A woman without arms making PPE and clear blue skies in Malaysia. There’s still hope for the world.

Mashable Southeast Asia’s new series Better Mondays is a weekly segment which highlights and celebrates inspiring people, heartwarming initiatives, and caring organizations who are not making Southeast Asia, and the world, a better place.


Another Monday, another day. Here are some of last week’s feel good and heartwarming stories from Southeast Asia and beyond.

A stranded Russian backpacker is rescued after wandering the streets of a rural Malaysian town looking for food.

IMAGE: New Straits Times

Maxim Lapin traveled to Malaysia via the Thai border, hoping to meet up with some friends in Kuantan. Unfortunately for Lapin, he had entered the country on the eve of it’s government imposed Movement Control Order (MCO), which was put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Left with no where to go, he wandered from town to town, hitching rides along the way until he was dropped off in Temerloh, which is over 130 kilometers from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

With his Moscow-bound flight canceled and his wallet empty, Lapin was left starving and exposed to the brutal heat. That is, until he was discovered holding a sign reading ‘I can’t go home and have no money. I need a food.’

But in a stroke of good luck, he was rescued by local police, who tested him for COVID-19 before arranging for his safe passage back home with the Russian Embassy.

Malaysians managed to save their National Zoo from financial decline thanks to generous public donations.

IMAGE: Tour Plus

A drop in ticket sales and underlying economic issues plunged Malaysia’s 57-year-old National Zoo into severe financial risk. Things were looking worse when Malaysia imposed the MCO, which forbade people from visiting the zoo at all.

With only three months’ worth of funds left to feed the animal residents, the zoo pleaded for help from those willing to donate to their Adopt Our Animals campaign, which would indirectly fund the upkeep of the place.

Thanks to Malaysian generosity, the zoo managed to collect close to US$231,000 (RM1 million). Good job, Malaysians!

This website, cheeky name and all, gives Singaporeans cool ideas on how to make use of their time under lockdown.

Yep, there’s even a sex survery. IMAGE: I am a CCB

Singapore’s Circuit Breaker, which was imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, has put a lot of Singaporeans at a crossroad when it comes to figuring out what to do at home.

But a website called ‘I am a CCB’ popped up, offering Singaporeans pretty useful ideas on how to take advantage of their downtime. To understand why the name is so funny, read our story about it here.

Employing the witty use of Singaporean-English, aka Singlish, the website is more than just a funny take on the issues we actually face at home. It has proven to be extremely useful, even offering users the ability to donate to COVID-19 relief and providing daily news updates about the situation in Singapore.

A Malaysian woman born without arms has captured the hearts of many for making personal protective equipment (PPE) using just her feet.

IMAGE: Norfarrah Syahirah Shaari / Facebook

By now, you’re probably aware that there’s a global shortage of PPE, making the lives of medical frontliners extremely difficult in the fight against the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

Though she was born without arms, Norfarrah Syahirah hasn’t let that stop her from helping out medical frontliners. The 32 year old from Bagan Datuk, Perak, started sewing her own clothes just 8 years ago. And now, she’s using her skills to help medical frontliners.

As part of her college’s corporate social responsibility program, she’s volunteering her efforts in making valuable PPE for her town’s frontliners. Using just 400 meters of fabric, the initiative expects to make 252 isolation gowns.

The decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels in the air has gifted Malaysians with some clear blue skies.

IMAGE Thinkcity

Calling themselves a ‘think-and-do tank’, Think City is the strategic investment arm of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian government’s sovereign wealth fund. According to their analyses, satellite spectometry data shows a dramatic decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels in the skies above Malaysia.

With the MCO forcing people to put their movement at a bare minimum, the lack of vehicle emissions and other pollutants has cleared the skies.

These drops in nitrogen dioxide were also seen in other parts of the world, such as China, several countries in Europe, and some major U.S. cities as well.

Who or what has made your Monday better? Let us know!

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Cover image sourced from Klook and Berita Harian.