This is gonna be the first blog post in years on this blog that’s going to sound like a proper journal entry. I know that was how I used to blog, very personally, years ago and I haven’t done that in a while but tonight I will. There will be no conclusion, no careful craftmanship of my article, just word vomit wtf.
So if you’re Malaysian, you’d probably have at least an inkling of the controversy that Vivy Yusof of Fashion Valet and Duck has been embroiled in recently. I’m not going to recap the details here but she basically gave her opinion on Malaysia’s economic stimulus package in the face of Covid-19, and it wasn’t received very well wtf.
I agree with what I believe she was trying to say though (although she maybe didn’t word it very well la). When the stimulus package was announced, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and peace that the government was aware that the B40 (the bottom 40% of the country in economic terms) urgently needed help and the package served to ease that burden in terms of cash handouts.
What a lot of people were unhappy with though – and I feel the same way – was that the package is doing very little to help the SMEs, who employ a large chunk of B40 and M40. SMEs are very threatened by the virus and the restricted movement, and if these small companies go down, what’s going to happen to their employees? They will no longer be employees. Mass unemployment will prevail, and all those people we’re trying to help today will go back to square one, with no jobs and no money. I commend the government for taking care of the B40’s present needs, but they could have done more to also take care B40’s future needs and economic sustainability.
I understood that as Vivy’s POV as well and I left a supportive comment on her Instagram post. Didn’t even expect to get replies on it but I did – all disagreeing with me, some calm and thoughtful, others just troll-like. One fella even said, “you’re rich too so you won’t understand the misfortunes of the B40” lol.
I stand by my point of view – that the government should have come up with a double pronged approach to help people now, and plan and prepare for the future, and they failed in that. As I scrolled through my replies, I was annoyed: why couldn’t they see that we are also looking out for them? But as I read more, I began to see that it was *I*who was ignorant.
I see what people are really so emotional about. People are stressed, worried about where their next meal is going to come from. About how long their savings can last in this climate. The possibility of losing jobs. Their kids going hungry. Their kids not having proper nutrition. Losing their homes. These are real problems that affect lives and futures. I don’t blame them for being emotional and sensitive in this time; I’d be too.
What are we in the Top 20 worried about? Of course I’m worried about Colony and our team. But personally, Fatty and I have enough cushion to make it through this without any big changes in our lifestyle. But beyond that what do we worry about? Losing muscle mass from not being able to exercise? Our children’s formal education taking a slow down? Being bored? Running out of Netflix to watch? Literally #firstworldproblems #top1percentproblems dude.
Contrary to what that commenter said, I didn’t grow up rich. Of course I didn’t grow up poor either. I would think we were strictly middle class. I went to a government school my whole life, although I did go to a private college for pre-university. My dad did okay but the economic crash of 1997 threw us off for at least a few years; my parents didn’t tell me much but I was aware they were worried about our financial situation. We never went hungry of course, but we didn’t have a lot of spare cash to splash around.
If I hadn’t applied for and received a huge financial aid package to go to university in the US, I don’t think I’d have an overseas education at all. Some of the aid was in grants, but the rest was in loans, and when I graduated, I had USD 100,000 (RM380,000 at that time) worth of student loans over my head. I eventually paid this off using blogging money.
I also held multiple jobs in college to earn money for textbooks and spending. I worked in the kitchen preparing lunch and doing clean up, as a Japanese tutor, even as a garbage collector hahahaha (it was good money ok).
I am aware of my privilege – while we weren’t wealthy, my background was such that my parents were wise enough to know that education was everything, secure enough to provide me the stability and support needed to focus on my studies (and grow up well enough wtf), and educated enough to explore school options and support me all the way to graduation (and beyond).
How many people are lucky enough to have what me and my brother had?
I confess that I will never fully understand what B40 go through because I’ve never been in that position. So then who am I to judge other people’s lives and decisions right.
Since the MCO started, I have been making small donations every week to food banks but I also heard that all food deliveries to charity have to go through RELA and the army for disbursement, for movement restriction purposes I suppose. I’m concerned that this is not fast enough and may not reach lesser known groups of the needy. This has been really bugging me and I feel like if I sit at home and do nothing I’ll go crazy wtf.
So if anyone knows any group of the needy that need help and we could contribute directly – senior citizen homes, refugee groups, even individual families… let me know? You can email me or DM me on Instagram even! Thank youuuu.