Month: March 2010

Why I Don’t Celebrate the Earth Hour

I didn’t switch off the light during Earth Hour. Either this year, or last year I didn’t do anything specially for this celebration.

Oh, now I hear you calling me a hypocrite.

Here’s my excuse.

Firstly, it was my birthday this time around, and my sister was busy cooking. There’s a toddler around us who was yet to be asleep at 8.30 p.m, hence staying in the dark for an hour will be hazardous.

While last year I wasn’t at home, so, so far I haven’t celebrate Earth Hour yet.

But ultimately, I don’t need Earth Hour to remind me of what I should do to save the Earth. It has been a part of me, and my day job too, so another rhetoric will have little effect to me. I’d like to think that I wake up every morning to continue doing an earth warrior’s work.Not to say that I have done all. But for the mass, I fully understand that it isn’t easy to cultivate the culture, it involves more than just mere logic; human do not work or behave based on logic and reasoning – there’s something complex called emotions that is at work.

That is why regardless of my personal view, I applaud every single move done to raise the awareness. .

The one I love most would be what Discover Channel (or was it National Geographic) did – to simply air no TV programme except for continuous showing of energy saving tips.

Except for the bits which was more of a perverse incentive – you organised an event to celebrate Earth Hour which encouraged people to travel and burn more gas i.e. fossil fuel – that is super ridiculous, first of all.

And I heard the TNB ain’t happy about this too.

Nevertheless, I’d like to thank KLCC for taking part, and makes a difference to the ‘KL during Earth Hour’ photos. I bet if KLCC didn’t participate, there would be no difference at all and we have to bear the shame of not following the global crowd. Bravo Petronas!

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2014 – The End of Conventional Light Bulbs

No honey, it is not a title of 2012 sequel.

It is a year to be remembered and kept in mind, because, guess what, that is when traditional light bulbs are no longer available – which means, they are phased out.

Hurrah!

I knew I missed something big, in a green sense, when in the meeting one of my colleagues mentioned it and I was like ‘How can I miss such a big green headline?’. I scanned on a daily basis for such headlines, yet I missed this one.

In case you are in the same boat, you might want to check the news. Here’s the newspiece in The Star:

2014 date to switch off traditional light bulb

By DHARMENDER SINGH and CHAN LI LEEN

newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PUTRAJAYA: The traditional light bulb will no longer be available by January 2014.

The Government will stop all production, import and sales of the bulbs by that date as part of efforts to save power.

Traditional light bulbs, also called incandescent light bulbs, are considered less energy-efficient and, as a result, not as environmentally-friendly as compact fluorescent lamps, fluorescent tubes and light-emitting diodes.

Power, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin, who announced this yesterday, said the move to stop the use of these bulbs would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 732,000 tonnes a year.

“The shift to more energy-efficient bulbs will help reduce energy usage in the country by 1,074 gigawatts a year. This is 1% of the total current usage,” he told a press conference after launching his ministry-level Chinese New Year celebrations.

In money terms, Chin said the shift would save RM336mil a year in energy costs and this would allow consumers to better deal with any increase in tariffs that might occur in the future.

Chin said the phasing out of the bulb would be implemented in two phases. The first phase, from January to December next year, would involve stopping all production, import and sales of 100 watt or higher capacity bulbs.

The second phase, from January 2012 till the end of 2013, will see an end to the production, import and sales of all other light bulbs.

He said the move was in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s commitment to reduce carbon intensity by 40% by the year 2020 that was made during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference that was held in Copenhagen in December last year.

In a related development, the Housing and Local Government Ministry has proposed the use of LED bulbs to replace conventional light bulbs in street lamps.

Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said a 60W LED bulb gave out the same amount of light as a 250W conventional light bulb. This level of light was the minimum requirement under ministry guidelines.

Kong, who was speaking to reporters after launching the Manjung district-level Ops Cerah in Lumut on Wednesday night, said the Government could save a lot on electricity if street lamps in the entire country used LED bulbs.

 

I can’t stop smiling for this, but there are other headlines that are bothering me.

But hey, this made my day!

Hodgepodge: of David, Rachel and Khan

OK. Let me admit for today, and today only.

I am sick of researching about LCA for businesses and industries, I can’t read anymore about green business, I could not accept anymore environmentally-related words.

I have a few things to whine about – well yeah, I haven’t been writing for quite a while – so here’s a hodgepodge for you. If you still want to read.

Of David

1. I watched the Biggest Loser Asia Finale last night. While it should be starting at 9.00 p.m (or so), it was only played on Hallmark channel at 10 p.m, due to some technical problem.

What? A technical problem at this age and day? That is unacceptable and super ridiculous.

And without judging the content, I have to say that the whole finale episode was a mess. Though I like it when Sarimah is emceeing but this one time the quality was poor. And include all the (unexpected) disruption – where Garry re-proposed her wife (is it?) – the posters portraying the ‘old’ contestants, where each of them had to go through by tearing it up, was broken and fall messily one by one – the less excited audience – well, as compared to the U.S version… everything was unattractive.

Except for Carlo of course.

Now coming to the contest part i.e. the content.

Oh, I think David, regardless of his massive weight loss should not win. Yeah, he loses half his previous weight, but he is definitely looking super unhealthy, and not handsome at all. He was better-looking when he just came back from the villa. Now he looks like a sick person, with a few years added to him.

That’s the price for USD 100K , yes? But seriously, that ain’t healthy. Carlo and other finalists looked vibrant, on the contrary. And that is what you supposed to be when you are getting healthier after losing so much unhealthy weight, people would expect. David could not even walk properly.

Alright, I am biased. I like Carlo for his leadership quality. Enough said.

But hey, I have always like watching the Biggest Loser show, the U.S version, but for Asian version ..err.. why so many injuries and why, oh why, so many faint-hearted contestants, and again – the end of the only positive-promoting reality show turns out to be horrible, with some freaky looking guy who obviously went beyond the healthy line for an amount of money and a Renault MPV.

Of Rachel

2. Have you heard this name – Rachel Carlson? In case you haven’t, please add her name to your list of individual who has managed to change the world by writing a book. She did well in that.

Well, this is the person who is said to start the contemporary environmental movement through her book entitled ‘Silent Spring’, published in 1960s, which now has reached its 40th edition.

Confession : I haven’t read that book.

I tried to find it back in the UK but was always tempted to buy some other titles. Kinokuniya has copies, in KLCC, at the price of MYR60 or so. But still, I don’t think I am going to buy it any sooner now that I can have a peek at Google Book.

But this lady is well-remembered for her contribution. Silent Spring let people became aware of the impact of DDT , which was widely used after WWII for agricultural activities and now that everything was done in massive scale the impact of the fatal chemical had became more apparent, resulting in a silent spring. So-and-so.

But that resulted in DDT being banned in the U.S. And the start of environmental movement which I believe, apart from what Greenpeace has done, is a positive force.

I want to die leaving positive legacy like that if I could.

‘It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility. ‘ – Rachel Carlson

Intermission

3. I have been thinking about environmentally auditing my daily life. You know, working for a company which is in the phase of transforming itself into a more sustainable entity, I was well-exposed to environmental auditing, though am not directly-trained to do that. While the other environmental personnel is doing that kind of auditing, I am trained to be an expert on some newer environmental management tools and techniques.

I think it is going to be a hell of a task to audit my daily life. But I need to walk my talk – I have been reading, recommending and suggesting higher transparency for the company in term of publishing its environmental performance: carbon footprint, water and energy consumption etc, now it is time for me to do it personally.

Not a bad idea, I think? We’ll see if I am truly an environmentalist.

By the way, here’s just a random thought: Do you agree that there are more women drivers in KL during weekdays, commuting alone?

Of Khan

4. I watched Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film two nights ago – on the night when I was supposed to prepare for my five-minute speech, for Public Speaking training session. Oh yes, I ended up talking about the film for the session, and it took me 7 minutes.

I would not say it was a very good film – I found that somehow some plots were just loosely constructed and it is nevertheless still a typical Bollywood movie where the ending has this feel-good note. And tear-inviting scenes of course – which is not good for someone like me whose threshold is low.

Nevertheless, I’d give a good rating for the perspective it chose to tell the aftermath of 9/11. From an autistic immigrant whose life has been robbed due to 9/11 – which I think could not be any more heartbreaking.

I was not stirred by the ever-controversial part where a Muslim marries a Hindu (though there’s a sense of liberalism there), which is common in Bollywood movie as far as I am concern, for this story only, because if that is not in the story line, the plot would not be constructed well.

But it gets me into thinking the message that keeps being repeated: there’s no Muslim or Hindu, there are just good people and bad people, or something to that effect. I don’t agree completely with the first stance (if I do, you might consider me blasphemous), but hey, is not it true that we judge people and classified them based on what we can see?

I saw no friction between this statement ‘there’s only good people and bad people’ and the Islamic teaching. Of course, Islam teaches us the Oneness of God, but didn’t the Prophet told us that he was sent to perfect our manners? And haven’t we heard the story about this lady whose manner was bad, regardless of her good personal deeds, and later lead her into the Hellfire?

I think that good manners and the inclination towards goodness are just inherent in us – it is a built-in feature, and being a Muslim means you have stronger reasons to practice good manners.

Oh well, another entry that is not worth reading.

A Greener Malaysia: My Disappointment

I’ve been scanning for green headlines on online English news in Malaysia for the past few weeks, and from my observation, the number is frustrating.

Malaysians are slowly changing their behaviour in term of being greener though; you will see numbers of chic eco-bags on sale (though I am not interested in owning one), more ‘no-plastic bag’ campaigns – ones I know are in KL, Selangor and Penang – the green wave, at least in the Klang Valley is creeping in. Albeit its slowness, I am still on a cheerleading note when I am saying this.

I’ve checked on environmental NGOs in Malaysia (and now proudly a WWF member), talked to my colleagues, and they confirmed that my another observation is true – that most environmental NGOs concentrate on conservation of nature, but less on education on living sustainably.

But hey, more fingers are still pointed back to me.

Way to go!

Student Politics: Pillars of Salt, Pillars of Sand

I know I should not rely on mainstream media on political issues – well, things are apparently lopsided when it comes to these channels of information. But when things are bad, like today, my morning ironing session was undeniably an uncomfortable one; there came the news on demonstration against Lim Guan Eng, the CM of Penang, Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials and how the Chief Police warned against street demos by his followers, one officer of Kelantan government was charged with misconduct. Then the MB of Perak challenging PR assemblymen to resign, hence allowing new by-election to be conducted, if what PR keeps claiming is that they are chosen by the people.

I am sure Astro Awani, as much as it tries to be unbiased, is still somehow not being impartial.

I would not want to blame anyone- well, you know which side I am generally in – but here’s a question I am interested in pondering upon the answer: ‘Are we ready to govern the whole country?’

I wish I could say yes.

But if I were to be honest, I might need to say no.

You can charge me for not being a good supporter, but trust me, I find it harder and harder to justify, convince and back that whatever the top people are doing is good.

No, I am never going to deny that politics is what we need to change the world. Never. Not even once.

And the blame, nevertheless, falls on me too – because if I don’t like something, I need to change it, since I am reluctant to change the way I feel about it. But let me pose some of my questions and doubts:

1. I’ve witnessed people trying to change, regardless of how slowly, the mindset of these people in the party, but failed – and as the result, being sidelined, taken disciplinary action on etc. And these individuals are those I regard as highly-intellectual and cabinet member – material. So should not I doubt my capacity to do so successfully?

2. I comprehend fully the notion that we have to obey our leaders (wala’) and deem collective decisions as the best – after all, it is known that those who practice collective decision-making (musyawarah), there is barakah in that. But you know, sometimes I do doubt if we are really free from the thirst for power that every decision is the wisest. Hence the mind-boggling decisions the party superiors made. I couldn’t convince myself that these are the best, then you should not expect to convince others.

3. This might be a little controversial, somebody might hate me for saying this, but I think, more or less, our incapability to govern well, or as we would want, better, rooted from our own system of ‘tarbiyah’ – how we shape the party members at whatever levels they are – especially students. More often than not we are told to obey, even before you fully understand – because ultimately along the way you will understand. I used to do this, and that left me trying to justify everything that comes from those at the top. And guess what, this is what, I reckon, gives foundation to the building of non-thinking generation whose way of thinking inclined towards saying ‘We are definitely on the right path, and everyone else is wrong’.

4. I hate it when all that we can do to justify things that we do is that ‘Islam says this..Islam says that’. Oh, please explain it logically with reasons. Well, one can always doubt: ‘Islam says this and that’ is what you say, YOUR own interpretation. If we believe that Islam brings goodness, then we can always justify good things without retreating to ‘Islam says this and that’. Islam is for all, no denying to that, but perhaps we need some wisdom to convey its content to others who are yet to believe that there’s another Being’s right that needs to be fulfilled.

5. I might be wrong, but I pity those politicians with the real countryman mindset – always looking out for the betterment of the society beyond their own political ambition. But as Malaysians are generally not so politically-literate, it is such a shame that ideas like unity government were trashed. I still mourned for that.

It is true, I whine too much. If I refuse to be involved in politics, I must endure being ruled by inferior people, which I know I just could not.

But taking time to put the hat of an independent observer, I reckon, isn’t a bad thing at all.

Entry to come: On Empress Orchid