In the blink of an eye, it seems the days of 2016 went by in a breeze, and we’re about to welcome the new year,
This past year has definitely seen various headlines gracing our media, from heartwarming adventures for good social causes to great achievements our national heroes managed to win. It’s definitely been an eventful year for our country and here’s to hoping it will continue in 2017.
But before that, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane and take a look at some particular stories that struck a chord among Malaysians that are sure to inspire us for many years to come with their touching tales.
1) Olympic Heroes
One of the biggest occasions that most Malaysians will remember for 2016 is definitely the Olympics.
No countrymen of ours could ever forget the impressive performance shown by our national heroes as they persevered through various hurdles at this year’s Rio Olympic. Our nation was united in cheering on our athletes as they did us proud on an international stage.
In fact, our athletes showed such a tremendous and proud fight as they managed to achieve Malaysia’s best Olympic record to date with a total of 5 medals which doubled our previous achievements.
2) Paralympic Heroes
Besides our Olympic heroes gracing us with their achievements, another set of Malaysian athletes did our country proud by winning a total of 4 medals at the Rio Paralympics this year.
Coming from humble backgrounds such as being kuey teow sellers and training for years with their disabilities, these heroes touched the hearts of our country through their valiant efforts and their hard work was truly rewarded when they managed to bring back 3 Gold and 1 Bronze medals.
3) Jamalulail Ismail & Sofinee Harun
What started from seeing photos of a Syrian toddler by the name of Alan Kurdi on the front pages of British newspapers back in September 2015 has now grown into an initiative that has left people in awe at their dedication.
This Malaysian couple wanted to help out the refugees in Calais, France. Together with his family, Jamalulail started out in a simple caravan. They began with helping to feed 100 refugees back in 2015. This grew into a shed and is now a compound with volunteers helping to run their kitchen.
“At the time, my wife said that we should go and see what we could do to help and the one in Calais is the closest refugee centre to our home in Durham in Britain,” said Jamalulail.
And after witnessing the shocking scene of the village with thousands of poor people scrambling to survive, the family began growing Kitchen in Calais. This aims to feed all of the refugees staying in the vicinity as much as they can.
4) Mohd Zaki Yamani
With a main mission on creating awareness, Mohd Zaki did not let his lymphatic cancer get him down.
The 27-year-old shared his journey of hitch-hiking across Peninsular Malaysia all in the name of raising awareness about cancer and spreading the important message about illness not meaning the end of life.
With only RM13 in his wallet, he set off from his hometown in Pahang on foot and started on his journey to complete his mission by September 8.
“I planned to cover only the northern part of the country before finally deciding to visit all the 12 states. I carry RM13, MyKad and some clothes. The generosity of Malaysians has helped me keep my money as they bought me meals and gave me cash,” he said.
He documented his journey with photos on his profile called Zaki Bijak.
5) Dota 2 Championship
Team Fnatic set history this year when they came back from The International Dota 2 tournament held in the USA and bagged a total of US$1.4 million (RM5.6 million).
They definitely surprised the sold-out crowd that came to witness the matches as the team comprised of professional gamers aged between 20 and 25 defeated some of the best teams from Europe and Asia.
Although they performed poorly in the first few rounds, they didn’t lose hope and pushed through which resulted in them gaining entry into the semi-finals and were defeated by the North American team, Digital Chaos.
Despite the loss, Chai and his teammates still walked away with RM5.6 million which is by far the highest prize money ever won by a Southeast Asian Dota 2 team since its inception in 2011.
6) Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisna
Now here’s a girl you don’t wanna piss off.
Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisnan definitely made history this year by being the Malaysian exponent to top the World Karate Federation (WKF) Karate 1 Premier League Series overall ranking for women’s kumite below 55kg category. The 25-year-old finished the 2016 season with 2,115 points thanks to four successive podium finishes from the seven legs she competed in.
“We are proud to see Syakilla become the world’s No. 1 ranked exponent in her category. She is also the first South-East Asian exponent to do so,” said Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary, Vincent Chen.
7) UTM Students At Robocon 2016
Yet more history was made when students from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) managed to beat China’s Northeastern University at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union’s (ABU) Robocon 2016 and won the Grand Prix award at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this year.
This marked their first time winning the title after 15 attempts.
What the competition required from each team is to develop two robots. From there, using one of the robots, team members are then required to guide the other robot using magnetic force, wind or any other kind of force while navigating slopes and curves of the set route.
After that, the robot has to climb a pole placed at the end of the route, and plant a propeller on top of it within the shortest time. The UTM team successfully placed the propeller while China’s Northeastern University failed in their attempt.
8) Ain Farhana
Her Facebook post via Humans of KL was shared by many and with good reason as young technical assistant, Ain Farhana Abdul Aziz, showed a great example by sharing her inspiring career story.
Before landing her current job at Rapid KL, the plucky 23-year-old held down a cleaning job after graduating from Universiti Teknologi Mara in April last year with a geomatics diploma. Ain Farhana said relatives and friends gave her a lot of flak about her career choice, especially when she was eventually offered a job at a company in Damansara.
She gave up the job just after a month because she felt she had very little opportunity to learn new things. This was despite being offered a car and an attractive salary package. After quitting, Ain Farhana continued as a cleaner at the Rapid Sdn Bhd depot in Subang with her mother, who is also a cleaner.
“There is good in everything that happened as after a few months of working as a cleaner, I was offered the technical assistant job here,” she said.
9) Kuan Chee Heng
Dubbed the ‘Hero Malaya’, this Malaysian definitely set a good example as for the past four months. He has been visiting two community housing projects for the poor here with household items, which he “sells” for a mere 10 sen each.
Kuan Chee Heng brightened up the days of the underprivileged at the People’s Housing Programme (PPR) in Bukit Jalil with a second-hand washing machine last year after their old machine broke down. It meant the school-going children of housewife Nor Ana Mohd Zain, 40, could wear clean uniforms to school, besides relieving her from the tiresome chore of handwashing a mountain of dirty clothes.
In his latest act of kindness, the 53-year-old former policeman brought five pieces of furniture to his “Pasar 10 sen” yesterday for a family who had lost everything in a fire in their flat on June 16.
10) Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman
A Malaysian doctor by the name of Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman was one of the youngest ones to make a huge achievement this year as as he joined the ranks of 17 United Nation Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals 2016 yesterday. The announcement was made on Sept 19 at the Social Good Summit in New York.
The 29-year-old was selected from among 18,000 nominations from 186 countries based on the work of his initiative. His injury that he sustained during his final year of studies led him to start a non-government organisation by the name of HBB which stands for Hospital Beyond Boundaries.
Lutfi hopes to use Hospital Beyond Boundaries as a platform to provide healthcare facilities serving underprivileged communities. Currently a group of 13 young professionals from diverse fields make up the core team of volunteers for HBB in the country and six in Cambodia.
11) Harith Iskandar
Everyone in Malaysia probably knows about local comedian Harith Iskander but now the whole world will be able to know his name too after he beat four other finalists to emerge the winner of the Funniest Person in the World competition this month.
The award was given by Laugh Factory who congratulated Harith on their official twitter.
Laugh Factory, who is the organiser of the competition, is a chain of comedy clubs in the US which has seen a number of big names pass through its doors, including Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle as well as Jay Leno.
12) Halijah Idris
68-year-old Halijah Idris brings her love for animals to a whole new level.
Halijah, or Mak Intan as she is fondly known, has been taking care of stray dogs and cats with her late husband Muhammad Azmi Ismail (better known as Pak Mie) for close to 30 years. The couple has been recognised for their undying love and affection for over 1000 stray cats and dogs as they tend to them.
Even after the death of her husband, Mak Intan continues to care for their 700 dogs, 200 cats, four monkeys and two foxes at their Tanjung Bendahara shelter.
13) Madhu Sudhan
Dr S Madhusudhan, or known as ‘Teddy Bear’ has been known to be the doctor to the homeless who is bringing healthcare to the streets together with his team of dedicated volunteers. Every Wednesday, Dr. Madhu will give free medical services for the homeless and the urban poor at the Teddy Mobile Clinic.
The unusual yet remarkably astute ‘Teddy Bear’ nickname stuck after he gave out teddy bears to street children he chanced upon on his street doctor rounds.
14) Kugan Tangiisuran
Hailing from Perai in Penang, Kugan aspired to become a pilot since he was eight.
However, it wasn’t an easy journey as the courses to study to become a pilot were too expensive for his middle-class family. He ended up going into hospitality management and worked in a few hotels in Penang for a few years before he was given the opportunity to work in AirAsia.
Although he was initially placed as a despatch boy, Kugan did not give up and ever since he joined AirAsia in 2006, his dream did not die down. In 2013, Kugan successfully passed all the required exams and was accepted into Asia Pacific Flight Training (APFT). He completed his training at APFT to become a co-pilot in June last year.
15) Chef Leah Choy
After managing to realise her second wish of meeting her idol, the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Chef Leah now focuses all her time and energy into helping her sister through her talent of baking.
Adele was diagnosed with microcephalyhy, and Leah came the idea of using her baking skills to raise money and funds for her sister’s medical expenses.
In October this year, she’s reportedly reached a grand total of 13,500 cupcakes baked to raise funds for her sister. Adele has been making progress thanks to her treatment, and this is one beautiful story of sibling love.
This article was inspired by an album posted on Facebook by Richard Ker who compiled a comprehensive list of inspirational Malaysians. You can check out the album here.
Feature Image compiled from Chef Leah with a big heart Facebook, themalaymailonline.com, and Zaki Bijak Facebook.