Nadia Mahmud is a friendly person who is ever-ready with a smile, but yesterday, she did something that even took her neighbours by surprise.
The former editor, who is now a content strategist, was so fed up with being isolated at home that she knocked on every door on the floor of her condominium in Petaling Jaya, holding a box of fudge brownies and an introductory note.
While it may not be fashionable to talk about feeling isolated, she said it was something everyone felt.
“If nobody takes the first step, we would all feel alone and isolated, literally, just within feet from one another,” said Nadia.
“My neighbours are cordial enough. We would say ‘hi’ at the lift, but we mostly keep to ourselves.
“With all facilities and common areas closed, there are even fewer opportunities to meet. I thought it was silly that we did not even know each other’s names.”
So, she hit upon the idea to get to know them by introducing herself by way of the brownies and the note.
She said some were initially suspicious and thought she was selling something. Others did not even smile.
“Most, though, were pleasantly surprised. One person wanted to hang out right away while another was sad not to have anything to give in return!” said Nadia.
“One neighbour, whom I had never spoken to, told me he waves to my cat, Jelly Donut, every day!”
After breaking the ice, she and her neighbours are now on a WhatsApp chat group.
“It makes the place a little less impersonal, and at the very least, we can pool together food delivery orders or help collect each other’s parcels.”
“Also, brownies make everything better.”
She said the brownies came from ‘Pah the Baker’ who lives near her parents.
Nadia is not the only one reaching out.
Malaysians have embraced the #BenderaPutih campaign that started on social media yesterday.
The campaign encouraged people to raise a “white flag” to indicate they need assistance. It is a way of giving hope to those facing hardship in these trying times, and to spread love.
Many have since heeded the call with neighbours on the lookout to help others.