PETALING JAYA: Social media star Arwind Kumar’s 315,000 Facebook fans can’t get enough of his flamboyant “MakCik” persona, but that same flamboyance made him the target of bullies in school.
“I was called ‘girly’ and ‘soft’,” revealed Arwind in a video interview with R.AGE (fb.com/thestarRAGE). “One day, my bullies called me out of class and took me to a field, where they started kicking and spitting on me.
“I felt really alone, like no one was there to help.”
Now, Arwind is using his social media influence to support R.AGE’s #StandTogether campaign, which aims to end bullying in schools by instituting a “national kindness week” every first week of every month.
The campaign, jointly presented by Star Media Group and property developer SP Setia, has already received pledges of support from prominent personalities such as Lisa Surihani, JinnyBoy, Dayang Nurfaizah, Jenn Chia, Paperplane Pursuit, and Selangor Princess Tengku Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
Deputy Education Ministers Datuk P. Kamalanathan and Datuk Chong Sin Woon have also pledged to help make the #StandTogether kindness week an annual affair in Malaysian schools.
“We called it #StandTogether because we want communities to rally around their schools,” said R.AGE deputy executive editor and producer Ian Yee.
“This isn’t an issue that we or the Education Ministry can solve on our own. We need university students, parents, teachers, older siblings, and basically all concerned citizens to stand together on this.”
It was the loneliness that was the hardest for Arwind, who admitted to having suicidal thoughts because of the incessant bullying.
“The worst part of the bullying was seeing my friends do nothing,” he said. “But they were just as scared as I was.”
The R.AGE team is currently developing an online resource centre that would allow any volunteers to download a #StandTogether programme and organise it in their neighbourhood schools.
For more info on #StandTogether and to watch the video on Arwind’s bullying experience, go to fb.com/StandTogetherMY.