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Richard, the bearer of good news on an otherwise gloomy social media front

Sabahan Richard Ker refuses to believe that the country has lost its way, despite its economic and political woes.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
3 minute read
Some of Richard Ker's social media posts, highlighting interesting or positive news about Malaysia.
Some of Richard Ker's social media posts, highlighting interesting or positive news about Malaysia.

Amid the economic gloom and political fatigue spreading through much of the country, one man has made it his goal to broadcast as much good news and positivity as he can, in the hope of making a difference in the lives of ordinary Malaysians. 

Between the rising cost of living and the lingering concerns about Covid-19 despite Malaysia's shift towards endemicity, Richard Ker has his work cut out for him.

But the cheerful Sabahan refuses to say die. His method is simple: he looks for ordinary people who are making an impact, whether they are sportsmen or individuals involved in charity for the needy. 

"Then I see the opportunity to leverage positivity instead of talking about the negative," he said in an interview with MalaysiaNow. 

Richard Ker.
Richard Ker.

This was the inspiration behind his first efforts in 2016, when he highlighted the success of Malaysians in a series dubbed "The Malaysian Heroes". 

"That was the first time my Facebook post went viral," he recalled. 

And it is an effort that he intends to continue pursuing, now more than ever. 

"I want to find the sweet spot," he said. 

Ker, who has made a name for himself as a social media influencer, started out using Facebook and LinkedIn, acknowledging in frank terms that he had "no idea" how to include Twitter in his portfolio of platforms. 

His big Twitter breakthrough came in April this year, when he posted about Florence Tan, a Malaysian working with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). 

"I just input keywords like 'Malaysian' and 'Nasa'," he said. "That was how I was able to find Tan."

He collected the information and put it in a thread, and to his surprise, it went viral.

"The story was even picked up by the Johor palace," he said. 

Ker used the same method to highlight local success stories like the Siti Khadijah boutique, 99 Speedmart and even Ramly Burger. 

"All the information is already there." 

Ker, who pursued multimedia studies at a local institution, went on to study electronic engineering in the UK on a Mara scholarship. 

"Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor or an engineer," he said. 

"I expected to be an engineer after graduating from the University of Surrey. But I was always fascinated with information technology or IT." 

He went on to work for 10 years in China before returning to Malaysia and settling down in Cyberjaya. 
He worked with several government agencies like the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre and Cyberview before joining global drone service provider Aerodyne Group.

He is currently working on his own digital marketing company which aims to focus on storytelling and branding for local entrepreneurs. 

For Ker, this is where his passion lies.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he described storytelling as the missing piece for many things in the country including the local technology scene. 

For example, he is working with a social enterprise that works to uplift the B40 groups in Sabah, advising them on video and storytelling aspects to attract buyers from outside of Malaysia who might be interested in local products. 

"All of my social media posts have this element of storytelling," he said. 

"I want to make it impactful and not so technical, and easy to digest. Focusing on the right storytelling could even attract investors."

Despite his best efforts, he still comes up against naysayers who play down Malaysia's achievements and reject any attempt to focus on the good in the country. 

But he refuses to throw in the towel. People will always have their own perspectives, he said. 

"No doubt the political and economic front have been the major headache for everyone, but eventually, all countries have their own set of problems. 

"It's okay for people to know and to be aware of these negativities. 

"From my side, I focus on the opportunities and not the obstacles. Obstacles will always be there. It does not take you anywhere if you keep focusing on the obstacles."