A Malaysian Celebrity and His Quest to Give Back to the Community

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The act of giving back to the community, or even doing random acts of kindness, is of late frequently discussed and encouraged within society, because let’s admit it, volunteering or taking time out to make a difference in someone’s life is a great thing to do. But why is it so hard for some of us to move beyond this general understanding to concrete action? Why are we not doing more? Why do some people give for the sake of receiving recognition? Why do some people help but expect payment or gratitude in exchange? In short, why do people give to get? While we ponder over these questions and more, one person has mastered the art of selfless giving back. S.Muthukumaran, or more popularly known as MK, is a person who believes that giving out of the goodness of their hearts with no self-serving motives is a blessing for both the giver and receiver.

The name Muthukumaran, or even MK, might not evoke familiarity with many people out there, but to the local entertainment industry, MK is a household name. He has been a part of the Malaysian entertainment scene from the age of 10. Under the guidance of his equally talented sister, Datin Seri Manimala, his accomplishments – especially at such a young age – exceeded the expectations of many, and was merely a foretelling for what the future would hold. Today, MK has achieved more than what he set out to do, not only in the entertainment circuit, but also within broader society.

Foray into the Entertainment Industry

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Although MK has been in the entertainment industry from a young age, his stamp in the industry became more pronounced when he hosted a popular show on a local television station. That hosting job eventually paved the path for him to explore other avenues such as singing, acting, and performing arts. Some of his achievements include receiving the Key Unity Award at the annual VIMA (Voice of Independent Music Awards) 2010 for the song “Ore Malaysia,” a Tamil song that has been widely accepted by people of all races despite the language barrier, and playing a prominent role in the acclaimed P. Ramlee The Musical, which left an impression amongst the Malaysian and Singaporean audience.

Growing up in a family where he was blessed with parents who took care and provided comfortably for him and his sister, it came as an eye opener to realise that not everyone is as fortunate.

“It dawned upon me as I was growing up that not everyone was as lucky as me,” MK explained. “I was soon comparing what I had with what other people had in terms of food, clothes, presents, and even in the way we celebrated joyous occasions. These observations made me realise that I wanted to share what I have with those who don’t. The more emptiness I saw out there, the more I wanted to fill it with what I had, so eventually it grew into a passion. I am glad it has brought positive change.”

Giving Back to the Community


His first effort in giving back to the community was in 2003 when he decided to visit a home in need during joyous occasions such as birthdays, Deepavali, and Tamil New Year. At the end of the day, he said that he experienced a sense of fulfilment and joy upon seeing the genuine smiles etched on the faces of the people he helped.

“The smiles and hope that I saw in their eyes, encouraged me to go further and continue helping wherever help is needed. Some of the projects were started by me, but wherever help is needed I try to contribute,” he said. “Like the Michael Jackson song ‘Man in the Mirror’ says, to make a change we need to start with ourselves and that is what I’ve done. We all talk about wanting change without realising that if one person starts walking the talk, others will follow suit, and soon enough, change will transpire,” said the 33- year old pensively.



Putting his celebrity-like status to good use, MK has been involved in charitable drives such as blood donation drives, feeding the hungry, providing essentials to shelter homes, Jom Botak campaign by MAKNA (National Cancer Council Malaysia), and most recently organising a charity event, where he got his band MFusion to perform in aid of the Kelantan flood victims. Being involved in different charities drives home the point that to MK, no one charity cause is more important than the other.

“There is no specific charity project that is close to my heart. When I come across or hear of a cause that needs assistance, I will lend a hand. Sometimes I believe I was put in a place or a situation so I can help. It is as if the cause comes looking for me,” he said with a smile. “There is no one project that means more to me than the other. A charitable project is developed because it means something to me in a way, and as long as I can make a difference and play a part in helping the less fortunate, that is more than enough for me.” he added.

MK also explained that many don’t get involved in giving generously because they are blessed to have a comfortable lifestyle, where their needs and wants are easily obtained and satisfied. “The saying, ‘walk a mile in their shoes before you judge a person’ is apt as the fortunate will only understand the plight of the less fortunate when they’ve experienced it. It is easy to sit in an air-conditioned home and judge the homeless as lazy bums who are comfortable receiving handouts from the community, but we will never know the kind of circumstances that have brought the person to where he or she is now.” he said thoughtfully. It is his wish that every person look deep within themselves to find and channel that giving spirit.

For those who are interested to help the deserving, you can be a part of MKsaysVR1, a personal charity run by volunteers which aims to empower young people through the promotion of social and cultural cohesion.

For more information visit

Read This: Getting Involved with Charity: An Expat’s Tale

Source: The Expat magazine June 2015

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