Fans of K-pop sensation BTS in Malaysia came together in the past week to raise nearly RM20,000 (US$4,800) worth of funds for COVID-19 relief efforts in virus-stricken Sabah.
A total of 20 nonprofits including HungerHurts Malaysia and Borneo Komrad have received those funds, which would be allocated to food aid, medicine, and treatment. The funds were raised through two separate online campaigns that shared the trending hashtag #BTSArmyHelpSabah on Twitter.
“I feel like this is a good way for fans to start donations under the Army’s fandom instead of individually, because charity projects have always been synonymous in our fandom,” Amarlyna, who is known on Twitter as @LVYoungForever, told Coconuts today. The 28-year-old has been a fan of RM, V, Jin, Jimin, Suga, J-hope, and Jungkook since 2015.
“For as long as I’ve been an Army, I’ve known BTS as people who are constantly giving,” Amarlyna added.
Amarlyna began her initiative a week ago after reaching out to BTS fans in Sabah to find out how they were doing.
“They told me that people in Semporna, Sandakan and Tawau were in dire need, especially in terms of food supply, since those places have the highest rate of COVID infections,” Amarlyna, who was from Petaling Jaya, said.
Parts of Sabah reentered lockdown on Sep. 29 amid a second wave of COVID-19 infections around the same time as the state elections. Cases in Sabah now make up nearly half of Malaysia’s total reported cases since the outbreak began in February.
“I’m so thankful and happy that it reached a lot of people, so we can help our friends in Sabah,” she added.
Every RM500 Amarlyna received was donated to various organizations in Sabah and she would post receipts of the various donations on Twitter.
BTS fans are known for organizing such initiatives. Back in June, fans around the world raised US$1 million for the Black Lives Matter movement, matching the same amount that was donated by BTS agency BigHit Entertainment in a matter of days.
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