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How Do We Support Local Talents?

Updated: Mar 20, 2020

by Chloe Lee. |

Malaysia is filled to the brim with talent – we have artisans hand-crafting gems for us, we have talented musicians going on international tours and we have athletes making us very very proud. The journey to obtaining international recognition is never easy, and it actually begins internally with us!

So how can we support our local industries better?

1. Shopping and Supporting Local

Are you tired of scrolling through internet shops with tons of typical-looking mass-produced items? There are actually a lot of local alternatives: from clothes, accessories, leathered goods, to vegan ice cream and even cologne! Nowadays, there are many markets where these local artists showcase their products such as Riuh and RexKL. We have a lot of hidden gems that deserve our attention, not only to support local, but because these brands offer superb quality, are more environmentally friendly than big retailers and offer unique designs that are true to our cultural heritages as Malaysians.

Here are some of my favourite local brands:

Clothing and Accessories

Fugeelah is a social enterprise that empowers refugees through their jewelry-making business.

Highborn is a local brand that believes in fashion with a purpose.

Another jewelry brand: Anting by Camilla.

Tyde sells fancy leather goods.

In fact, a lot of these brands stem from a heart filled with passion to bring a revolutionary change to their individual industries and many are social enterprises. If you would like a more meaningful way to spend your money, there are many local options to explore!

Arts and Entertainment

There are also many local artists to discover too, such as:

Merakki Band: I would like to introduce them as the indie-pop-hipster-young-boys playing good music.

If you are looking for more of a pop rock alternative, there is Glass.

A recent solo artist I discovered, who writes incredibly meaningful originals: Ariff Jazzmi.

These bands and musicians often perform in local gigs all around town and it is so convenient and easy to discover them now through social media. They also have albums or band merchandise you can buy. Whether you’re into classical music, post rock, emo jiwang music or chill acoustic vibes, there is a local artist out there for you.

In the literature realm, local author Hanna Alkaf was recognized for the Freeman Book Award – personally, I find The Weight of Our Sky to be a refreshing read that beautifully captures the unique diversity we have in Malaysia while also addressing important social issues we face today. The book is available in all major bookstores, so go grab yourself one and #supportlocal.


Lastly, we cannot deny the power of sports in uniting us as Malaysians, every time Lee Chong Wei, Pandalela, Nicole Davidson or Farah Ann comes on screen, we pause everything – even our fighting – to come together to support them. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming up, there are many athletes who are working hard and practicing so they can proudly represent us.

Here are some of our local unsung heroes:

Julian Yee is a figure skater, 2017 Southeast Asian Games Gold medallist (and this is just one of his awards). He is also especially popular for his good looks and charming choreographies (wink wink).

Source: Malay Mail

For some athletes, the journey is tougher than others. Joshua Koh is a Malaysian fencer who obtained the Silver Medal at the recent Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines; however, because fencing is not part of the National Sports Council (NSC) Podium Program, funding is limited. As such, he started a crowdfund in hopes of raising enough money for his training (which is apparently very expensive). If you would like to support his dreams, go over to the page and donate – no amount is too small!

Source: Stadium Astro

Monetary support is always the easiest, most direct way of supporting a business or individual. However, we might not always have the financial capacity to support all these businesses, musicians or athletes. So what else can we do?

2. Collaborate Locally

If you have any skills, or if you would like to practice your skills, you can always reach out to collaborate. Whether you enjoy taking videos or photos, modelling, writing or even designing, you can help out one way or another.

If you are organizing an event at your university and would like to invite these brands to open a booth, perform or partake in a forum – you can easily reach out to them! Or if you are looking for a corporate gift for your next big company event, think local! There are many opportunities to collaborate, all it takes is a little bit of creativity. For example, if you would like to run a fundraiser for our athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams or for a band to join an international competition, you can work with them to organize an event – washing cars, marathons, or even introducing them to sponsors. The sky's the limit!

3. Share Locally

So you may not have much money or any particular skills, the easiest thing you can do is share or talk about them. Spread the word! It can be as simple as following them on Instagram, liking their Facebook page, subscribing to their YouTube Channel or adding them to your Spotify playlist. If you truly enjoy their product, songs, services, or resonate with their beliefs or characters, talk about them – over lunch, over your Instagram stories or just telling your grandparents about them.

Not only that, you can also share encouraging messages to these brands, musicians, or athletes, drop them a kind DM and give good feedback on their products and boost their confidence by telling them how much you loved their songs or how proud you are of them for representing Malaysia with their skills. A little encouragement goes a long way, and some of these journeys can get pretty tough, so be kind to them!

Instead of popping into another retail store for a new garment, why not explore some local batik options? While you’re creating a new playlist for an event, why not add in these local bands? If you’re a fan of sports, why not tune into our local athletes? If we want Malaysia to be more recognized for all our talents, it starts with us!

You can also find out more about the writer on Instagram.

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