Boycott misinformation not the livelihood of innocent Malaysians

By The Malketeer

In the hustle and bustle of my beloved Madaniland, a nation seemingly entangled in its own web of boycott fervour, I found myself seeking solace at a ZUS Coffee outlet.

As I sipped on a cup of ZUS Coffee Gula Melaka, contemplating the chaos of incessant boycott calls and the alarming depreciation of our ringgit, I couldn’t help but wonder if our priorities were misplaced.

While the Middle East grapples with a barrage of rockets and the Iron Dome air defense system in action, Malaysians seem to have become preoccupied with an incessant volley of boycott calls and the ready deployment of our indigenous Coconut Dome to shield us from perceived liberal threats that threaten the inner sanctum of our thinking.

Boycott calls, fuelled by misinformation circulating on social media, have been relentlessly targeting brands deemed “sympathetic or supporting” of Israel in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict since October 7. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Grab have found themselves in the crosshairs, responding to stakeholders and clarifying their positions.

A peculiar shift in consumer allegiance from Starbucks to the homegrown halal-certified brand, ZUS Coffee, has garnered attention. Founded by eight Malaysian entrepreneurs in 2019 and boasting 197 locations nationwide, ZUS Coffee’s success attracted the interest of Philippines’ billionaire restaurant mogul Frank Lao who purchased a 35 percent stake in March this year.

Yet, amidst this coffee controversy, misguided influencers and self-proclaimed ‘holier-than-thou moral activists’ have accused ZUS of “paganism,” linking its name to the mythological Greek God Zeus.

A Facebook page carrying the moniker Berita Malaysia urging Muslim consumers not to patronise ZUS Coffee outlets alleging that it is syirik (polytheism) and therefore, “unIslamic”. The post has generated over 20,000 likes and 24,000 shares.

Vice President Stephy Foong has debunked these claims, asserting that ZUS is an acronym representing “zealous, unify, and us,” and has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called “God of Thunder” – Zeus.

As I enjoy ZUS Gula Melaka coffee, I am struck by a moment of “intoxicated high-octane creativity.” I coin the term “ZUSreka” — a fusion of ZUS and Eureka — and envision a new frontier in Malaysia’s prowess: the art of boycotts.

In the spirit of turning negativity on its head, I propose the establishment of the world’s first Boycott Consultancy in Kuala Lumpur. A hub for unparalleled strategies and award-winning campaigns, it could redefine the very nature of boycotts.

Venture capitalists might even consider funding a Boycott Academy, producing Chief Boycott Officers (CBOs) and Chief Conflict Officers to navigate the complexities of global conflicts.

Amidst the escalating insanity of boycotts, it’s time to redirect our energy.

Let’s vehemently Boycott Misinformation. Boycott Hatred. Boycott Violence. Boycott War. Boycott Apartheid. Boycott Extremism. Boycott Misogyny. Boycott Racism. Boycott Depraved Thinking. Boycott Bigots. Boycott Misanthropes.

Instead, let’s cease boycotting the livelihoods of hardworking individuals and their families at McDonald’s, Starbucks, Grab, ZUS Coffee, and others in Malaysia. Boycotts are hurting ordinary Malaysians like Grab Riders.

Our nation grapples with more pressing issues — the soaring cost of living, a plummeting currency, low wages, unemployment, and rising poverty. It’s time to unite for the well-being of all Malaysians.

In hindsight, I propose a shift in perspective: The UnBoycotting Consultancy, with myself as the Chief UnBoycotting Officer, dedicated to promoting unity and addressing the real challenges our nation faces.

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