positive gestures

It’s been two months since I’m home for good and I realized that being away for three years taught me some things I never noticed before this. This isn’t a post about being overseas is better than Malaysia. I truly love home to be honest and I know it for sure that we can go further with some improvement on our social culture and values. We don’t have to live abroad to be in an ideal environment, we can always create one for our society and future children.

It can be an act that is as simple as holding the door for the next person to come in after you. I used to just push the door open and walk off without looking back. Little did I know that it’s considered impolite in some countries. So I learned to hold the door and look back to give a brief smile to the person behind me. Also, to make sure that the door doesn’t slam into the person’s face. I actually had that before, the door slamming at my face because the person just walked off. A simple gesture such as that could definitely prevent someone from injuries and it shows that we could be caring even to strangers. Such polite manners are golden.

My personal favorite gesture is how amazing the customer service is when I’m abroad. People give simple greetings and smile cheerfully before attending to your needs is something I really appreciated. It can definitely make you feel better about your day when you go inside a cafe for your morning coffee fix, greeted by a cheerful barista asking about your day or just commenting about the weather or even how you look! It probably make you feel like you should grab few muffins on your way out simply because you;re off to a happy start.

And the simplest thing of it all, discarding rubbish at the place they should be instead of littering. We take it for granted here in Malaysia by throwing rubbish everywhere or doing it in an unhygienic manner. I’ve seen people throwing plastic bags of rubbish with liquid dripping from the plastic all the way. It gives off unpleasant odor and not to mention attract all kinds of insects. I think cleanliness reflects a lot about your values. How you keep yourself and your surrounding clean is important. It’s so easy to throw your rubbish in a proper manner at a designated space provided for rubbish. It also helps the people in charge of collecting rubbish to do it efficiently and without any problems. I know for sure that I would hate collecting rubbish that’s poorly discarded, I feel it’s only right that other people don’t have to do what I disliked.

Then, there’s also the part where people take those who work in public services with respect and adoration. I personally love thanking the bus driver because I know that working as a bus driver with all the hectic schedule and crazy traffic during peak hours can be stressful. Showing your gratitude, telling them a simple thank you would make them feel better about their job. Sometimes, we tend to forget that people can get tired of doing their work repetitively, especially if you’re stuck sitting doing work on your desk for hours non-stop. Before raising your voice to complain and make a scene, consider yourself to be in their shoes. Yes, you may address the problem but that doesn’t give you the right to verbally abuse them. It’s crucial that we learn to address mistakes in a proper manner. Mistakes does not give us the right to disrespect people and this is what we Malaysians should practice more.

I love the working culture abroad, I’m not saying that for all workplace. I’m sure there are bad working culture abroad too but mine was simply lovely. Of course, the workload, the stress and problems are part of working life but what I enjoy is how I converse with my colleagues. We would talk about the current issues, the five cat my colleague takes care, the general election, the weather, exciting weekend trips, many interesting ongoing things about our lives and what I realize is the lack of gossip, be it about people we know our celebrities gossips. It gave me a new perspective about conversation, like there’s a broad range of topics we can talk about during small talks instead of discussing who’s cheating on who this week. People are polite and they respect your privacy as well as your time.

There’s more than just this but this are some of the examples I could think of. I’m sure there are many Malaysians practicing good social values and even do more than the basics. But it’s also sad to see how some people are still being verbally abused and spoken to with much disrespect. It’s distasteful to see how people would stare with no shame at something humiliating instead of lending a hand.

I honestly think giving out positive vibes is something we Malaysians take for granted. It’s so easy and if we could practice it more often, I’m quite sure that we’ll be able to agree on many things and bring the country forward and prosper in more than one way.

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Remembering you.

I’ve been caught up with family matters for the past few months and I know the routine by heart already now. As I was doing my rounds to check everything is in order and the doors are locked, I walked pass by my parents  bedroom. With the room door slightly open, dark and empty the house suddenly felt so quiet. I feel so alone. Staring at this computer, I wanted to blog something here about what I feel but then it’s all messed up . I took some time to think of a suitable way to express my thoughts and realized that the best way is to remind myself of  the memories I share with my dad. I want to remember the memories, and all the feelings that came with it. I’ll visit every memory I have with him and walk through it one by one hoping that I’ll never lose it.

I don’t think I can recall the first few years of my life but I remembered the day I started kindergarten. As a child, it probably is frightening to be in a crowd of strangers. I guess despite the excitement, I was also afraid of being alone in a class surrounded by people I don’t know. I can’t remember how it happened but I knew my dad sent me to the class on my first day.  It was all good until he left. The moment I looked back and see that he is not outside of my classroom, I cried so bad all I wanted was to go home. The teachers had to call him back and when he came back, standing there it was all fine again. I felt safe. It went on for two weeks. I don’t remember exactly how many days but I knew he accompanied me every day and I would learn in class and look back every few minutes or so. Every time I looked back, he was there smiling and just standing there looking at what I was doing. Even when I think about it today, I can tell how I felt back then. I felt safe knowing that my dad was there looking after me and he’s just a few steps away.

Another time when I was in kindergarten as well, there was this concert and I had to dance chinese dance. I was dolled up in my cheongsam and red lipstick. Although I can’t remember the dance or who my partner was, I remembered looking at the audience finding my parents. The moment I saw them, standing by the door because there wasn’t any places left and it was so crowded but they were still there, I smiled happily. During the closing ceremony, we played Christina Aguilera’s song ‘I turn to you’ and it still got me all teary up til today because I remembered how they were being squeezed by other audience just to be there for my performance.

I remember the days when we would go to Lake Garden cycling and have picnics after. I was still using the tricycle and dad would be cycling by my side making sure that I don’t fall. Oh, there’s this one trip we went together which I think was one of the few outings I did only with my dad; a visit to the National Museum. I recalled seeing this huge crocodile and I asked my dad if it was real because it looked so real I thought the crocodile was alive! It was also the first time I learned about our culture and the ‘kampung’ life. I can’t recall any activities similar to this one, it’s probably the only museum I’ve ever visited with my dad. Dad was a strict person. He gets annoyed easily if things are not as how it expects it to be. The family would often argue because of the differences but he always wanted the best for us. I know he shows his love in ways that sometimes nobody understands. He gets protective to the point that it’s frustrating but only because he loves his children. We used to watch TV shows after dinner together and I often fall asleep halfway because I get sleepy so easily. Dad would usually carry me upstairs then and put me to sleep. Sometimes I was half awake but I let him carry and tuck me in anyway before dozing off.

Between all the memories, one thing I’ll always remember is how dad accompanied me to the sea every single time we visited the beach. I love the beach although I can’t swim. I like being in water and just watch the waves. I wasn’t afraid of drowning, probably because every time the tide pulled me, I would find my dad’s hands and hold onto them. Even when the tide pulled me and I lost my balance, dad’s hands would magically pull me back up. We had so much fun when we were younger, my siblings and I especially when we’re at the beach.

So much memories, so much feelings attached to it as well. There were also a lot of fights and tears. I was a difficult child. I wanted freedom, but my dad was always worried of my safety. He is so used of protecting his only daughter that even when I’m old, he would do his best to take care of me. He’s the one person that I could be in the same space and not talk for a long time but never gets awkward, just a comfortable sort of silence. I never really understood his way of loving but as I grow older, I learned to read between the lines or in his case, his attitude. He never knew how to raise a daughter so he kept me as sheltered as possible. He made sure that I had everything I needed, including discipline and manners. He tried his best to make sure that I don’t have to go any hardships while I was growing up . He made lots of mistakes as a father, but I know that being a father doesn’t come with a manual. He got me angry, sad, happy and all kinds of feelings before and despite not being a perfect father, he was the father I needed. He loved in his own ways and did his best to be part of the children’s lives.

I tweeted not long ago about how I felt hopeless and yet still very hopeful. I feel hopeless in a way that I cannot help him be better but I am hopeful, hopeful to God for him to be safe and return back to being healthy. I wish that my kids would one day have the chance to meet dad and have the privilege of being loved by him just as how he loves me. He taught me that as a child, we don’t choose our parents and we learn how to adapt to their ways. He also taught me that a father is also human who does mistakes and have flaws of their own. And for that, I would forgive him for his unintentional mistakes and love him always in my own way too.

Green.

I can’t say for everyone but I do believe that there is a time in our lives that when we read articles about environmental efforts, we wonder if it’ll actually make a real impact. I know I always ask myself that. In fact, the disturbing thought will always be there when environmental discussions come up. It’s because with one effort we campaign, there are a thousand more that’s contributing to environmental problems. There’s also the dilemma of wanting to help, but can’t help contributing to the environmental issues because of various reasons. This dilemma is a personal struggle I fight every single day and I have no solution yet for it.

Last weekend, there was an event called the Cooler Lumpur Festival; a fest with forums, discussions, workshops and many more on shaping the future of our beloved capital city, Kuala Lumpur. It is my first time attending this sort of event in Malaysia and I must say that I am impressed with everything. They had good programmes going on for the weekend, not leaving out activities for kids and also small entreprises/home businesses. I attended 2 of the sessions, one on sustainability and discussion towards a greener future while the other was about writing across differences. While it is amazing to see Malaysian citizens coming together to tackle environmental issues, it is without any doubt that more needs to be done. And perhaps, even our focus ? The discussion on sustainability was attended by 5 experienced individuals; the person who initiated zero waste campaign in Malaysia which has over 4000 members in her zero waste community today, Aurora Tin, Angelia Chin who is actively involved in the Lost Food Project where they collect commercially rejected food and put them to good use, Danni Rais, a youth politician whose focus is on national empowerment, Tun Jeanne, wife to our fifth Prime Minister that encourages planting of trees movement and lastly, the famous Malaysian eco-activist, policy change-maker and a true eco warrior Gurmit Singh. Each of them had a lot to talk about on sustainability and their efforts in helping the environment, be it planting more trees, tackling food and waste management, nation empowerment and even policies.

Throughout the discussion, I realized that if I never attended the session in person I’ll never know the existence of these campaigns or efforts. For example, the Lost Food Project collected over 140 000 tonnes of food that is perfectly edible but rejected due to the appearance in the last 18 months. This is collection of food at certain state or areas, not even our whole country. To be honest, I was also taught to pick food before buying them especially fruits and vegetables. It did not occur to me that those fruits that weren’t pick by consumers would be thrown away instead of consumed. This project is amazing in the sense that it helps with the redistribution of food to those who needs it like orphanages, our food for homeless movements and many more. The zero waste campaign on the other hand, was impossible to believe at first but after the talk it got me thinking about how it could be done, what part of our lifestyle we can change to reduce our waste such as the choices of our snacks, the wrapping paper to our favourite chocolates and many more.

The session left me with a lot of questions and thoughts on how to change our lifestyles to eco living. Gurmit passed a remark to the audience about how those in the session knows the importance of saving environment but still, probably drove to Publika (where the event took place). It got me thinking if there was a way to go there by public transport but I had no clue whatsoever on any public transport that pass by that area. It then strike me that there’s a few problems in this thought itself. First of all, I can say that I was partly ignorant of the whole situation. Because I was carpooling with my friend, I took the easy way out and settled for the car, instead of googling the route using public transportation. In our daily lives, this is probably the case for most of us. We take the easy route because we own a car and it’s really more convenient going places with cars as you don’t have to walk under the extreme weather or share a space with people while travelling. We might know the fact the vehicles are highly related to global warming due to the contribution of carbon emission but because we don’t see with our naked eyes that it emits carbon dioxide we assume it’s okay. It is one thing feeling the rise in temperature but it is another to constantly notice and be aware of what causes it. Second, if I did took the public transport to the place of event on that day which is a combination of LRT and bus or commuter from where I am, I have to allocate about an hour or two for the commute while driving takes only 20 minutes or so. Now looking from the point of opportunity cost, not many of us would be willing to leave two hours before for the commute when we could be there in less than half an hour by car. Perhaps we are willing too but we may not have that much time to spare as we have other engagements to attend to. Even if I did take the public transport, there’s no way of knowing that I will arrive on time or if there’s a delay unless I’m at the station itself. So does this mean that driving is justifiable in this circumstances? For whatever our reasons are, one thing’s for sure that the moment we drive our cars it emits carbon dioxide. So even if we are fully aware of the situation, we may not be able to opt for public transportation due to various pressing reasons. For those who are well aware and are concern about the environment, they might do what they can to reduce environmental issues, but what about the general public? If you give a person these two options as means of travelling what will motivate them to choose one over the other? Some may argue that the role of a car is to take you to respective destination in a more convenient manner and at a faster speed too. So why opt for a less convenient method? Some may not even have the luxury of opting to commute because they need to be in few places in a certain period of time. Of course, I am sure that there are many people too willing to commute instead of opting for convenience at the expense of our environment but there’s always two sides of looking things the way they are.

Which then made me realize, that yes a car’s role is definitely to make our lives more convenient. What’s the point of owning a car if you need to commute for hours right? But then, using the public transport is also more convenient in the sense that you don’t have to worry about traffic or vehicle accident, though of course there are then other concerns relating to public transportation. My point is that, perhaps instead of focusing only on reducing the usage of cars, we should start thinking of how to develop green vehicles. I know some brands have their own hybrid cars but it may not be affordable for everyone and maintenance is probably costly too because the demand is not as huge as the normal vehicles we purchase. Also, since it’s a new technology there are still so much improvement to be made to bring down the cost and providing consumers with better quality. But this is definitely a technology we should focus on especially on making it affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. Even when we commute using the public transportation, we may still take the taxi or Uber or Grab to go to certain places. For example, you commute to go to your workplace and it’s fine if you’re all sweaty because your office have shower facilities but what about when you go to a meeting? Are you planning to ride a bicycle to a meeting in this weather? Chances are, you probably opt for taxi or Uber or Grab if there is no direct public transportation services to the meeting area. But that’s still contributing to the emission of carbon dioxide. If we instead have a taxi service that provide green vehicles maybe that will be a win win situation for both the environment and ourselves. Let’s not forget that we also use vehicles to transport goods. How are we planning to change that? We most likely can’t transport all types of goods using public transportation. So there has to be a real change on the supplier side too. I know it’s a long way to go when talking about innovation and green technology but we have to continuously encourage people to focus on tackling environmental issues from the perspective of suppliers and make them aware that this is also one of the methods we can approach to help the environment. As a consumer we can put pressure by stop using the products, but as a producer we can change people’s lifestyle through our production. It has to be the effort of both sides. Only then, consumers will not be in a dilemma whether to choose convenience over our beloved environment. But anyhow, I am amazed and truly humbled by the level of dedication some people put to help conserve the environment. Such efforts should be appreciated and in a way we do not want all these efforts go to waste. So, start today by thinking what’s your role in the society and how you can help in your current position. It always starts with yourself and what you can do.

(to be continued on dilemma on public transportation – user friendly ? a personal experience)

Join me?

Degree done and dusted, now what ?

Time to read more ! (read as: sleep). On a serious note, I’ve been reading and researching on environment management in Malaysia since I came back and found lots of interesting changes that’s happening in our beloved country.

From where I live, which is quite near to the capital city I’ve seen many changes regarding environmental awareness compared to when I was young. More shops and malls are adopting the no plastic bag regulation and a fee is charged for plastic bags to discourage customers from using plastic bags. We are also slowly moving towards renewable energy, in particular installing solar panels at homes and in buildings. I’ve had the opportunity recently to watch a video of our nation’s energy supplier, TNB on their vision and future direction. I must say that the direction our energy industry is moving towards do seem to be promising in regards to our efforts in practicing sustainable development. Putting aside corporate businesses, I’ve also seen changes among our citizens. With the new and upgraded public transportation system, more and more of our citizens are using the public transport and utilizing the facilities available instead of using their own transport. I have no doubts that the public transportation system have a lot to do still especially in terms of making it accessible for people living far away from the train stations. I believe the bus routes and system too has to be upgraded to make this possible. Nonetheless, it is good to see that we are developing in the right direction to encourage energy conservation and reduction in pollution. Being in the capital, I am accustomed to our famous daily traffic jams that can usually go on for hours. This, again calls for efforts to reduce the usage of cars as mean of transportation in the city. I would love to make bicycle as an option but to be honest, I will probably think twice (or maybe more) about riding a bicycle to go for meeting at 3 in the afternoon. The sun here in Malaysia is unbelievable! It’s summer all year long and if it isn’t shinning bright, it’ll be raining so heavily. Therefore, although I love the concept of bicycle as a mode of transportation similar to the practice of other countries, I must say that we must be realistic. I doubt I want to arrive for a meeting looking all sweaty and extra shiny face with melted make ups, might scare people away instead. But with the new strategy brought in by Uber and Grabcar, we are an app away from having a car at our disposal. The problem with our usual taxis is that it did have issues with accessibility. Not all areas have taxis waiting around for us, especially in the housing area. Then we also have the issue of taxi with metres and without which creates a negative impression on the taxi provider. If these issues could be solved and the level of efficiency is up to the standards set by Uber and Grabcar, then I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be just as good. The only worry is that in terms of regulation especially safety and insurance coverage, Uber and Grabcar in Malaysia still need to work on that to eliminate the loopholes. This way, we can promote carpooling, reduce the amount of cars entering the city, pay unbelievable parking tickets, save more energy and create jobs for people!

There are so much positive changes in Malaysia and I am happy to see our country moving towards a green and sustainable direction. Having said that, there is still a lot that has to be done too. From the different articles I’ve read, I came to an understanding that:

Development also equal to greater environment problems 

This means that we will face issues such as deforestation, increase in pollution, lost of habitat for our nature and if we are not careful contributing in extinction of exotic species. The amount of carbon emission, water and air pollution that is caused by development can affect in ways that will bring harm to people’s health. Mentioned above are only part of the negative impact of development towards our environment. While there are methods to reduce issues as stated above, implementation and awareness is necessary to ensure that all parties are highly aware of the possible consequences of their actions. This does not mean that I am against developing the country, as I am well aware that we need to boost our economy more now than ever. We also can’t run away from being the cause of environmental issues because we live based on the resources we have in our country and on the land that we step. However, I do believe that modernization and development has to be done right with more weight on ensuring sustainability of resources rather than just concentrating on profit making for the economy. We need to start thinking for the long term effects and stop making short term profit at others’ expense. To do that, more work has to be done on the regulation and law as well as the proper steps for implementation. Above all this, education which I continuously mention in most of my post is so important to tackle this problem. Because it is an issue that deals with lifestyle, it can only be changed with a change in our lifestyle. This might mean changing certain things that we are so used to, probably even practices we were brought up with. But change is necessary and is a must. It’s not easy as I admit that I’m also trying to find ways to reduce my contribution towards pollution but we have to put in the effort.

We know that education is crucial in this matter. So what do we do now ? We educate ourselves. Which is why I came across this idea and I would love to work with as many people as possible on these ideas:

  • Create animated videos about different topics on environment and eco-friendly development, sustainability, eco changes in lifestyle etc etc
  • Illustrative short comic strips, short stories that can be downloaded and accessed by everyone digitally

They are just rough ideas at the moment and still need to be further developed. I know I am not well educated in all aspects of this issue especially providing information and facts therefore I would love to hear from people with different education background and skills. To make this idea happen, I also believe I do need some guidance by people who have knowledge in animated video making and animation drawing. Not exactly a talented artist you see. Let me know what you think about it and please please I do value your feedback so don’t be shy wherever you are especially to my fellow Malaysians! Let’s make these little things that we can do to bring change.

say no to bullying.

Malaysia mourns once again as another child lost his life due to bullying and abuse. Nhaveen, an 18 year old student from Penang had serious injuries including burns on his back and there were signs that a blunt object was shoved into his anus. His friend who was with Nhaveen at that moment, went through a surgery as he fractured his bone beneath the eye. According to the news, this was done by five youths who were also their ex-schoolmates. Not long ago, Malaysians were shocked to discover news about the death of a university student due to abuse as well. The student who was a naval cadet in National Defense University of Malaysia tragically lost his life due to torturing by his colleagues. He suffered severe injuries including second and third degree burns on 80% of his body. No excuse is acceptable for both incident which is now classified as murder and under investigation so justice can take place.

These incidents are a wake up call for Malaysians that there is a rise in bullying and abuse and we cannot deny this fact any longer especially when lives are lost in such brutal and inhumane manner. We have to start asking ourselves the big question here; why and what should you do ? Our kids are exposed to violence at such early age and are raised in an environment where bullying is normal. This is wrong. As parents, teachers and even as one of the youth it is our duty to educate ourselves and the people around us especially those who are younger that respect for others is important and there is no such thing as allowed bullying. Schools must change the famous traditional ways of ‘ragging’ where it involves violence and abuse these days. The initial reasoning for ragging was to discipline but often the authority given is abused and used with personal agenda without any guidelines which should not be the case. Punishments are not meant to take away lives or injure a person. I personally do not believe in educating through physical punishments but I respect that not everyone share the same view as I do. Even if a person were to choose physical punishments, there has to be boundaries of what they are allowed to do and not do. Those two boys who got killed due to bullying were not just students. They were someone’s child, a brother to their siblings and they were kids with dreams. As a human, who are we to take that away from others? It is important to educate the young that we should not act carelessly as lives cannot be revived. We are not allowed to harm others like as if they are dolls. Teach our children not to react to situation with abusive manner but to go around it with logical sense and rationality. Do not expose them to violence at a young age, making them think violence is fun and exciting. Instead, guide them about how to manage difficult situations when they are in schools or away from us. We have to teach our kids moral values and proper manners and home is the best place to start. A child is born to this world with a blank canvas. The family, the surroundings shape them to be who they are today. In a way, we are all responsible to create a safe environment for our kids as well as for all of us. Educate our kids about the kind of bullying that happens in this world and the measures they can take if they are bullied. Inform them about what to do in any case that a bullying occur and who they can go to. But most importantly, always be there for your kids. Create a safe space for them so they can speak freely to you with any problems they face, no matter how minor it is. You don’t necessarily have to be a parent to do this, you could be a sibling, a teacher, a friend, a school bus driver or even anyone. This is a shared duty we all carry to provide a safe nation for all. Reach out to as many people as we can and if you are unsure how you can help, direct them to those who knows how to.

Here are some questions for you. Have you ever been bullied ? How do you manage it ? Did you go to someone and talk about it or were you afraid to tell anyone ?

Click the link below for more information about the questions I mentioned:

shareyourstory

Morning from Budapest

Woke up today feeling at ease especially in a room filled with warm colors. The sunlight peaking through the curtains make it even more calming. It’s my third day in Budapest and I absolutely love this place, although I might say the same thing for every place I visit. But it is indeed beautiful. Budapest city is made up of two sides with Danube River in between. Not only it has 2 sides of history and culture to offer but it’s also different at night. Everything is relatively near and its interesting what you can discover when you’re out on a stroll around the city.

Since exams are over, I’ve been doing a bit of catching up with the current environmental issues especially here in Budapest. It fascinates and disappoints me at the same time to see what’s been going on around the world with regards to the environment. So here’s a bit of the information I got while I was leisurely enjoying the sun (or more like the bed) in Budapest.

On the 5th of June we human beings celebrated World Environment’s Day. I’m sure nobody missed this because it was trending everywhere on social media and there were news coverages about it too. I also read that US big players such as Google and Apple are joining forces to work towards their commitment in the Climate Change agreement. While Trump wanted out, it’s comforting to know that many US citizens are fighting his decisions and willing to come together for the purpose of making a better environment. But it saddens me to see that even environmental issues are highly influenced by politics when it is definitely every person’s responsibility to preserve and keep the environment in a healthy state. With so many challenges to protect our environment, the World Environment’s Day was indeed needed to bring people together and to instil awareness on the importance of keeping mother nature alive. People all over the world joined in celebrating the richness of earth by exploring nature and participating in environmental activities. Many organizations celebrated by holding conferences, events, competitions and setting trends on social media. It was really good to see everyone spirited about the environment and we must keep the momentum going. We can’t just celebrate for a day and expect the environment to heal on its own.

I also had a read on the passing of our Sumatran rhino in Malaysia. It is such a devastating news and with Puntung gone, Malaysia is left with only 2 Sumatran rhinos which is so close to extinction in Malaysia. Even in Indonesia, there are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos left. While Puntung’s death was to resolve it from going through suffering of chemotherapy and other pain, it is not doubt that the low number of Sumatran rhino population remains as a major concern for environmental workers in Malaysia. Protecting endangered species have always been a challenge in Malaysia especially when we are home to a diverse range of wildlife. Early last year, the news exploded when we lost more than 3 tigers within a month due to animal traps, accidents and poaching. That did not include other events, particularly animal trafficking and poaching that is constantly occuring not only in Malaysia but within the Southeast Asia region. While we don’t see the importance of protecting the wildlife, it is our duty to keep the balance in place. The wildlife is a source of contentment and happiness. It is in this world for reasons we might never know. But like every other creature on this planet, it is not our place to wipe them out so we can take over. They exist just like why the sky and sun exist. It is part of nature. The wildlife teaches us compassion and empathy on how to coexist in peace.

Apart from wildlife issues which are a constant worry, I’ve also been searching for ideas on how we can recycle things and remake them to be useful! While browsing through, I found a video about the typical paper cups we use to have hot drinks which are labeled as recyclable but often they are not recycled because of the high cost to remove a layer of wax from the cups. How surprising isn’t it ?! Of course when I get home I’ll be doing more research on that to fully understand the issue. I also found a few ideas that transforms plastic and old clothes to yarns so that it can be reused for weaving and knitting purposes. Since I love doing artsy stuff I had so much fun discovering all these ideas. I even made a few to-do list once I’m back at home. While this might not be contributing much to the amount of waste we humans generate every second, I really do hope that bit by bit we can instil awareness especially in Malaysia about the effects of wastage and how it pollutes our land, water, soil, air and many more. A polluted environment is definitely worrisome as it affects our health in general.

Also, I think this was old news as I read it a few months ago but there was a argument about the ban of plastic bags in Selangor, a state in Malaysia. While the ban of plastic bags was a common practice in other developed countries, not everyone took it well in Malaysia. The reaction towards this ban was also quite different. People were more willing to pay extra 20 cents to have the plastic bag for convenience. Since the ban was in place, the consumption of plastic bags for rubbish bins increased as well. The reason behind this was because many people used to recycle the plastic bags as waste bags but now they need to purchase as they can’t recycle the plastic bags anymore. While implementing ban for plastic bag had a good objective behind it, I think we should have also offered suggestions for solutions to the possible problems that comes with it. It is also important to educate why the ban of plastic bag is needed and how people can change their lifestyle to adapt to this new regulation. Alternative materials should be ready to act as substitute to plastic bags and we have to make it accessible for people to obtain them. Perhaps a short and long term campaign should have taken place so that it creates a sense of responsibility and encouragement for people to adhere to the new change in regulation. The objective of the ban is definitely a good effort but we could definitely improve more of creating awareness and getting more people to willingly pledge to the ban rather than enforce it to them.

With all the readings I did while in Budapest, it occured to me tht although we do have people fighting for the environment in Malaysia, it is not enough. It is not only protecting wildlife but also in our daily lifestyle. Although it is not easy, we could try to slowly change by constantly educating ourselves. Businesses and large organizations play an important role in shaping the lifestyle of our community too. It is so important to create awareness where possible and to learn about sustainability whenever we can.

Reasons why we do it.

When I was younger, I often wondered why people would put in so much effort in volunteering. I mean, I’m obviously not a little devil that goes around not helping people, all arrogant and superior about being charitable I just wonder what motivates others to go all the way and extend not just a hand but probably their whole body, time and energy to help others. And I think, somehow after some personal volunteering experiences I have an answer that probably did not cross only my mind, but some of you out there too.

We do it because we are able to. It makes you feel good that you are doing something meaningful with what you have. Then, along the way you become passionate about it because a ball of positivity in your daily life will gradually accumulate to be a big bundle of sunshine. We volunteer because we have the power to change not only our lives, but also to make an impact in others. As we grow older, we tend to have a better grasp of our live and we know we are in control of what we do, what we believe in and what we choose to change. That is why, the news we read that were just news to us when we were younger, becomes something important as we grow older. Because we see how we can change what we don’t like or agree. And trust me, volunteering teaches you a lot without even you realizing it.

As a volunteer, you learn to be aware and attentive to your surrounding. You learn that in life, some people are born with privileges and some less so. The environment, on the other hand seems fine but is probably crumbling way faster than it used to. You learn to be attentive when talking to people, to be more sensitive about their situation because not everyone had rainbows while growing up. You cry because somewhere out there, there are people who sleeps in fear wondering if they’ll wake up to see the sun tomorrow. You used to think that animals feel nothing but now you see that animals need a proper home just like us and we are stealing it from them. As volunteers, you open your eyes to see beyond the noise. You learn why things are not the way it is  and the challenges some people face to put it out there on what is right and what is wrong. And I think there are many events that will really touch your heart, change the way you see the world and just makes you fall in love a bit more in helping others. So you become passionate about it. You love the fact that the little things you do impact others and in a way it impacts yourself too.

It’s one of the reasons why I joined all the things I’ve been involved. The curiosity about tigers lead me to watching how they were hunted, hurt in their own home because lack of protection. Once you’ve seen it how can you go back and think that it’s okay ? Because clearly it is not. So you start seeing what is it you can do to help and even if the progress is slow, you know that it’ll get there one day and that you should fight for what you believe in, your principals and how you envision the world to be.

Making that step to change is your choice. It isn’t a choice that requires courage to enter a job interview, but it does need motivation and perseverance. Know that your efforts are never in vain and that your little efforts will always, always impact on something. Be passionate about helping others , do something meaningful and explore the world in a different perspective. You never know what you will discover while you’re on your volunteering journey.

Here’s a current volunteer programme I’m involved in, The Kalsom Movement; a student led charity organization on eliminating education inequality and empowering children in Malaysia through education which I would like to share with the whole WORLD . Know that no matter where you are, what you do, you can make a difference. You can change a child’s future through education and only you can decide if you want to impact a life or not.

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