98 Malaysiakini bricks left for the Wall
Two months before Nov 15, 2013 - when Malaysiakini kicked off its ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign - CEO Premesh Chandran saw in his mind’s eye a wall with names of 1,000 people on each brick.
This wall would symbolise the support for independent media in a country where the truth is often stifled.
Malaysiakini set an ambitious target of raising RM3 million for its new home (with the bricks contributing RM1 million). To date, it has raised RM1.47 million. While the first two bricks were bought by Malaysiakini founders Premesh and Steven Gan, we keyed in our 902th supporter this morning.
The end is in sight. With 98 more bricks to go, Malaysiakini would have its 1,000 supporters to build the appreciation wall of our dreams.
While the cash flow of the fund raising has slowed, the newsroom has been abuzz with the coverage of the MH370 tragedy.
Our journalists and editors are working on the stories surrounding the disaster around the clock with sometimes just three hours between their last email for the day and the next for the following day.
I am often in awe and admiration for my colleagues when I watch them trying hard to be objective in their dogged pursuit of the truth.
They are forced to leave their personal feelings out of this tragedy. They are forced to work on objectively despite feelings of injustice at not being taken seriously enough to have their most pressing questions answered. All personal opinions and points of views are shoved aside in an attempt to serve the public with the facts of what is.
It is indeed herculean task to put service of the greater whole above everything else, especially when the tragedy is an infliction on humanity, and not to sensationalise the tragedy and practice reverence.
While tiredness can bring about the temptation to be nasty to one another, in the office, there is a constant show of support. Especially when I was starting to worry that the fund-raising is slowing down, my colleagues made it a point to show support in gentle unassuming ways, which kept my personal fire burning.
I received emails, videos on bricks, funny pictures on bricks, or just a simple “Don’t worry, I myself could not believe we did this well...” from the bosses. It is enough to wake up again the next morning and give it my all.
Moving in September
Amid the chaos of MH370, individuals around the country saw it important to continue its support of Malaysiakini and its mission.
We received cheques, calls and visits almost every day. As we slowly climbed from 100 bricks to 900 bricks over the last four months and 10 days, some supporters quietly send us notes of support.
“Although you are yet to reach your target, this is already a tremendous success...,” one supporter wrote last week when he sent us his cheque.
Former minister and PKR leader, Chua Jui Meng, sent Malaysiakini a pretty little card which read: “You guys are now seeing the fruits of your steadfast commitment towards the cause of reforming our nation. You all persevered through adversity. God bless Malaysiakini .”
Malaysiakini is still waiting for the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) for the new building in Petaling Jaya which will serve as its new home. We expect this to be issued in the next few weeks.
After which, Malaysiakini will have to submit its renovations plans for approval by the local council. If everything goes according to plan, Malaysiakini hopes to move in, perhaps not in June as we had initially hoped, but at least by September.
A group of Malaysiakini enthusiasts came forward to help us with the move. Inter Grace Movers gave us a quote that we knew was an attempt to honour our pride which concealed deep admiration for our work.
They even offered to pack and move the bricks carefully for the wall to be built. It is always such a deep relief when people filled with grace step forward to offer their sincere help.
We once again would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all those who believe in Malaysiakini . We are truly excited about our new home and being able to share the experience with you makes it all the more worthwhile.
The flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today. The support we receive today, we hope, will ensure a better tomorrow - for us and for our nation.
For more information on the 'Buy a Brick Campaign', click here .
LYNN D’CRUZ is project manager of Malaysiakini .