KAJANG: The #StandTogether student kindness movement in Malaysia is all set to go international, and it now has a major global champion – K-pop superstar Choi Siwon.
Siwon, a Unicef ambassador, surprised students at SMK Tinggi Kajang on Friday to show his support for the movement, and he hopes to see it spread to the rest of the world.
The singer, actor, and Super Junior band member said we now live in “a world of hatred”, especially in cyberspace, which is why he’s lending his voice to the #StandTogether movement.
“This is a fascinating campaign. I will recommend it to Unicef Korea. There is not enough attention on (kindness in schools), so we need to improve together.
“And not just in Korea - we need to make #StandTogether relevant in other countries as well,” said Siwon.
Several hundred current and former students showed up at the school after rumours of Siwon’s visit, alongside Malaysian actress and fellow Unicef ambassador Lisa Surihani, started floating around social media.
Fans were gathered outside the school as early as 7.30am to catch a glimpse of him.
The crowd went wild as Siwon and Lisa finally walked into the school’s assembly hall, and it took several minutes for them to make it through the throng of selfie requests before finally making it to their seats.
The stars of the show, however, were the students from the SMK Tinggi Kajang English Society, who took to the stage to present their #StandTogether Kindness Project (one of the campaign’s Top 20 projects) through a series of powerful monologues and a rendition of This Is Me.
“We wanted to do something remarkable for our school before we graduate, because we’re already in Form Five, so we thought why not join #StandTogether and do something for all our juniors?,” said Christopher Ho, one of the English Society students.
Their project, called Dear Guardian Angel, allows students who are struggling emotionally to send anonymous letters to the team, who would then respond with letters of encouragement.
“It’s that stereotype that boys have to be ‘macho’, you can’t cry, you shouldn’t have emotions. After we head about #StandTogether, we felt like we should stand up and be the ‘gate-openers’ for them to open up,” said student Dhaanvine Kandiah.
Their efforts clearly moved Siwon, especially during the monologue, where the students described the different forms of hate and intolerance they face today, especially in cyberspace.
“We are living in a world of competition, but you don’t have to always be number one - just be the ‘only one’. Life is about creating yourself, and discovering yourself,” he said during a Q&A session with the students.
Siwon also shared that two girls from Malaysia had messaged him on Instagram after his visit to Malaysia last year for Unicef’s #EndViolence YouthTalk forum, telling him they were depressed.
“They said they decided not to commit suicide after hearing our message. So let’s do this more, let’s stand together more.”
The #StandTogether campaign was co-founded by R.AGE and property developer SP Setia in 2017, to tackle bullying and address the lack of kindness and empathy in society.
Its mission quickly gained support from other stakeholders, including current partners Unicef Malaysia, Digi, International Medical University, and the Education Ministry.This year, over 8,000 teachers, students, and members of the public have registered to support the campaign, including 25 MPs.
Find out more about the well supported #StandTogether student kindness movement at www.standtogether.my.
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