In the past few days, a new hashtag has swept social media in Malaysia – the #BenderaPutih – a movement made to urge those who are in need of help and food to raise a white flag at their home to signal a call for assistance.
As the country continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with an indefinite extension of Phase One of Movement Control (until cases go down to under 4,000 daily as one of the conditions), many Malaysians are struggling to make ends meet and to put food on the table, which has resulted in emotional and physical distress and in some instances, even suicide (the government has reported at least 4 suicide cases a day during this pandemic).
That's when Twitter user @HafizolHakami took to social media with a post that says, "Please do not take actions that will break the hearts of your loved ones. No need to plead, no need to be embarrassed. Just fly the flag." This post has since garnered retweets of over 18,000 and thousands of reposts on various social media.
So if you do see a white flag raised outside of homes now in your neighbourhood when you head out for your daily errands, do try and provide any sort of assistance you can – be it groceries, daily necessities or funds. No amount is too small and any form of help will definitely be appreciated.
And if you can, do share the word on social media to raise awareness of this #BenderaPutih movement.
If you are lonely, distressed, or having negative thoughts, Befrienders offers free and confidential support 24 hours a day. Contact Befrienders KL at 03-76272929 or 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, or 05-547 7933/7955 in Ipoh or email email@example.com.