Friday, October 7, 2011

Putrajaya Night Marathon Make That Change Reality Show: My Thoughts

Summary of Post
What I think of this whole Reality Show Contest thing. My personal struggle deciding which entry to vote for ('what, you don't vote yourself ah?'). A voting strategy that I feel comfy with now. And a pledge, if by some miracle I win, half goes to my friend with SLE, and half goes to Jiana's friend with DLBCL Stage 4 cancer. Be warned, a rambling blog with no pics!

Back in July
I was approached by Anand of Hooha.Asia to be in a video promoting the PNM Make That Change Reality Show.

I didn’t hesitate to say ‘Yes, I want to help’. I have wanted to run for SLE for ages (but was held back by my own illness), so this was a great chance to help raise awareness of this killer disease. The result: Make That Change Promo Video.

In the video, I was the friend who wanted to help another friend, who suffers from a lifelong autoimmune illness called SLE (Lupus). Viewers were asked to think of people in their own lives who needed financial help and to submit a 90 sec home video highlighting their ‘cause’. The five best submissions would be interviewed and re-taped. Then the official videos would be open to public for voting. A RM6000 cash prize would be awarded to the person/cause voted by the public as most needing the money (read more HERE).

This promo video, and also another sample video were publicised on Hooha.Asia, emailed to everyone who signed up for the PNM and etc. I thought there are 10,000 runners in the PNM, if 1% answered the call to ‘Make that Change’ that would mean 100 entries!

For whatever reason, by the Sep 3 deadline, only 2 vids were received, including my video. I suggested that Anand extend by another week, to give more time to people to submit. After the extension there were 4 entries total. Hm…. I think a post-mortem is needed to find out why response was so poor. Was it insufficient publicity, or people were intimidated by having to put out a 90 sec vid, or apathy (‘tidak apa’)?

Fast forward three months

The public is now voting enthusiastically for the four video entries each featuring a different cause, all noble ones.  (View Vids HERE)

There is my vid.

There is Christine Lim who wants to help her friend Jet raise funds to attend a breakthrough program that would complete his life-coach training and allow him to more effectively help others achieve their business dreams.

There are my friends, the celebrity running duo Karen Loh and Yim Heng Fatt, who want to raise funds for the Orang Asli Cause, which is also dear to my heart. They would put the money to purchasing basic necessities for the Orang Asli and raise awareness of their plight.

There is Jiana Jimain who wants to help her friend who suffers from Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (Stage 4). That young girl’s needs are urgent. Being an orphan, she has no family to provide financial support, and is at the same time struggling as a student in a local university. The overwhelming vibe I get watching her plea for help is that it is more a plea to not be alone. She has faced all this alone – the rounds of chemo, bus trips to hospitals…

Indecisions, indecisions

I struggled when it came to casting my own vote. My friend (with SLE) and I both felt that Jiana’s friend had the most pressing need. She has no ‘Plan B’. Her ‘Plan A’ is to ‘Stay alive’. Through my chats with Jiana, I gather her friend needs money for medical expenses, and she needs money to pay for food, bus travel to hospitals for her treatment. It is admirable that a few of her friends (all fellow students) have tried to scrape together small personal contributions, but that hasn’t come close to covering her expenses. 

Allowed only one vote a day, and faced with four noble causes to vote for, it’s a nightmare for people who are afflicted with the ‘crusader gene’, like yours truly! At first I voted for a different cause every day (a nonsensical way to vote, but no need to think!). Then I started casting more votes for Jiana, because I felt it was like me saying to her friend ‘I see you. I care. I am thinking of you’. I just didn’t want her to feel alone. I asked my friends to view the vids and vote with their heart because I was dead sure that they would vote for Jiana. 

Not everyone has time to view the vids though:

A friend  : Grace! I voted for you already!
Grace     : Erm, you got watch the video ah?
A friend  : No, but you're my friend mah, so of course I vote for you loh.
Grace     : Thanks, but tomorrow can you vote for Jiana ah?
A friend  : Why? I don't know her what.
Grace     : She needs the money more la... 

A Decision … and Peace

Then two thoughts came to my dim brain quite simultaneously:
  1. I could still win this
  2. I can give half the money to my friend with SLE and half to Jiana’s friend. (I’ve since pledged this to Jiana and Hooha.Asia.)

In a strange way, that made good sense to me. You know how sometimes when you have settled something in your mind and heart, it’s easy to make a decision after that. I decided then to try my best to get more votes so that the money could help two people with urgent needs, with no other sources of financial assistance. In any case, even if we didn’t win, we were already well on our way to raising awareness of SLE. This past week I have been tremendously encouraged by people telling me they watched the vid, that they, a loved one or friend was afflicted with SLE or some other illness, or had died from the disease. Some hadn’t heard of SLE before this. You know who you are - thank you so much.

Thank you for helping to Make That Change
To everyone who has viewed the videos and/or voted, thank you for taking the time to do so.  Please do go back every day and vote until 15 October, which is when voting ends! CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Oh ya, before I sign out, I’d like to mention my friend Lina who has home-baked cupcakes and cakes that she sells to support her husband who recently underwent brain tumor surgery, and their three young kids. I got to know this lovely soul through Syerol Nizam, who informed me of her delicious baked treats. Her husband cannot work, and had no insurance, so they were financially crippled by his illness, but are trying their best to carry on. More info on cakes available, and exquisite custom designed cake pics at Miralina Cakes

A click on any ad below this post will put a few cents in my pocket, from the advertisers. Thanks for supporting my blog!

xo Gracie

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