Let's admit it: 2020 hasn't gone according to plan.
The pandemic has thrown everything into chaos, and left many of us to pick up the pieces and move on with our lives.
However, a lot of awesome Malaysians out there did not let the pandemic stop them from going out there, carve their names on the international stage and making the country proud.
Here are some of the talented Malaysians who proudly flew the Jalur Gemilang
on the international stage in 2020:
Dr. Adlyka Annuar
We are no astrophysicists, but we do know that it's not easy to spot a supermassive black hole in space. So, imagine how insane it would be to discover FOUR! That's what Dr Adlyka Annuar did. The UKM astronomer found four growing black holes located just less than 50 million light-years (in terms of cosmic distance, this is fairly close) from earth. Dr Adylka is the principal researcher of the project, and she found the black holes by using a high energy X-ray telescope called NuSTAR. You can read more about her achievements in our interview with her here
Dr Chan Yoke Fun
We have plenty of amazing Malaysian women in science and some of them have made groundbreaking discoveries that’ll benefit generations to come, and one of them is Dr Chan Yoke Fun. Dr Chan, the Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Medicine, won the prestigious Asean-US Science Prize for Women 2020, beating out 250 applicants from 10 countries. Dr Chan is currently working on developing a vaccine to combat the hand, foot and mouth disease, and brain infection diseases in children, so way to go, doc!
Teachers would do anything to see their students succeed, none more than Samuel Isaiah. The teacher from SK Runchang in Pahang made the country proud when he emerged as one of the top ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020
. Isaiah beat over 12,000 nominations from more than 140 countries to make it to top 10. Isaiah told us in an interview
back in October that this award is "giving me an opportunity to put their capabilities on an international stage - to show the world what they are capable of."
Malaysian comic artist Erica Eng made the country proud by winning the much-coveted Eisner Award for comics back in July. The Eisner Award -- the comic industry's equivalent of the Oscar Awards -- was awarded to the 21-year-old's 'Fried Rice'
webcomic, which follows a young girl named Min from Batu Pahat, Johor who visits her cousin in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur while applying to an art school in New York. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for the talented comic artist.
We can breathe a sigh of relief, because there are those from the younger generation who are making the country proud on the international stage. Priyanka Vairavasundaram was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Diana Award 2020 in the United Kingdom. The 23-year-old was given the award due to her hard work in coaching students and helping them realise their potential. She conducts a free student enrichment programme that boosts the potential of learners, so Priyanka totally deserved the win, don't you think?
Teng Poh Si and Cheyenne Tan
While we may have to wait longer for a local feature film to be nominated for an Oscar, at least we have a short film that made it to the world's most prestigious film awards. Short documentary producers Teng Poh Si and Cheyenne Tan made the country proud when their short film titled 'St Louis Superman' was nominated for the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category at this year's Academy Awards. In fact, their short film has already won several international awards. Who knows, maybe next year Teng and Tan will surprise us with another Oscar nomination, right?
Sharon Jacqueline Albert Wilson
Winning an international competition is already a pretty big achievement; so imagine making history while you're at it. Sharon Jacqueline Albert Wilson, a Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) lecturer, won the International Communication Division (ICD) Teaching Contest 2020 back in July. In doing so, she made history by becoming the first teacher from Malaysia and outside of North America to win the competition! How's that for overachieving? Well done, Sharon!
Over the years, we've seen plenty of young local athletes making a name for themselves in the international scene, and the latest one is Celine Chung. The 15-year-old, who moved to Germany with her brother, was selected to play for German football club Bayern Munich. According to Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)
, Chung has been playing for the club's Under-17 female second squad since July. Chung, who plays as a winger, has wowed fans and fellow footballers alike when she was given the opportunity to train and play with the U-15 Wacker Munchen eV Boys Team. In fact, she's scored two goals in two official German leagues: one for the boys' team and another for her U-17 FC Bayern women's team. Could she be Malaysia's next great footballer? Oh, we think she is.
Zyson Kang Zy Sun
Zyson Kang may only be nine, but he's already making life easier for astronauts. Zyson invented the "Spacesuit Lunar Toilet", a portable toilet device that can fit into an astronaut's spacesuit. His invention was so impressive, it beat out entries from over 897 participants from 85 countries to win the top prize at the prestigious NASA Lunar Loo Challenge 2020 (Junior Category). Give him a few more years and he'll probably invent a more efficient spaceship.
A wildlife researcher's work usually go unnoticed, but we are thankful that some of them out there are getting their recognition. Ravinder Kaur, who has been a researcher in the field of protecting hornbills in the country since 2006, made the country proud after winning the Terrestrial Conservation Leadership Award from the Marsh Christian Trust for her significant contribution to sustainable biodiversity. Congratulations, Ravinder.