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The black dot movement is a movement which is popular in Western countries is about fighting domestic abuses. What it merely requires is for the victim of abuse to draw a black circle in the middle of their palm. The mark on their body acts as a subtle hint to get the voice of victims to be heard without having to speak a word, and it also helps bind abuse victims in silent solidarity.

Similarly, 2 of our youth political powerhouses have launched a red circle movement. Drawing upon the concept of the black dot movement, it is about unity in bravery, but against despotism and tyranny in Malaysia. The #RedCircle movement encourages a person to draw a red circle on the palm of one’s hand, snap a picture of it and share it on social media with the phrase “Unity in Bravery” alongside the hashtag #RedCircle.

A Post-Obama Development

A few months back, an article on one Alphaeus Tan went viral when US president Barack Obama came to visit Malaysia. His name will forever be synonymous with asking US president Barack Obama to speak to our Prime Minister about the importance of transparency and independence of operations in the political sector. Keeping the promise President Barack Obama made to Alphaeus Tan, the President raised the issues to our PM, which also made international headlines.


Speaking of Obama, Alphaeus Tan relayed to Vulcan Post that after the President’s visit, the investigations into political scandals such as 1MDB gained much ground. He hopes to embolden more people to stand up for justice and the truth, and now it seems that he’s still consistently fighting for that same cause through a new channel that’s social media driven—the #RedCircle Movement.

Alphaeus Tan (Instagram account @Alphaeus) is one half of the team behind the #RedCircle Movement that he calls “the movement of movements”. He said that the reason for the cause is due to the fact that he, by himself cannot protect the people who are helping to resolve any alleged corruption issues, but with the movement, together, we can empower the millions of people (Malaysia and elsewhere) who probably can.

Image Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday
Image Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday

The other half of the #RedCircle Movement duo is yet another Malaysian youth activist who is a powerhouse in his own right and has had his fair share of experience in the activism scene, top Malaysian debater Syed Saddiq (Instagram account @SyedSaddiq). He is well known for actively championing democratic ideals to his audiences and advocates for necessary reforms to the existing political system.

Why The Need For A Movement?

When there is a problem, go-getters do not stand idly by and watch the events unfold with both arms folded. As such, Alphaeus Tan and Syed Saddiq decided to combine forces to put their influence to good use.

Prior to this, Alphaeus Tan had written personal emails to Amnesty International on suggested actions, such as letters of support, media coverage on Malaysia, and protests that the international community could take; however he felt that there was also a need for a combined Malaysian movement to call for the uprise of righteous leaders everywhere. Such previous brave leaders would include people like the likes of Adam Adli.

Image Credit: Anthony Kuhn/NPR
Image Credit: Anthony Kuhn/NPR

Syed Saddiq too echoed the same in the importance of a collective effort with the growing sense of hopelessness in Malaysia’s current political state. The movement is aimed to pique international interests and embolden more people to go against despotism and injustice; therefore the theme of the #RedCircle movement is appropriately called “Unity In Bravery”.

Bravery In The Face Of Hopelessness

As most symbols go, there is of course a meaning behind the red circle that’s used in this new movement. Alphaeus Tan explained, “The red is to call upon the bravery as ingrained in our proud country’s flag and the circle is for unity.”

It takes a measure of bravery to empower others to stand for something. For Syed Saddiq, he believes that bravery is doing the unexpected for a greater good, and that greater good should be defined in a way that is not selfish but selfless.

Syed Saddiq said, “I personally believe that my bravery is driven by my moral belief that if I do not do something, that means I’m a complicit in the creation of the injustice. Merely sitting on the sidelines when something wrong is happening makes me a complicit to the problem. If I do not speak up now and problem occurs in the future, that means I have indirectly supported the creation of the problem by remaining silent.”

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On the other hand, Alphaeus Tan shared that bravery is understanding potential consequences in our actions. “A burden bore by one, is a burden too much; but a burden bore by many, is hardly any. If together we bear the country’s problems, we could save Malaysia.” And the first step towards being brave? “Self-preparatory action through acknowledgement of fears,” he told Vulcan Post.

It is unfortunate, however, that due to strings of disappointing events in the country, it is only natural for some Malaysians to give up any hope of changing the political scene for the better. Despite this, Alphaeus Tan remains optimistic. As Winston Churchill puts it, ‘Success is going from failure and failure without loss of enthusiasm’, so let’s not lose our enthusiasm to save Malaysia.”

Gathering Of Powerhouses


In the same vein, it is this act of unity and bravery that has won over the support of other leaders in Malaysia, one of which is former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“In a public forum, I had publicly unveiled the #RedCircle movement to the former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by revealing the #RedCircle T-shirt I was wearing underneath my shirt. He and the audience of the forum were shocked by my surprise actions, but Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has openly expressed his support for and has taken part in the #RedCircle movement,” Alphaeus Tan recounted.

These people soldier forward with the movement because as the debater himself puts it, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” “Change is never an immediate thing,” Syed Saddiq added.

“It takes a very long time and it takes a lot of effort and perseverance. But the point in which we give up before trying or after a few months of trying that means we are not worth the change we are trying to pursue,” he said.

How Can You Participate?

If you feel compelled to do your part to unite in bravery, the #RedCircle Movement encourages you to draw a red circle on the palm of your hand, snap a picture of it and upload it on your social media platforms with the key words “Unity In Bravery” and use the hashtag #RedCircle. For more updates, you can follow the movement’s Facebook page here.

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)