Saturday, November 27, 2010

Touch N Go card

For frequent users of Malaysian tolls and public transport, you would be familiar with this - the Touch 'n Go card. More often, I would say it's the touch-wait-a-few-seconds-for-the-beep-and-if-it-does-not-try-again-card, but that's not the main point of this post.

Initially, I was quite frustrated with the card. When I first started using it, I accidentally tapped my card on  the scanner twice, thinking that the first time didn't go through. The card was corrupted and could not be used until I reset it at a T'nG centre.

Otherwise, it's a very useful card to have. I think little conveniences like this make transportation greener. For one, the line at the toll would be shorter. No more delays because the people in line were fumbling for coins. All it takes is a quick tap and they're off, which reduces idling time. Multiply these few seconds with the millions of cars that pass through the tolls and you'll get a significant reduction in carbon production.

For those who don't drive, it eases the pains of using Malaysian public transport. No more lining up to buy tickets. Before I got my card, I almost missed my train one day because the machine didn't accept notes and I didn't have enough loose change with me.

Though not perfect, I still think the T'nG card is a good thing to have.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Penang bans plastic bags - thumbs up!

Recently, Penang announced that plastic bags will be banned in the state starting Jan 1 next year. I give my full support and I hope other states will follow suit.

For those who don't have their reusable bags with them, I think the 20 cents charge per plastic bag is reasonable, though some may not agree. One lady mentioned that she won't have enough plastic bags at home to line her rubbish bins. I'm thinking, why not create less rubbish in the first place. I only need one medium sized plastic bag per week on average.

Lets hope this ban will make us more aware about what plastics are doing to our planet.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going without a car for a week

As much as I want to not depend on a car, I find it almost impossible to do without one in my line of work and in my country where public transport is not as efficient as I'd like it to be. My car is arriving soon so in the meantime, I'm hitching rides from friends. At the moment I'm cooped up at home because my housemate is out of town.

The plus side is I just have to drive 5 minutes to and from work. If I were to go down to the city, I think I can handle taking public transit while my car stays at the nearby transit station. That way, I can save on petrol, parking, tolls and not worry about getting lost. I think cities should charge congestion fees. That way the incentive for taking public transport is more.

Let's see how it goes next week when my car arrives!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oil spill in the Gulf is nothing compared to Nigeria’s 50 Year Leaks

I had a glimps of the news about Nigeria's 50 year leaks and decided to read more about it. What I found out was horrendous! In the Guardian's article (Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it), it was stated that the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. It is time to stop this!

Petitions by

Start a Petition »

Unfortunately this petition is only for US residents. Another petition to sign is at The Petition Site.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Story of Bottled Water

This short movie has been around for some time. But it's worth mentioning. Many of us would not think twice when we buy a bottle of water. After watching this, you would want to stay away from them almost like the plague. Click here to watch it online for free.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why I prefer local fruits

I'm not the kind of patriotic person who follow slogans like "Belilah barangan buatan Malaysia" (Buy Malaysian made products) blindly.
But when it comes to fruits, I'd prefer local over imported. I don't care whether eating local fruits like papaya, banana, watermelon, guava or mango look cheap. I'm sure their nutritional content would beat imported fruits because they don't have to be picked prematurely and take weeks to be shipped here. I have a fruit orchard right in front of my house. You can't get any fresher than that! The good thing about traveling is that you get to eat our so called imported fruits locally which is cheaper (don't factor in the cost of flying there)!
After reading Michael Pollan's book, I'm even more certain that eating local fruits is the right thing to do. We're supporting our local farmers. We're reducing pollution caused by shipping the fruits here. I guess the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" should be modified for our local context.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lessons from Vancouver, Canada

I was on holiday in Vancouver for a week or so and had the chance to visit Epic Vancouver, a green living exhibition which really got me excited!
Even without visiting the expo, I was already impressed by how environmentally conscious people there are. Perhaps my relatives whom I was staying with were exceptional greenies. They put all their recyclables out for curbside collection. They brought their reusable bags to the stores. They left their cars at home whenever they can and combined errands whenever they used the cars. They did as much as they could. I hope they are part of the norm instead of an exception.
The expo was going one step further. I'm impressed by the wide variety of products available and how enthusiastic the people involved were in living sustainably. Malaysia is on the way there. Lets do our part!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Am I ready for the real world?

I'm a fresh graduate with a job waiting for me in one of the most grueling professions. Am I ready for it?
I'm a young adult about to have responsibilities, be it money, taxes and perhaps my own family. Am I ready for it?
During our student days, we were told to savour our carefree life while we can. Now that is all behind me. What lies ahead can be so unpredictable. All I know is that I'm glad I was given the capability to serve the people and I hope I can make a difference in the real world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

American school lunches

I was feeling sorry for the kids. It didn't cross my mind that the teachers are forced to eat such terrible food too (if you could still call it so).
Reading a blog called Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project made see how bad things have become. On top of terrible food, there's so much trash produced. The food comes in disposable containers and the trays are made of styrofoam! The horror!
It's about time the global community teamed up to help. Drop by to sign Jamie Oliver's petition

Currently reading: Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jamie Oliver on TED

I just love Jamie! Our health is giving way and I'm touched that he bothers to do something about it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Drought in Sabah

The heat is driving us crazy in Sabah! The star has been covering the situation & it's happening all over Malaysia. Rivers and dams are drying up. There has been increase in forest fires and this drought may last till May!
I'm glad that at least the Sabah Forestry Department is doing something about it. Efforts to rehabilitate a forest reserve is being undertakan after years of illegal clearing and degradation. It is said that reforestation can increase cloud cover. That is definitely what we would want in this situation!
I just hope it rains soon. But till then, we have to save water and prepare for a long dry spell.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Greenpulse Universiti Malaysia Sabah

I'm so proud of my university! When I was studying there, I often lamented about the lack of environmental awareness on campus. I just did my part but did not think about increasing the awareness of my fellow university mates. Recycling was not a norm. Lights and air-conditioning was left on when nobody was in the room just because the last person to leave didn't bother to turn them off.

Now we have Greenpulse, a student environmental movement that organises activities to help students and lecturers become greener. They have certainly made an impact and I hope to see more from them!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mandatory composting & recycling

When I read a blog post on Crunchy Chicken about mandatory composting, I was impressed! More cities should follow San Francisco's Mandatory Recycling & Composting Ordinance. I'm sure no amount of awareness programs can make everyone recycle and compost, so this would do the trick.
I'll be visiting San Francisco soon to see the green movement for myself. Of course, I'll be taking a long haul flight. I just hope all my efforts to green my life will cover for the trip. I simply can't afford to pay for carbon credits.
Since most of use don't have the luxury of curbside compostable waste collection, we'll just have to do it ourselves. Even if you don't have a garden, it's still good to keep the waste out of landfills (as well as save energy to transport it there).
It's actually quite easy. The most basic method is to just dig a whole and throw the waste in. Of course there is a list of things that you should not throw into your compost pile. Here are some tips to get you going.
Hope you get some really good compost!

Friday, January 22, 2010

2 tier petrol price?

I read this column on The Star and I totally agree with the writer. For your information, Malaysia is considering a 2 tier pricing system for petrol, one for the rice and another for the poor. This is a system that can only lead to abuse and corruption.
How do you define rich and poor? Definitely not by the car I drive alone. What about the very poor who don't even own cars, how are they supposed to benefit from the petrol subsidy?
We should just do away with petrol subsidies. It encourages waste. I often see cars idling for more than 10 minutes. Once there was a car at the airport that idled for 30 minutes, and it was a government car, which means the driver does not pay for the petrol. Just imagine all that 'subsidy' being burned up just like that.
Why not spend more on improving public transport? That would really help the poor. Anybody who can afford to buy a car should not be considered poor.

Monday, January 11, 2010

First state in Malaysia to make every Saturday ‘No Plastic Day’

Bravo Selangor! It's about time the government put some effort in reducing plastic bag usage. A good way to start the new year indeed.

It has not been implemented in my state yet. However, I've been bringing my own bag to shop for more than a year now. It wasn't a trouble at all. I have trouble getting my other housemates to do the same, but I hope some day they'll get it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fake Plastic Fish

I've been following her blog for some time now. It's amazing how much plastic we can cut out of our lives and out of the landfills. I'm definitely trying to be more like her!