassed over 25,000 tweets at the time of writing. A photo of a white flag raised from a house gate has also gone viral, which presumably led to the campaign’s spread. However, where the photo was taken is not known.

Bendera Putih trends in Malaysia 2
Image credit: Twitter

While raising white flags are typically associated with surrendering, the campaign hopes to help raise awareness that there is no shame in asking for help to get food or necessities as we’re all battling a pandemic that has been taking a toll on many individuals’ lives in different ways.

The hard-to-miss symbol also allows Malaysians to help keep a lookout for each other and their community, and extend a helping hand if they want to. This ensures that those who are feeling helpless or in need of provisions are able to get the aid they need instead of having to struggle alone.

On 25th June 2021, Befrienders, an NGO that provides mental health services, said that they received over 6,858 calls from struggling Malaysians from March to May in 2020, as reported by Free Malaysia Today. In 2021, they saw a 50% increase in calls during the same period of 3 months, with over 10,412 calls received.

Malaysians help spare awareness about Bendera Putih

To further the campaign’s mission, netizens have been helping to spread photos of white flags. This includes Twitter user @HafizolHakami, whose tweet about the campaign garnered over 16K retweets at the time of writing.

The photo shared in the post calls for individuals to fly a white flag if they’re in need of provisions or food, and not to take actions that may hurt themselves or their loved ones. The white flag will alert someone who is able and wants to help.

Bendera Putih trends in Malaysia - campaign
Image credit: Twitter 

Along with netizens who are helping to spread awareness about the campaign, many others have come out to express support for this initiative. This includes this Twitter user, who tweeted, “#BenderaPutih. [It] doesn’t mean you are accepting defeat or failing miserably. You’re just ‘calling for back up’. We are here for you. Stay strong.”

Bendera Putih trends in Malaysia 2
Image credit: Twitter

Many also praised the movement, such as this netizen who tweeted, “[I] don’t know about you guys, but I find [that] this #BenderaPutih helps. We [are] all struggling financially amid the pandemic. Some of them [are suffering even] more. Be aware of your surroundings, be a helping hand. We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. Let’s help the white flags.”

Bendera Putih trends in Malaysia 2
Image credit: Twitter 

Some were also amazed at how Malaysians were coming out to help each other, with this Twitter user tweeting, “Absolutely in awe at how the rakyat has come together to start this #BenderaPutih campaign to pull through for our brothers and sisters in need! Please, I beg, raise a white flag if you need help with food and other necessities! We’re all in this together #RakyatJagaRakyat”.


Bendera Putih trends in Malaysia 2
Image credit: Twitter 

Malaysians unite to spread awareness about Bendera Putih

Malaysians have all been waiting for the lockdown restrictions to be lifted so everyone can get back to their livelihoods. While we look forward to those days, we are encouraged to reach out to anyone in need right now, whether it’s ensuring that our neighbours are able to get by or by supporting small businesses at this time.

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Cover image adapted from: Twitter  and Twitter

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