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The good, the bad and the ugly

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Kimi
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The good, the bad and the ugly

Postby Kimi » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 7:27 pm

I suppose this thread can invite flames, but please don't bring any here, as I expect to have a decent discussion here actually.
I was sort of inspired (huh?) to start the thread as on the WNDC last night, one attendee was just being silly it seems and for whatever reason she was burning a small plastic bag using the candle on the table.
The respond she got from the people who were voicing their opinion is that since they're Europeans, they care about their environment...

It was most likely just a coincidence that the person who was burning the plastic thingy is an Asian; however, the remark being a European who would care about the environment, seems to imply we who are not Europeans don't really care then? (yep me included, being a non-European that is).

I would have said something to stop the burning act that for one at least it doesn't smell nice and who knows what smoke we're breathing out of the plastic's flame can cause...
I didn't say anything as I to be honest was a little shocked to hear it from someone I least expect to say anything like that...

It's probably not a biggie, but I have a small faith thinking that the remark is made cause of a reason, even though probably it was just caused by a slipped tongue, certainly the thought was there and was there cause of a reason...

For one, if there has been an impression that heaps of Asian nations don't care about the environment, especially what are categorised to be third world countries in Asia, I still reckon it's rather an unfair remark to make...
The way I see it, when it comes to secondary things, such as extending oneself to be more cultural by being more active in artsy events or activities, do volunteer activities etc.; are the kind of things that are done by people who don't need to struggle only to survive or to be concern with the primary stuff, which is basically to feed oneself and the family or to go thru everyday life properly.
And so these things are considered to be some kind of luxury they can't afford by these people who need to pour all of their time, energy and whatever resources they have only to survive.

Ok, that sounds like a rant and probably it is... apologies...
I would appreciate heaps if there is no specific person is pinpointed such as who did the burning, who made the remark etc.
My question here is more of what are the good, the bad and the ugly of Asia and Singapore, people here have found or discovered.
And again no flame please... I'm quite sure nobody here is 14 or below ay?!

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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly

Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 9:20 pm

Kimi wrote:It was most likely just a coincidence that the person who was burning the plastic thingy is an Asian; however, the remark being a European who would care about the environment, seems to imply we who are not Europeans don't really care then?

hi Kimi,

i wasn't at the wndc and so have no idea who the people involved in that little scenario are, so i'm offering this as an objective 3rd party viewpoint:

in general, yes, europeans are more environmentally aware than asians, for the reasons you pointed out. essentially our economies are at different levels in maslow's hierarchy of needs. of course there are exceptions as always, but as a generalisation there is nothing wrong with openly recognising this or commenting on it.

if however what upset you was the perceived attitude behind that comment, ie one of european arrogance for lack of a better term, then just let it roll off your back. if it was not meant that way, then there's no point getting upset. and if it was, then there's even more reason to ignore it. foreigners who think they can come to asia and tell asians how to behave just don't get it yet.

like you said, it was just an off-hand remark meant either in jest or in well-meaning seriousness. no biggie. not worth straining relationships over ya?

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Postby Carpe Diem » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 9:43 pm

I can only agree with your wise comments...

Yes, we noticed you were not at the WNDC. Where have you been?? :x
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Postby dot dot dot » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:46 pm

It was me who made the remark, so I might as well now take the responsibility for it. :-|

I realise it may have been received as a quite harsh generalisation, but when coming from a country that has environmental issues high on its agenda and that is recycling almost everything possible, it is a bit frustrating to see how here in Singapore nothing is being done to recycle, and I must say I don't encounter any awareness on environmental issues here. I should have put it like that, but yep: my reaction was tongue in cheek and blunt.

Eric

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Postby sapphire » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 11:18 pm

Haha, this time even I have to, like CD, agree with WIMH, but at the same time I have the perfect opportunity to reprimand Eric! Too bad though, I'm sleepy as hell, so forget about it.

If it helps, it wasn't a plastic bag, it was cellophane.
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Postby Carpe Diem » Thu, 13 Oct 2005 11:25 pm

sapphire wrote:If it helps, it wasn't a plastic bag, it was cellophane.


A piece of cellophane, that you removed from below your chair, making the floor uneven, which had for result ,later, -in my absence- to make you fall from the said chair...

See what can happen when one is not taking care of our environment?

By the way: Who is Kimi? :devil:

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 8:21 am

Eric from the Netherlands wrote:coming from a country that has environmental issues high on its agenda and that is recycling almost everything possible, it is a bit frustrating to see how here in Singapore nothing is being done to recycle, and I must say I don't encounter any awareness on environmental issues here.

it will take time, eric. be patient with us. like kimi said, it's a matter of economic evolution.

already there are little pockets of recycling and environmental awareness. many households recycle newspapers and magazines. second shops are becoming more common. people like me decline plastic bags when shopping. some schools have recycling bins for cans, bottles, etc. sure we're nowhere near the levels of europe, but europe didn't get there overnight either.

ps: i'm trying to recycle some of my old clothes... would you like some mini-skirts? :P

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Postby dot dot dot » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 9:12 am

8.45 in the morning and Wimh made my day already! :D

I'd love to get all your mini-skirts!

For several reasons, one because once you are President, I will be proud to say I have the president's sexy clothings, two because of 'environmental awareness' cq recycling purposes and three because of... well... let's say personal interest... :P

Ok, after I recovered from this, on a more serious note.

I know that Singapore and other countries here in the region may have to evolute on environmental issues and recycling. At the same time I do see how technology here is so advanced. Singapore recently developed technology to turn water of our ocean into drinking water. The first country in the world to do so. The ERP system here is world class and an example for various metropoles around the world. Singapore is a country where the use of technology is world class.

Therefore the more frustrating it is to see that nothing here is being done for simple recycling of home garbage disposal. All condos here just have the squarish 'bin' at the kitchen, where everything is being dumped in. No separation or recycling. Glass bottles being thrown away all the time, not recycled or even separated.
Plastic bags for every single toothbrush being bought. Batteries and other chemical stuff being dumped in the bins (if not being thrown out of the carwindow, when driving on the PIE).

You are an exception Wimh, a welcome one, but still. It is about prioritizing Environmental issues. The government here is lacking, they seem to not put it high on their agenda. Maybe because it costs enormous amounts of money, whereas this government is more focussed on making money instead? Who knows?

I didnot have the intention to flame on Asians being so unaware of envrionment. But when being confronted with behaviour that in my eyes is not right, I do speak out. Not to offend the other person, but to tell my point of view on it. Like I said, it came out blunt, but it was not meant to be arrogant and 'look down on Asians'. It was meant to say one should never burn plastics.

And in the light of this debate on envrionment, here's some interesting articles, showing how much we need to change our attitude from consuming this planet towards living in balance with it:

Oct 14, 2005
Earth gets hotter as global warming takes hold

2005 is on track to become the hottest year on record

WASHINGTON - THIS year is on track to be the hottest on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures.

New data from Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated that this year's average temperature is 0.047 deg C higher than the previous record in 1998.

The temperature readings were taken from 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world.

The heat is being felt even in Singapore, where the average temperature so far this year has been 28.2 deg C. That is just a whisker lower than the record of 28.3 deg C in 1997 and 1998.

The temperature findings come on the back of other dramatic signs that the Earth is undergoing a big change.

Just a few weeks ago, scientists reported that the permanent Arctic ice cap has shrunk by a record amount. Unprecedented high ocean temperatures have also been recorded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Global temperatures this year are about 0.75 deg C above the average from 1950 to 1980, according to the Goddard analysis.

Worldwide temperatures in 1998 were 0.71 deg C above that 30-year average.

To put these figures in perspective, consider this: Before the recent spike, the planet's temperature rose by just 0.47 to 0.7 deg C over the past century.

The latest data shows that the Earth is warming more in the northern hemisphere, where the average 2005 temperature was 0.09 deg C above the 1998 level.

The cause of the heat is something scientists have been warning about for years: Global warming.

Many climatologists believe the rapid temperature rise over the past 50 years is driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities which have spewed carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases' into the atmosphere.

The rise in temperatures could prove catastrophic if left unchecked - rising sea levels could overwhelm low-lying areas, drought could afflict others, and diseases could proliferate because higher temperatures make it easier for viruses to incubate.

Rapid warming could also accelerate as heat continues to build up in the air, on land and in the sea.

The shrinkage of sea ice in the Arctic also makes it more likely that the northern hemisphere, which is already warming faster than the south, will be worse off, because open water absorbs much more heat from the sun than snow and ice.

Rising energy use to combat heatwaves could also make the problem worse.

Scientists say the increasing temperatures are not a surprise.

Atmospheric scientist David Rind from the Nasa centre said: 'At this point, people shouldn't be surprised this is happening.'

Noting that 2002, 2003 and last year were the second, third and fourth warmest years on record, he asked: 'Should we be surprised?

'We're putting a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and we're getting a lot higher temperatures.'

Dr Rind had more bad news: Scientists expect worldwide temperatures to rise another 0.47 deg C between 2000 and 2030, and an additional 0.94 and 1.88 deg C by 2100.

That, he said, makes this year's higher temperatures 'really small potatoes compared to what's to come'. -- WASHINGTON POST


and another one:

Oct 14, 2005
Orchard Road's red hot - and it's not about the sales

Skyscrapers, carbon emissions are making city centre hotter, says study
By Radha Basu

A NEW university study shows temperature differences between Singapore's urban core and its greener suburbs to be significantly higher than previously believed.

And with the urban sprawl spreading, much of Singapore may end up as a concrete cauldron - unless measures are taken soon to reduce the heat, say the researchers.

The study found that night-time temperatures in downtown Orchard Road were up to 7 deg C higher than those in Lim Chu Kang, the closest Singapore has to a rural hinterland.

The maximum temperature in Orchard Road was 30 deg C, while it was 23 deg C in Lim Chu Kang.

Previous studies done in the early 1980s, 1996 and 2002 had put the maximum temperature difference at between 4 and 5 deg C. But those studies monitored temperatures for a total of two weeks to a month, while the latest effort, by the National University of Singapore's (NUS) geography department, measured them continuously for an entire year.

Though cities are known to be hotter than less built-up areas, it surprised researchers that downtown Singapore, even with so much greenery, could trap so much heat, said Associate Professor Matthias Roth, who led the study.

'What's happening here is certainly a microcosm of what's happening and could happen worldwide,' he added, referring to growing concerns over global warming.

'And if we don't intervene, it will just get worse.'

A hotter city centre, scientists say, would spell trouble for rich and poor alike. Hot weather, besides being uncomfortable, is known to be a fertile breeding ground for a host of tropical viruses, including dengue.

The key culprits of the problem - referred to by scientists as 'urban heat islands' - are concrete skyscrapers and carbon emissions from air-conditioning and other industrial activities.

Concrete buildings trap vast quantities of heat during the day, which they spew back into the atmosphere at night, said Associate Professor Wong Nyuk Hien of NUS' department of building, who led one of the earlier studies.

Ironically, air-conditioning - with its compressors belching out heat - exacerbates the problem.

Prof Wong is working with the Government on ways to bring down the temperature. One is to plant more greenery around concrete monoliths to soak up excess heat.

Plants are known to absorb carbon dioxide - a by-product of air-conditioning and other industrial emissions - thus dissipating much of the heat.

One study in Japan showed that greening rooftops in Tokyo could help cut air-conditioning costs by as much as $1.6 million per day.

'Newer buildings are being designed with gardens not just at the rooftops, but also at mid-level floors,' said Prof Wong.

Nominated MP Geh Min, who has championed green issues in Parliament, said curbing air-conditioning use was another way this 'dangerous trend' could be stemmed.

'We are all familiar with the ridiculous situation where air-conditioned offices are so cold that we need to wear cardigans and shawls indoors.'


Eric

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Postby sapphire » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:07 am

Ok, I'll repeat, it was CELLOPHANE, not a PLASTIC BAG! Much ado about nothing, sheesh!

On a sidenote, maybe Singapore should also look at the umpteen number of buildings with glass facades which attract a lot of heat, resulting in high usage of power to keep the insides cool.
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Postby dot dot dot » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:31 am

cellophane is a plastic not to be burnt like it happened that night. Cool down honey, you are getting overheated, which will add to the global warming. :mrgreen:

Eric

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Postby sapphire » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:37 am

FYI, cellophane is not plastic! Agreed that it doesn't need to be burnt, but it aint plastic honey. I guess I should go take a cold shower now? :P
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Postby Carpe Diem » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:39 am

sapphire wrote:FYI, cellophane is not plastic! Agreed that it doesn't need to be burnt, but it aint plastic honey. I guess I should go take a cold shower now? :P


Agree!

Cellophane is made of processed cellulose. However, the use of the word "cellophane" has been genericized, and is often used informally to refer to a wide variety of plastic film products, even those not made of cellulose.

So did you check first?
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Postby sapphire » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:43 am

I did check after the whole brouhaha about it here, but I did know that it wasn't plastic. You people were too drunk to notice that it just curls up when exposed to fire, I love doing that, but its not like I do it every day! :roll:

P.S. And Kimi wasn't even really drinking! So much for being sober and observant! :roll:
Btw, CD, you guessed it right, I am Kimi! :P
It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you.

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Postby Carpe Diem » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:53 am

sapphire wrote:I did check after the whole brouhaha about it here, but I did know that it wasn't plastic. You people were too drunk to notice that it just curls up when exposed to fire, I love doing that, but its not like I do it every day! :roll:

P.S. And Kimi wasn't even really drinking! So much for being sober and observant! :roll:
Btw, CD, you guessed it right, I am Kimi! :P


Aren't you WIMH also? That would solve a lot of problems.
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Postby sapphire » Fri, 14 Oct 2005 11:00 am

CD, just for you I'll be WIMH also. :wink:
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