The #KibarBenderaPutih movement has gained momentum since the announcement of the latest MCO extension on June 28, 2021. Companies and individuals alike have been lending a hand providing basic essentials like rice, oil, bread, flour, etc. to the doorsteps of those in need, following the sighting of physical white flags.
On June 4, Malaysian student volunteers Sidharrth Nagappan, Cornelius Pang, and Shaun Mak launched the Bendera Putih App to crowdsource reports of white flags and food bank locations around the country. This is meant to streamline the process of connecting those in need to those who can help, which was formerly done via Whatsapp and phone calls.
A map for help
Upon entering the site, you’ll be asked to log in with your Google account before you’re shown a country map of Malaysia with icons highlighting white flags and food banks. Sidharrth clarified that login details currently are required for authentication to control the server’s API requests.
Dictionary Time: An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. In other words, an API is the messenger that delivers your request to the provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers the response back to you.
Users can click on either icon to get more information about the location and its real-time address. To ask for help or report white flags, users must attach an image of the premise, input its address, and provide additional remarks like phone numbers or the exact supplies needed.
In the app’s latest update, it mentions that pictures will be reviewed by the team to ensure there is no privacy breach. If you’ve enabled your location services, the site can detect it automatically, much like how you’d send your live location on Whatsapp.
While such details are beneficial in providing direct aid to those in need of it, it does open the app up to scrutiny over security concerns. Individuals now have their approximate (or exact) locations exposed, making them vulnerable to potential malicious intent.
However, the first priority of this app is to connect users who need help to those who can extend it, and vice versa, in the most convenient way. Therefore, users of the app should practice responsibility while using it, whether they’re sharing their locations or viewing the locations of those in need.
The food banks highlighted on the web app are directly sourced from Google Maps. Though most of those currently listed on Bendera Putih App are located within Klang Valley, the developers are working to crowdsource more names via an upcoming Google Sheets file on the page.
By Malaysians, for Malaysians
The site’s developers are hoping to make Bendera Putih App an open-source app so the developer community can work together and improve it, according to Sidharrth in a Facebook post.
Version 1 of the Bendera Putih App was created using React.js and Firebase, platforms to help make the process of developing apps quicker. “Once it’s out there, we are hoping to write a Node.js API to streamline the data onto a solid web view,” added Sidharrth.
More features and functionality will be added to Bendera Putih App, such as the ability to mark white flag reports with an “Up-Vote” or “Supported”. On the current app, these features are visible but do not work yet.
Vulcan Post has reached out to Bendera Putih App’s developers for more information on its development, and will update the article accordingly once they reply.
- You ca learn more about the Bendera Putih App here.
- You can read more of our COVID-19 coverage here.
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