Climb a tree today, change the world tomorrow
Veveonah Mosibin

Rest assured there is at least one smart young woman who will be making great strides for herself and the community


“GIVE a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

All of us have been affected by the nationwide movement restrictions, one way or another.

Many became jobless and businesses shuttered, while some were on the brink of depression from being isolated at home and away from their loved ones.

On the other hand, there were a few who thrived during the Movement Control Order (MCO), which was later changed to the Conditional MCO and Recovery MCO.

The loveable cooking couple S Pavithra and M Sugu were not the only ones who found fame, if not yet fortune, through YouTube during the pandemic.

Veveonah Mosibin (picture; right), a girl from Kampung Sapatalang in Pitas, Sabah, also won Malaysians’ hearts via YouTube.

The 18-year-old Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) foundation student is now at home as universities are still closed. She took this opportunity to show the “outside world” her daily kampung activities, which include helping her farmer parents.

Having only started her own YouTube video a month ago and with only nine videos to date, Veveonah now has over 90,000 subscribers.

In her videos, she showed how she built a well using old-fashioned tools; how she built a ladder from scratch to pluck a coconut from the tree and opening it with only a piece of rock; and she built a hut out of grass, mud and bamboo on a hilltop where there is secure Internet connection, so she could take online examinations without interruptions.

On the day of her exams, however, she found the hut was destroyed by bad weather the night before. With only a few hours left, she had little choice but to build a makeshift shelter on a tree.

She then decided to turn it into a “24 hours on a tree challenge”.

With only a power bank, a mosquito net, some rice and water, Veveonah, who scored eight A’s in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, managed to complete her exams and spent the night on the tree.

This video, which she made “just for fun”, turned her life around.

Veveonah’s family home does not have electricity. When she needs to charge her handphone, she would go to her aunt’s house on the other side of the hill.

In one of her videos, she said once they have enough money, her family would instal electricity in their house.

They do not even have water supply and they would also get water from relatives.

In all her videos, however, never once did she complain about the living conditions in her village. Instead, she made her videos fun and informative.

Nevertheless, her viewers raised questions, like “Where are all the politicians who were supposed to make villagers’ lives better?”

This caught the attention of Sabah’s Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), which sent a delegate to visit Veveonah at home when she was in the middle of recording another video.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission also announced that it will build another telecommunication tower which will allow for 4G connection. Kampung Sapatalang currently has a structure which only provides 3G connection.

This move did not come without criticisms from netizens who accused the authorities for always waiting for something to go viral before taking action.

“We have been an independent country for decades, but only after a viral video that TM comes to this village. Otherwise, nobody would care. That is the reality of living in Malaysia,” one commented on her video.

“Okay, TM came. Now, what about the Public Works Department, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and the Department of Water Supply? Only watching?” said another.

Veveonah, however, paid no mind and was simply happy that her village will be getting a new telecommunication tower soon.

“This is my hope as Internet access is very important now,” she was reported as saying.

More fortune came her way recently when she was invited to the Istana Negeri to receive donations in the form of cash and basic food supplies. They were presented by the wife of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah, Toh Puan Dr Norlidah RM Jasni, who is also the advisor of the Nur Jauhar Foundation.

UMS vice chancellor Prof Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin (left), who was also present at the ceremony, said UMS has agreed to award scholarship to Veveonah if she is offered to further her bachelor’s degree at the university.

She has been showered with words of praises and encouragement, but one of the best came from comedian Harith Iskander.

“I don’t care about your exam results — I would hire you to be on my team ANYTIME.

“Climb a tree today. Change the world tomorrow,” he said on his social media platform.

For those cheering for Veveonah, keep cheering her on.

Whether or not authorities start to pay heed to Kampung Sapatalang, rest assured that there is at least one smart and strong young woman who will be making great strides for herself and for the community that has raised her.

She is not yet 20 years old. If she continues to produce YouTube videos, the nation will be watching eagerly where she would go in the years to come.

Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor at The Malaysian Reserve.