Let’s start conversations that matter.

Get to know the cause

“A significant problem or controversial issue which is obviously present but ignored or avoided as a subject for discussion”

– The Elephant In The Room as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary

It is an issue that requires urgent attention but because it causes discomfort, people often prefer to ignore it. This reluctance or inability to talk about difficult issues can bring out in people a range of emotions often associated with suffering - anger, resentment, fear, sadness, confusion. Facilitating conversations is the central practice of palliative care. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families through the relief of physical and emotional suffering. And often it starts by helping the patient and their loved ones open up.

SPEAK UP - THERE'S ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is a campaign to encourage conversations that matter for patients diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, organ failure, HIV/AIDS and degenerative neurological condition such as motor neuron disease (MND). It also aims to create awareness about how, with good palliative care, patients’ and their families’ quality of life can improve.

Every year, 4 out of 10 Malaysians will require palliative care at the end of their lives*. Currently less than 10% have access to it.

SPEAK UP aims to:

For patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers, its goal is to create awareness of the importance of having open discussions about difficult issues such such as prognosis, what to expect as the patient’s health deteriorates, and what patients hope for with their care. Communication on sensitive end-of-life issues is an important part of caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses.

For the community, it speaks about the need to acknowledge the gap in healthcare for people diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses and to advocate for better and more accessible palliative care services for all when the need arises.

* Palliative Care Needs Assessment – Malaysia 2016 (Hospis Malaysia)

Meet the artist -

Yusof Gajah,
Malaysia's foremost naive art artist.

Born Mohd Yusof bin Ismail, Malaysia's “Elephant Man” of art is the creator of the 10 elephants in the Cik Gajah limited edition series.

Hailing from Johol, Negeri Sembilan, Yusuf studied art at Sekolah Seni Rupa in Yogjakarta, Indonesia and started his career as an artist upon his return to Malaysia in 1975. Yusof cites nature as the major influence of his artwork. His career as an artist and author-illustrator of children’s books spanning over 40 years has seen his artwork featured in over 200 exhibitions and 20 solo shows across the world.

He’s no stranger to international awards, having received the Noma Concours Grand Prix in Japan (1996), and being nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award twice (2011 and 2012). He’s also been on the International Jury for several prestigious Concours i.e. NOMA Concours Picture Book Award Tokyo and Nami Island International Illustration Concours multiple times.

Most recent of all in 2016, Yusof was awarded the Anugerah Buku Negara, and Tokoh Seni Negeri Sembilan and Ahli Setia Negeri Sembilan (ANS) by the Negeri Sembilan state government.

Private collection of Yusof’s trademark elephants can be found in the National Art Gallery, Petronas Gallery, Shell Malaysia, Lone Pine Hotel, National Heart Institute (IJN), SIEMENS Malaysia and in the homes of several Malaysian royalties.

About Hospis Malaysia

Hospis Malaysia provides palliative care to patients with life-limiting illnesses and support for the people around the patient. An important part of the work that the clinical team does is communicating with patients and families and helping them talk through difficult and sensitive issues. Hospis Malaysia is also committed to increasing awareness of the need for better access to quality palliative care for all in need.

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Support us and make a difference.

Our NGO partners supporting palliative care & the
“Speak Up - There’s an Elephant in the Room” campaign.

Alzheimer's Disease Foundation Malaysia

Cancer Research Malaysia

IJN Foundation

Kasih Hospice


Malaysian Aids Council

Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association

Motor Neurone Disease Malaysia

Multiple Sclerosis Society


National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF)

Spina Bifida Association Malaysia

Our PARTNERS who have helped bring “Speak up - There's an Elephant in the Room” campaign to life.

Campaign partner

Launch partner

Venue Sponsor

Other partners