Thanks for all the love… Happy Valentine's
Mr Cher called the office; a kind gentle voice asked us if he could meet us on Chinese New Year’s eve. We had no idea that his visit would bring us endless smiles as we welcomed the Year of the Horse.
We were waiting for him when a humble looking middle-aged man with a firm handshake revealed that he would like to give RM50,000 for the ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign, which will help fund a new home for Malaysiakini . We were stunned.
For the sake of independent media in Malaysia, Mr Cher did not just sign away his money, he gave his complete confidence in us to do our job, and told us to keep up the fight.
In the 14 days since the ‘Cher Foundation’ sponsorship, we have raised another RM124,177.
There are 200 out of 1,000 bricks remaining, yet what we are deeply grateful for is the “enduring love” pouring in from the public.
Thus far, we have sold one tile worth RM25,000 and six megatiles worth RM50,000 and one anonymous donor who gave RM50,000 without even wanting a brick to his name.
Mr Sim, another man who was introduced to us by pastor Sim, a Malaysiakini supporter, one day send us a cheque for RM20,000 for a brick. He told us, "I would really like to get to know you guys better - may I pay a visit to your office?"
You’re most welcome, Mr Sim.
And while we were anticipating some complaints, especially since there has been a delay in giving out the subscription and advertising vouchers in return for the sponsorships, most contributors have been extremely generous and understanding.
We receive letters all the time, reassuring us not to be too worried about the vouchers and to take our time. However, we will be sending out the vouchers as soon as the 1,000 bricks are sold.
Some have gone out of their way to forward the brochure ( PDF version ) on Malaysiakini new building - @Kini in Petaling Jaya, Section 51 - to their friends and family members.
While there has been incredible support all round, there are people whose generosity cannot be put into words.
One man made a contribution naming his brick ‘For Stray Cats and Dogs’. Another bought a brick and said it should be named ‘For Toni Kasim’, in remembrance of the late social activist.
A young man in Singapore got 15 friends and together they bought a brick for ‘Malaysians in Singapore’. Another individual named his brick simply ‘Malaysiakini’.
Others have their bricks with the following words embossed on them: ‘Beautiful Malaysians’, ‘Friends We Love’, ‘Tindak Malaysian’, ‘Berani Kerana Benar’, ‘Bumiborn’, ‘Save Malaysia’, ‘Demi Adil & Maruah’, and ‘Anak Malaysia’.
RM1.36mil so far
We discover two things from our ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign - Malaysia is not short of people who truly appreciate independent media and many of them are simply selflessly generous.
The Citizen Journalist Malaysia movement in Johor sent us a few cheques amounting to RM7,000 which took us by complete surprise. They are ordinary citizens who wrote community stories on a voluntary basis for Malaysiakini . When we launched this campaign, they took it upon themselves to make a collection.
No amount of gratitude in words or in kind can match the astonishing amounts of “love” we have felt over these last couple of months.
Two of my colleagues came to have a chat with me the other day, and both expressed that they could hardly believe that we have raised RM1.36 million in a relatively quiet and short campaign. We have not aggressively pushed the campaign in public or hosted large fund-raising events, but people have been showing up at our doorstep.
We, who thought we were just doing our task as journalists, realise that it is not just a job. It is a mission - to help Malaysians reclaim their right to be informed despite our media freedom slipping further down the scales.
As today is Valentine's Day, would like to thank Malaysiakinians everywhere for all the love you have shown us. We understand the importance of what it means to provide news and views that matter.
We had no idea we had such a huge following and strong support - but we do now. Because of your faith in us, we shall continue to fight the good fight.
For more information on the 'Buy a Brick Campaign', click here .
LYNN D’CRUZ is project manager of Malaysiakini .