Heartwarming moments that united us in 2021

The new year has begun with many of us setting our hopes high for better days ahead. This comes with the pandemic and lockdowns persisting in our country in 2021.

While we continue to move forward in search of a future filled with more happiness and joy, we rounded up 11 heartwarming stories from 2021. They are a reminder of how Malaysians came together in what appears to be one of the hardest times in many of our lives.

1. Police chief & team extend a helping hand to struggling mum of three

Heartwarming stories - Police helping mother
Image credit: Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya

The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of Malaysians who had to live under various stages of the Movement Control Order in 2021. It even forced this mum of three to shoplift fever patches and food for her sick son.

Luckily, former Petaling Jaya District Police Chief Asst Comm Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal – now aide-de-camp to the Prime Minister – and his team were kind enough to understand her predicament. They helped her buy the same things she had tried to steal earlier. 

Nik Ezanee’s kind gesture was applauded by netizens and is one of the many examples of Malaysians looking out for each other during the pandemic.

2. Man sends deceased Chinese back home in Muslim hearse

Heartwarming stories - Muslim funeral van
Image credit: Kuan Chee Heng

Helping fellow Malaysians in need always comes first before race or religion. That’s what this compassionate man showed us by transporting a deceased Chinese man in a Muslim funeral van from Perak to Puchong.

The Malay man offered an affordable service to the affected family for just RM550, showcasing the true Malaysian spirit that touched tens of thousands of people online. 

His willingness to help out the struggling Chinese family despite religious differences truly brought Malaysians together.

3. Passengers on express bus stranded in flood, taken care of by villagers

Express bus stranded in flood
Image credit: @farysnordyn

2021 was a tough year for Malaysians as many had to endure the swirling effects of the pandemic coupled with tragedies such as flash floods in many places. 

But even then, we saw how kind Malaysians can be to each other. Such is the case when express bus passengers stranded in a Pahang flood were taken care of by local villagers.

Sharing food and helping to carry luggages were among the help offered by the village folks to the passengers who spent the night at a local mosque. It goes to show that when situations get tougher, Malaysians will continue to stand by each other’s side to move forward.

4. Woman feeding stray dogs during sundown catches the attention of police

Heartwarming stories - Woman feeding dogs
Image credit: Pinkkitty Tuminah Tukiman Nazirah

Caring for stray animals has been on the rise among Malaysians in the past year. We were blessed with multiple stories of kind souls feeding strays throughout the country, and encouraging others to do the same.

One heartwarming story we witnessed in 2021 was when this Malaysian woman was accompanied by a policeman while she was feeding stray dogs. The uniformed officer voluntarily gave protection to the woman although not particularly fond of dogs.

Both the woman’s compassion and the officer’s thoughtfulness were much loved by netizens, who praised both parties for their kind deeds.

5. Patients play cards with snacks as “chips” in MAEPS quarantine centre 

MAEPS quarantine centre
Video adapted from: 我们是马来西亚人 We are Malaysians

When Covid-19 hit our shores in 2020, we were saddened by the stories of families who lost their loved ones to the deadly disease. 

But the pandemic also gave rise to more lighthearted moments – case in point, this viral footage of patients playing card games using Maggie mee and 3-in-1 instant kopi packets as “gaming chips”.

These Covid-19 patients at MAEPS quarantine centre in Serdang exhibited great resilience by keeping themselves busy with card games and other activities during their stay.

This is one of many lighthearted stories that came out of the pandemic – with frontliners also seen dancing with patients to keep the mood light in quarantine centres. It showed the rest of the country how we can bring smiles to each other even in tough situations. 

6. Passers-by help a bus that got stuck on a narrow road

MRT feeder bus on road
Video adapted from: @haery_dean

Inconsiderate parking by road users often leads to sticky situations. Take for example, in March 2021, when an MRT feeder bus got stuck on a narrow road due to cars parked in undesignated spots.

Fortunately, a group of passers-by joined hands to move an irresponsibly parked car that prevented the bus from passing through.

They tried to move the car closer to the kerb, in order to make more space for the bus to squeeze through. The bus driver then managed to manoeuvre down the narrow road in the end.

7. M’sians rescue lost poodle on busy KL highway

Heartwarming stories - Rescuing lost dog
Video credit: Steven Chong

For animal lovers, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing lost pets reunite with their owners. A story with a happy ending involved this dog that got rescued by Malaysians on a KL highway. 

The 10-year-old poodle, Dafi, went missing in Cheras before the owner, Steven Chong, found a video of his pet being rescued by road users.

The Samaritans who were part of the epic rescue mission remind us that every life matters, as they risked their own lives to save an animal.

 8. Student eats lunch discreetly to respect Muslim friends during Ramadan

Heartwarming stories - Schoolboy eats lunch
Image credit: Syafiq Izwan Kassim

Seeing Malaysians respect each other’s religious differences, especially at a time when we were bombarded by controversial news, was truly uplifting. 

Setting an example for many was this Chinese primary school student, who ate his lunch discreetly out of respect for his Muslim friends during Ramadan.

The young boy showed the rest of the country that mutual respect and understanding is key to a harmonious life in our multiracial country. His social awareness and mindfulness of others tell us that there’s always hope for a better Malaysia with the younger generation.

9. Single mother sells nasi lemak to support 3-year-old son despite leg operation 

Heartwarming stories - Single mother food stall
Image credit: Poonam Pillay

Being a single parent is a difficult task, especially when one loses their life partner during the pandemic when times are already tough for most people. 

Showing unwavering love in difficult times is this single mother, who embodied courage and determination as she cared for her 3-year-old son despite undergoing a leg operation.

Glory, who had lost her husband in an accident, set up a nasi lemak stall in Johor Bahru in May 2021 to make ends meet and provide for her young child. 

Her dedication to operating a food stall so soon after a surgery shows the struggles of single parents throughout the country who are the sole breadwinners of their families.

10. M’sians rescuing cats from floods in Johor & Pahang

Heartwarming stories - Cat rescue during flood
Video credit: Shafiq Nazrin

The start of the decade wasn’t very good for Malaysia. The country was devastated by several massive flash floods nationwide in 2021 due to unexpected heavy downpours.

In the midst of all the tragic stories of flood victims, we’ve also seen how Malaysians banded together to ensure that no life gets left behind. 

These videos of cats being rescued from floods in Johor and Pahang back in January 2021 remind us of the need to value all forms of life equally and to never leave our furry friends behind during difficult times.

11. Woman asks for help choosing soya sauce for Chinese neighbour

Woman in a supermarket
Image credit: @CarolYong

2021 will be remembered by most Malaysians for the various MCOs that affected our lives. As people lost their jobs and only source of income, many resorted to raising a white flag from their homes as they were in dire need of help to survive.

Among the many stories of Malaysians helping each other from the Bendera Putih campaign is this thoughtful Malay woman who went a step further to find necessities for her Chinese neighbour. While purchasing goods for the Malaysian in need, she asked a fellow shopper for help selecting suitable soya sauce. 

Her willingness to go the extra mile to help her struggling neighbour is a perfect example of the true Malaysian spirit that we should continue to exude.

Heartwarming moments of 2021 in Malaysia

Despite the various challenges and heartbreaking incidents of the previous year, Malaysians nationwide have shown great resilience and tolerance in overcoming the hurdles they faced in 2021. 

We hope these heartwarming stories will continue to inspire everyone to look out for each other during tough times in the coming years, as our kindness and unity are capable of reviving hope for a better future.

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Cover image adapted from: Pinkkitty Tuminah Tukiman Nazirah and Kuan Chee Heng

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