COMMENT | Remember the time when we left university with the gusto of a well-intended citizen, armed with the innocence of spirit and chronic idealism all out to change the world?
We’re educated now, we know enough to affect change, we have gained a sharp sense of perspective about what needs fixing.
We launch into the workforce with reckless abandon and trust that those people who intend to do good will be supported by their environment.
I mean, why not? We are planning to change the world and make it better so that we can live happier - “Let’s build something great together,” we chant over again like a holy mantra.
Life has plans.
Life, the most unpredictable of all nature’s elements, will design our journey to adulthood with a firm hand and the unexpected would groom our idealism to be respectful of the experience of others.
To practice great humility when trying to affect change. To keep our heads down and work really hard especially when we see no results. Finally, the limelight and recognition mean nothing without a deepening of character. How you build others and prepare them for leadership has the final say about who you are as a leader. This is the gist of my 10 years in Malaysiakini.
I look back on the 32-year-old overly infatuated girl who joined the organisation. My love for Malaysiakini was beyond my own understanding.
For a 32-year-old, I was especially green and for as long as we were helping build a better nation - I’m game. No one warned that “arduous” would need to be a word I would need to not only learn to spell (being dyslexic) but experience over and over again until you finally give up explaining the hard parts. You just begin to accept difficulty as part of the norm.
The best three experiences, hands down, were building our building @Kini and the fundraising of 2014 to pay for it.
We renovated the whole 10,000sft building in five months and it was back-breaking glorious work because we had a mission; the staff of Malaysiakini must, for the first time, have a more than decent space to work in.
In just seven years, our CEO Premesh Chandran and editor-in-chief/co-founder Steven Gan’s prudence has seen the building fully paid for.
Our 20th Anniversary gala dinner saw over 1,100 people grace the occasion. Meeting our subscribers in person and recognising the same love they had for the country were phenomenal. I remember standing in the ballroom looking at people who flew in from all over the world to celebrate the occasion with us - this makes “arduous” worthwhile.
Finally, when the 700-over red-shirt protesters turned up at our office. It was the mannerism of the police force which stole my heart. They were both protective and respectful of us, they, too, were serving the country they love. We were all making sacrifices for our country in good times and in bad.
Stand for what is right
Challenges have always been the same; the lawsuits, the ability to attract fundamentally good people to join the organisation and finally, people continuously questioning the intentions of the organisation, or the purpose we work here and when we plan to resign. I think when you have a purpose-driven career, challenges contribute to strength in character.
The reason and the mission become intertwined in our characters. One day, we just lose the need to justify why we support Malaysiakini. It’s just a deep drive to stand for what is right and not have the people of this country be taken for a ride.
One day, we no longer drive the purpose - the purpose drives us. One day, we realise, with Malaysiakini, we make the powerful accountable while we make the people powerful. This victory, albeit incremental, is a liberation of a rare sort.
We do what we do, not because we want to be the country’s watchdogs and whistleblowers. We do not do what we do because we value the road of righteousness. Neither do we bask in the glory of being the nation’s protectors.
We do this because there is a need. A need for a group of people to choose doing what is right over what is popular. This need serves to protect the rights of the rakyat. This, in turn, pressures leaders to make crooked ways straight and respect the power to serve.
We at Malaysiakini understand our power to serve you as we have done for you for the last 22 years.
In conjunction with our 22nd anniversary, we hope that you stand by us for what is right. Stand by us to see that the future has roots steeped in integrity as we offer you a 22 percent discount and you are able to gift a subscription to your family or friends too.
Today (Nov 21) is the last day for you to save 22 percent to join the Malaysiakini family as a subscriber so don't miss out and take this opportunity now.
Feel free to support our mission. Feel free to make this mission yours too.
LYNN D'CRUZ is chief membership officer of Malaysiakini.