Hey, September 2021 (20 Months of Living in COVID-19 Fear)

Hey September 2021.

Just like that, some 20 months where we are living in COVID-19 fear have come and gone, with no end in sight. These have got to be the strangest slash most absurd times ever in my entire life.

Well, this is yet another of my boring, personal, and non-travel-related post, written at a time when I’m feeling a little thoughtful after two whole weeks of writing and chasing deadlines, meetings, student appointments, as well as marking! Damn, I have missed travelling a whole lot!

Just when I thought COVID-19 restrictions and working from home would do my work-life balance some justice, unfortunately it hasn’t quite turned out as expected.

I haven’t really slowed down ever since coming back from Thailand, even resigning from INTI International College Penang as a head to serve UTAR for a second time. Sometimes I really want to take advantage of this pandemic period to slow down a little, but knowing me, you know that would remain my wishful thinking.

Maybe I’m an workaholic. Or maybe it’s in my blood, but stuff keeps coming and I’m constantly torn between the “okay let’s not take up more things” and “if it’s not now, when else” moments. Hahah! But nevertheless, I’m very thankful for being able to do things I’m truly passionate about and for having great teams to work with and a good support system.

COVID-19 and its restrictions, as well as working from home aren’t all that bad, actually. I think I have mentioned this in my previous entry, that I’m appreciative of and have benefited from such a situation. As much as I have missed the pre-COVID-19 daily routines and fun, it is also times like these that force us to be more productive as we can concentrate better.

The COVID-19 period has also given me more time to reflect upon my personal life and growth. Since last year, I have been thrown in a state of insecurity. Some three months ago, I made a rather important decision in my life but I won’t reveal it here just yet.

Let’s see how that decision unfolds and perhaps one day I can update everyone here. Cheers.

Chinese Philanthropic Response to COVID-19 in the Malaysian Context

A working paper I co-wrote with other amazing lecturers and presented at the International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy on April 9, 2021, has now been published in UCLA Asia Pacific Center’s Working Paper Series.


The novel human coronavirus disease COVID-19, first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and subsequently spread worldwide, has evolved into a global health and socioeconomic crisis so serious it has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As governments of the world are battling the pandemic and the rising number of COVID-19 cases, it is at this critical juncture that such a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale and impact has put charities and philanthropy under the spotlight. In Malaysia, the Chinese community has long been known for its philanthropic contributions. From the second half of the 19th century to Malaya’s independence in 1957, the country witnessed the active philanthropic roles played by a considerable number of key businessmen and influential leaders in the local Chinese community, such as Yap Ah Loy, Chan Sow Lin, Cheong Fatt Tze, Tan Kah Kee, Loh Boon Siew, Robert Kuok Hock Nien, and Lim Goh Tong. Post-independence Malaya (Malaysia in 1963) too saw the likes of Teh Hong Piow, Tiong Hiew King, Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling, and Vincent Tan Chee Yioun in the pursuance of various philanthropic endeavours. In the past years, several Chinese Malaysians from different business sectors have been listed by Forbes Magazine as the “Heroes of Philanthropy”; many of these figures own corporations and businesses that make financial contributions to charitable organisations as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Meanwhile, since the outbreak of the first cases of COVID-19 in the country, many local Chinese individuals, businesses, and organisations have remained committed to philanthropic efforts to fight the coronavirus and help those affected by it, regardless of ethnicity and religion in multiracial Malaysia. It is within the aforementioned context that this paper aims to explore Chinese philanthropy in Malaysia, by taking as a point of departure its response to the COVID-19 crisis. By using the content analysis technique, the researchers examined various news sources in the period between March and December 2020 for data on local philanthropic activities aimed at battling the coronavirus. The research outcome shows that although various philanthropic efforts rendered during the COVID-19 period cannot be directly comparable to those done in the past in terms of value, Chinese Malaysians’ passion for and commitment to philanthropy remain evident.

Link: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/30g7n9bh

Feature image credit: Zukiman Mohamad (CC0)

I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, mrdefinite.net also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.