Friday, November 30, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 29 Nov 2007

  • wishing i can go for the UN conference in Bali next month. Unfortunately, only the youth representative gets to go. This mentor doesn't.
  • bought a $10 dress to be the "bridesmaid" and emcee for my cousin's wedding. talk about beating consumerism! yay!
  • lights out was spend bathing in dark, dinner and errands outside then walked back from the mall. prob din offset anythin but what a workout!
  • @budak walked all the way from downtown to little india for green drinks and offset all our carbon emission. bravo! i need to walk more.
  • my sister complaining abt the frustration of her friends not willing to sacrifice comfort for environmentally friendly behavior. how true

Read full article here

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Wildlife trade in Singapore"

The volunteer guides of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research will be holding a one-day charity, gallery guiding event in aid of Acres Wildlife Rescue Center on 8th December 2007 (Saturday).

Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Public Gallery

The main purpose of this event is to raise awareness on the wildlife trade while raising funds for the only wildlife rescue center in Singapore. The theme for our guided tour is the 'Wildlife trade in Singapore'. The guiding will be focused on the Wildlife Trade and Animal Welfare with guides to enthrall us with the various shady and appalling tricks of the wildlife trade.

ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre at night

Acres will also be present at this event. This event is being done free-of-charge and so visitors are encouraged to donate whatever they choose to the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Center. This is a special, one time Gallery event focusing on the plight of animals, so do come for a tour of a natural history museum and show your support for Acres (

This is a free and easy guiding session and visitors are welcome at their own time.

Date: 8th Dec 2007 (Saturday)
Time: 10am- 3pm
Venue: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR), Department of Biological Sciences, 6 Science Drive 2, #03-01, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore
Cost: Donations

Please express your interest and RSVP the number of people attending and a contact person by 3rd Dec so that we will be able to make the necessary arrangements. For further queries please contact Nanthinee at or 91279479.

Read full article here

Daily Green Actions: 28 Nov 2007

  • resisted taking taxi to sign up for driving class but i made ria drive to bukit batok to pick me up. better than i take taxi to meet her?
  • spent lights out at the Green Drinks Singapore meeting. Met some readers of the blog. Hello!
  • last time driving is all about the smog & pollution. these days, people only talk about carbon emissions from driving. spot the trend!
  • knowing how to drive does not mean that I have to drive everyday from my house to the groccery store. i'm not going to be a c02 emitter!
  • on my way to sign up for driving lessons now. After resisting for 26 years, i've finally recognize that driving is an essential skill.
  • attending Green Drinks tonight. hopefully we can get some networking going on here
  • left the computer on overnight, downloading game. last night left tv on and fell asleep. *sigh* what a waste

Read full article here

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 27 Nov 2007

  • lights out today spent out of home and office, having a long meeting for IYOR08. i did turn lights/aircon off before i left. its war!
  • having an aircon war with my office-mate. he left the office lights and aircon on at 22degC today! RAWR!
  • the weather is perfect for enjoying the cool morning with its refreshing wind and rain. natural air conditioning!

Read full article here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 26 Nov 2007

  • Gave up after 10 minutes of stalking the trees where I know the owl hangs out. Next time I shall record the call and get it identified
  • today's light out I shall go owl "hunting" :) Hopefully I can finally see the owl I hear so often every evening
  • the time is 7pm and the resident spotted wood owl is out and about, right on time, with its resonating hoot, reminding me its lights out!
  • resisted shopping at kinokuniya but took a cab to the environment talk which was rather disappointing.
  • The My Paper article about recycling is out. Sounds ok. Uploaded pdf on server
  • Going for a talk by Frank Macdonald, Irish Times Environment Editor on Media and the environment at 12 noon, SIIA House.
  • Finally turned the aircon on after 2 weeks of abstinence. the weather has simply gotten unbearably hot and humid. sigh

Read full article here

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 25 Nov 2007

  • there was no lights out today because my whole family was at home from 7-9pm and it's impossible to suggest the concept to them. sigh
  • spent a productive morning discussing new projects and killing some off to better manage my time and studies. now going to botanic gardens
  • people have questioned my use of candles during lights out. honestly i would prefer if i have those solar powered lamps I mentioned.

Read full article here

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Daily Green Actions: Buy Nothing Day

  • it is really a challenge finding alternative things to do away from television, computer and mobile phone. I actually suffer from withdrawal
  • Today's lights out was spent bathing and cooking dinner in candlelight; dinner on the bench outside my house and strolling in full moonlight
  • going offline for lights out today. 1st time in a week that Im finally going to totally not use any electricity! Bathing in the dark is fun!
  • Thanks to the carnival, I felt so reconnected and decided to take a detour along the river (canalized of cos) on the way home. rejuvenated!
  • The Lapiz Lazuli Light Carnival was inspirational. I bought portable reusable chopsticks. It's buy nothing day but I dun feel guilty!
  • Happy Buy Nothing Day. Have you succumbed to black friday yet? I hope not.

Read full article here

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 23 Nov 2007

  • I have to stop spending lights out every day in front of the computer, even if laptop is batt-powered and not using any direct electricity.
  • Planning my Buy Nothing Day activities for tomorrow. Going to attend the Lapiz Lazuli Green Carnival and make our own picnic food with evie
  • almost forgot about light out but now in darkness, listening to the resident owl hooting from nearby trees, playing scrabble on computer
  • My name is monkey. I am a wasteful consumer, disconnected from production and enjoy urban conveniences without considering consequences.
  • sadly the first step of any rehabilitation program like alcoholic anonymous is to FIRST acknowledge you have a problem.
  • sick of thinking about my every move and assessing if its "eco-friendly" but my lifestyle is just too entrenched in wasteful habits. *cry*
  • the only fallback of not turning on my lights is that my coworkers think im not in the office but leaving window open in empty room! sigh
  • normally my office lights would be on all day, during daylight hours as well. today it's been off since 7am. Lights out all the way!
  • It's 7am and I'm in my office after dropping off my guest at the airport. Realized that since I'm going to nap, might as well off the lights

Read full article here

USA Black Friday

Buy Nothing Day is precisely a response to Black Friday.

Black Friday is so called not because of dooms and glooms but because in the US, every retail business would be in the "blacks", making a profit. It is the only day in the whole year where every business is guaranteed to make money.

Why? Just watch the video above and you can guess why. And it is precisely Black Friday that Buy Nothing Day came into existence. To curb this kind of extreme consumerism in ONE DAY. I guess it's like After Christmas Sales for us or perhaps the Great Singapore Sale. One month of consumerism madness. Perhaps there should be a local Buy Nothing Day targeted at our consumer quirks.

Today I will be spending Buy Nothing Day at Fort Caning. Lapiz Lazuli Light is having a Holistic Health Green Carnival called "an ant's endeavor to move a tree". Although it's not a problem for me to resist buying really cool things, I suspect I will be spending most of my time trying to persuade my friend not to succumb to the allure. Unfortunately as she reminded me, we're supposed to be there to support the cause. We'll see. Anywho, we have made a home-made lunch to picnic at the park later. That should be fun :) We've made sure we didn't use any luxurious ingredients. Having an Indonesian food theme picnic later!

Read full article here

Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy Nothing Day

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day in Singapore. A project that started in Canada as an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. It is usually held a day after Thanksgiving on 23 Nov - a mega shopping date for consumers in North America. A day of cheap sales and buying things you never need.

Sounds familiar?

Internationally, Buy Nothing Day is observed on 24 Nov 2007. Although there are no flash mobs or conspicuous protests organized in Singapore, everybody can participate by not participating.

Resist the taunt and temptation of consumerism on buy nothing day this saturday, 24 Nov 2007! Buy nothing more than bare necessities. Reflect on your shopping habits. Think!

Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Singapore, a season for shopping we could relate to more would be the upcoming Christmas holiday. A season of buying and buying. Thus you would be happy to know that in addition to Buy Nothing Day, there is Buy Nothing Christmas!

To be honest, I am, like you, deeply entrenched in our urbanite consumerist lifestyle. I am deeply dependent on buying buying and more buying. We use and we waste without a blink of an eye. Most of us don't know or don't care how our daily essentials are produced. We like our comforts and our conveniences. We buy exorbitantly priced consumer items because the magazine says its now a trendy status symbol and fashionable statement. We buy cute adorable ornaments that serves no purpose. We succumb to advertising. We buy things that we don't need.

Yes I am guilty of all of the above.

My Daily Green Actions project has honestly been very tiring for me because I now have to make myself to face all my every little action. I am making myself more responsible for my own actions. To stop, think and reflect.

But like how alcoholism is treated, combatting consumerism begins with a single step. Acknowledging the problem and taking responsibilities for our own actions!

My name is monkey. I am a wasteful consumer, disconnected from production and enjoy urban conveniences without considering consequences.
Join me in taking this first step! You will not be alone. More than 170 people have pledged their support for Buy Nothing Day in Singapore on facebook alone.

Related News:

End of the High Street hunter-gatherer?, BBC News, 23 Nov 2007

Read full article here

Daily Green Actions: 22 Nov 2007

  • despite the fact that my bus was stopped in front of us at the busstop, we decided to walk home.
  • listening to cricket song through the open window. what's that annoying typing sound? oh wait, that's me typing this on the computer.
  • back at my office before lights out is over for the day so im here in my office, in the dark, a/c off, windows on, computer sadly on
  • caused quite a stir at the presentation reception when I refused to eat the food coz they were using styrofoam plates. napkin & eclairs 4 me
  • tonight's light out will again be spent outside of home or office. I'll be attending a presentation of campaigns for environmental issues
  • encountered disposable chopsticks at the sushi restaurant at lunch. i'm beginning to see a trend. Either I bring my own or avoid jap food
  • Overwhelming number of comments on my blog. Definitely a first. Enjoy the readership but I am trying very hard to keep up with replies.

Read full article here

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 21 Nov 2007

  • Used disposable chopsticks at ramen dinner tonight and @evie pointed it out to me. That's what happen when I don't practice what I preach!
  • Spent lights out from 7-9pm outside again. I am not sure this fulfills the spirit of lights out. I am consuming public lighting/electricity
  • my sis just told me that she intend not to buy any new things for her baby. Reuse and reduce! Anybody has baby things to give away? :)
  • recently i've been working very hard at starting a new environmental outfit/network at connecting people. too many ideas for 140 chars
  • If we really must give gifts, how about saving an acre of forest in the name of your loved ones? I did.
  • convinced my officemate to join me in aircon-free, natural wind ventilated monsoon comforts. My house guest also join me in airconfree sleep
  • Just received a circulated invitation to the TV studio recording of CNN Future Summit: Saving Planet Earth in Singapore. Should be fun.
  • Blogger added me as a "blog of note" and suddenly I got an overwhelming amount of support. Thank you! http://blogsofnote.blogspot...

Read full article here

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poll: What do you think of Haha Crabs?

Haha Crabs are hermit crabs in painted shells being sold as pets in Singapore. Read more at: Haha Crabs Website

Read full article here

Listed by Blogger's Blogs of Note

The Midnight Monkey Monitor has been 'discovered' by the Blogger Team and listed as their "blog of note" as of 20 November 2007!

Blogs of note started as the "blog of the week" feature on blogger's main page. These are "Interesting and noteworthy Blogger-powered blogs, compiled by the Blogger Team" which you can find on the sidebar in your blogger dashboard or on the main login page of Naturally, you can also find it on the blogs of note blog!

I had no idea I was being listed until this morning when I was checking my email and suddenly saw a barrage of very supportive comments on my new blog posts and on my daily green action project posts. As most of my readers are usually local, I was wondering where this sudden influx of international visitors came from.

I checked and saw 2000+ visits when I normally get 80! [current check: 3600+ page views and 3000 readers] Checking sitemeter saw that most of these came from

That's when I found out! Shocking! I really wonder how Blogger found me.

I really want to thank everybody who have visited, read, and left me a comment! Thank you so much for your support. This has really given me a boost of energy, inspiration and motivation to continue with my projects and writing. And of course, thank you Blogger Team! :)

Hopefully this outreach to readers will soon spread to Singaporeans who are the core of my target readers since much of this blog revolves around environmental awareness and issues in Singapore. Now that I got the attention of the world, hopefully I'll get the attention of singaporeans soon!

Thank you and Welcome, O' readers from all over the world. Do check back often! Subscribe my RSS feed or join mybloglog community!

Thanks to Kevin for submitting the news to!

Read full article here

Daily Green Actions: 20 Nov 2007

  • A reporter from My Paper called me today asking about singaporeans and recycling. I was distracted during the convo. Hope she calls back tmr
  • spent lights out tonight at the members networking event for the singapore institute of international affairs. got to know the CSR asia ppl
  • Excessive traveling in taxis today. feeling extremely guilty
  • I always bring my own mug to the canteen so I can avoid straw and disposable cups. The drink stall uncles greets me with "no straw ice tea?"
  • No aircon at the office for me. Enjoying the natural chill of monsoon weather. Intriguing the attention of many colleagues.

Read full article here

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 19 Nov 2007

  • sitting in the dark in my office, air con off, windows open but working on computer, sadly. computer monitor on minimum brightness
  • not sure what to do for lights out today. have to work on an assignment but cannot use computer / electricity?! *wails* woe and torture
  • writing about the students who won a prize for creating birds nest ice cream. what's next? sharks fin ice cream? dolphin burger? cat satay?
  • After seriously pondering the Buy Nothing Day, I think even I need to impose stricter standards on my own mindset. No brands, No luxury!
  • The real challenge in Buy Nothing Christmas is why do we even need to give gifts at all? How about just being with loved ones?
  • These solar-powered lamps are perfect for my lights out project!
  • thinking of alternative gifts for Buy Nothing Christmas. Instead of buying gifts, I'll design my own e-cards and make bags from old clothes

Read full article here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 18 Nov 2007

  • Buy Nothing Day Singapore is going to be held on Saturday 24 Nov. Unfortunately no action planned so far
  • Today's light out from 7-9pm, I will be at a restaurant with family celebrating belatedly my birthday. No electricity use at my house.
  • Spent the day looking through grants, ideas of co-operatives and micro-financing for green groups.
  • Got the help of @evehow to calculate the amount of carbon emission from a 40W light bulb for one hour. In 365 days, I can save 116800grams!
  • Coming up with ideas to make a possible Lights Out Singapore event not just climate change-oriented but integrate other issues

Read full article here

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 17 Nov 2007

  • spent my lights-out hour from 7-9pm walking, reading and having dinner. I didnt use electricity but I was in lighted areas. does that count?
  • For those who know me, I'm such a computer geek, this project means no tv and no computers for me for 1 hour at prime time. its a torture!
  • I think this is a good project for the Daily Green Action series. But I'll see if I can survive 1 week. No electricity use from 8-9pm.
  • the idea of lightsout is to have lots of people to make a difference. I am just 1 monkey but If i do this for 365 nights, it rep 365 people.
  • In addition to Lights Out America, there is the Candle Night project in Japan and Asia We should have one here
  • Should I read or paint by candlelight or go downstairs, walk to the lake in the moonlight and check out the stars?
  • Lights Out will only be meaningful if large number of people do it together at the same time. But tonight, how can I make it meaningful?
  • Planning a lights-out tonight. http://www.lightsoutamerica... It is also this month's Green Thing to Do http://www.dothegreenthing....
  • Working on the International Year of the Reefs 2008 Singapore website right now.
  • Blogging about the recent local air pollution caused haze in Singapore. Will they finally wake up to the issue or blame it on poor air circ?

Read full article here

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 16 Nov 2007

  • Resisted the overwhelming urge to take a taxi and came to school via public transport instead. changing lifestyle is so difficult!
  • must remind myself not to leave the fan on in the room when im not in it!
  • Hard to be doing anything green when one is sitting in front of the computer all day playing games. wasting electricity. must stop it today!

Read full article here

Air Pollution hits the news

Finally, the unequivocal truth about air pollution in Singapore hits the news.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 83 – within the moderate range – at 4pm on Thursday. Residents from Bukit Panjang, Ang Mo Kio and Bishan called the Channel NewsAsia hotline to say that the sky was hazy. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it was due to the poor dispersion of air pollutants. The pollutants accumulate because of light wind conditions during the current Inter-Monsoon period. NEA added that the haze should clear when the wind conditions improve.
Dear friends and countrymen, air pollution is an issue in Singapore!

In June 2007, I encountered this horrific scene [above] of a layer of smog overhanging our southern islands and the west of Singapore. At the time, my climatologist friend explains that this is due to the fact that we were in inter-monsoon period where there is no wind to carry the smog away. Usually the haze brings pollutants from other countries to Singapore for finally, Singaporeans are seeing our nifty handicraft in our own country.

I do very much feel like gloating but does it take a large number of people to call the news before such things would be addressed? If we continue to not respond, then would the government continue to not address the issue?

Then again, they blame it on the weather. Oh it's because there are poor wind circulation now therefore you are experiencing the pollutants our factories are producing.

[Unspoken: We'll have fresh air as soon as the wind starts moving again and blow the air pollutant else where to other countries so you would not notice or remember that we actually are producing more and more SO2 every year]

Source: MEWR Key Environmental Statistics 2007 [pdf]. Click on image for full size

Let's not focus on the poor air circulation for a moment and ask why in the world do we have air pollutants in Singapore? We-have-the-best-air-quality-in-region Singapore? Where is it coming from? In fact we shouldn't be calling this the haze so as not to confuse ourselves with the transboundary haze. Call a smog... a smog.

Poor wind conditions cannot be the reason why we are experiencing the haze! People in Mexico and Los Angeles live in perpetual smog because of poor air circulation! Their cities are in a bowl where the smog cannot escape from the valley. That is what I called poor air circulation. But because of that, people wake up to the idea that they are creating the problem because they cannot run away from it. I'm not even going to talk about particulate matter pollution in Singapore. According to MEWR we haven't even met the US EPA standards but apparently most of it comes from diesel vehicles and they aim to reduce by 2014.

Source: MEWR State of Env Report 2005

Please, let's stop running away from the truth. We have air pollution problems. We produce air pollutants in Singapore. What can we do about it? While most of the problems are produced by industries, it would do us all good to be aware of the problem. We cannot run away from it. It will be back.

Forgive me for this utterly angst-filled post but perhaps this monkey is simply tired of hearing about our wonderful air quality. We have the utter belief that Singapore is perfect-o. Not a blemish. Do we need to see severe symptoms before people will wake up to the truth? I rather not! What will awareness do for us? More awareness could mean more people calling the news, calling the government out on the fact. More awareness could also mean more fatalistic resignation like how I am when I see the scene captured in photos above. But it also means I am writing about it now.

The government is not hiding the fact that we have pollution. In the State of Environment reports, and the environmental statistics publications, it is clearly written. However, how many of us read them? But should we resign ourselves to the fact that we need those industries and therefore we must have the accompanying air pollution? How about being more selective in our choice of industries or greening our industries even more? How about tapping into the alternative energy or environmental technologies sector? As they love to say, "we have the abilities to become leaders in the region in this field".

Should we question why we have such excellent air quality if not for our fantastic geography? Where is our pollutant going to normally? Indonesia? Riau Province? Sumatra? Johor? Or just dissipated?

Yes I admit that Singapore government works very hard at controlling air pollution in Singapore. But let's not rest on our laurels. Low crime does not mean no crime! In the 2005 MEWR State of Environment report, it says that one of the challenges for Singapore is the rapid increase in industries. In fact, it writes that the key contributors of Sulphur Dioxide in Singapore is the oil refinery sector and guess what? We just got ExxonMobil to start a massive new petrochemical project on Jurong Island. For the uninitiated, Sulphur Dioxide is one of the key ingredient for photochemical smog and acid rain!

Let's not even talk about global warming and climate change. Rest assured, we can't run away from that either.
"[PM Lee] says: "We contribute less than 0.2 percent of all the carbon emission what we do in Singapore is not going to change the world. It is not possible for us to solve this problem on our own but we cannot say therefore we will ignore it. We will do our fair share as part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases." - Source: CNA
The prime minister thinks that because we contribute such a pittance of greenhouse gases to the climate change problem therefore the responsibilities should not rest on our shoulders. Well forget how it impacts the world! How about looking at how it would affect us? Climate change is a problem because it affects EVERYBODY. The little islands in the pacific ocean doesn't produce much problem but gets affected the worst! Little islands, ocean, sounds familiar? And we do produce problems. How are we changing the weather and climate over our own heads?

Meanwhile, the Minister for Trade and Industry said in an official press release:
"Singapore is a price taker for energy. We only account for about 0.15 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. As a small country, our efforts alone will not have much impact on climate change. We cannot volunteer to reduce emissions on our own, at the expense of economic growth. Nevertheless, as a responsible international citizen, we will do our fair share as part of the global effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions." - Source: MTI
What is with this sentiments that "Singapore will do its part to mitigate climate change but the country cannot afford to do so at the cost of its economic growth"? That is precisely why USA and Australia has not signed the Kyoto Protocol! Likewise, Singapore cannot afford to stop our economic growth therefore we'll have to live with the increase in Sulphur Dioxide as part of the necessary sacrifice for economic growth?

Meanwhile Singaporeans only get temporarily inconvenienced by this "haze". Does that mean people only face the truth when the smog gets stuck with us 365 days a year?

Talk about the "inconvenient truth".

Related Posts:
Is there Air Pollution in Singapore?, Midnight Monkey Monitor
Is there Air Pollution in Singapore?, Singapore Metroblogging
Smog - Now coming to the air near you!, Singapore Metroblogging

Read full article here

Friday, November 16, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 15 Nov 2007

  • Writing business plan for a sustainable social enterprise
  • Appointed as a mentor for the UNEP Tunza-South East Asia Youth Environment Network for Singapore. Now looking at nominees for a youth rep

Read full article here

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Daily Green Actions: Birthday Edition

14 November 2007

  • Good thing about the monsoon season is that the weather is so cooling that we don't need the air conditioning! use a fan!
  • excited at the idea of camping overnight on Ubin in the first weekend of December but remembered that it's the monsoon season! Very rainy!
  • the asiaisgreen website just reminded me that i should clean my aircon filter to make it more energy efficient!
  • one bad deed done today: i killed an american pitcher plant within a month of owning it. lesson learnt? do not keep exotic plants & animals!
  • have been climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift for 2 flights of stairs. taking the lift is like driving to get across the road.
  • Unfortunately I succumbed to taking a taxi to school today. eek!
  • Instead of printing 52 pages of text on 52 pieces of paper, I reduced it to 6 pieces by printing 4 pages in 1 and reducing font, spacing etc
  • First green thing I did on my birthday - make potpurri out of the roses I got from my fiance. That's good way to reuse and recycle :)

Read full article here

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


6 months ago, I started a crazy plan to raise fund for ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre during my birthday this year. Thus, the Monkey Animal Friends Fund was created.

ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre

You may recall reading about it on this blog. I even drew a very sweet monkey mascot for it.

My aim was to raise $6000 for the primate enclosure at the Wildlife Rescue Center. Thus instead of asking my friend to give me a present this year, I asked them to donate to the MAFF instead.

The insides of a monkey enclosure

While I was not able to raise $6000, I am proud to say that MAFF raised $1500. Today being my 26th birthday and the end of the MAFF fund raising project, I thought it would be a good time to write about the day MAFF spent at ACRES, helping to paint the monkey enclosure!

Monkey just finished painting the wall!

So on 4 November 2007, a group of monkey's animal friends trooped down to ACRES at 91 Jalan Lekar. Despite not being able to have our name on the primate enclosure, we were given the opportunity to paint it! The MAFF contingent sadly comprised mainly of Evie, Joe and myself. Hannah and her friend also came down but were doing separate tasks! Overall it was a really fun time.

The girls at work!

We even made our own sandwiches and japanese riceballs and picnicked at the wildlife rescue center! It was a good day spent outdoors, doing a good deed. Joe even got to save a few snails and frogs in the process of cleaning up the place!

Caught Joe in the act of eating the egg mayo sandwiches she made and Evie made those awesome onigiri

I also passed the $1500 to ACRES Executive Director, Louis, that morning. A few days ago, I received the receipt and a letter of thanks. It was really sweet seeing it addressed to the Monkey Animal Friends Fund. All of you who contributed, the animals thank you.

Before and After

While I would like to have said the Monkeys thank you, but the $1500 will go towards the reptile enclosure instead. So thankssss! The monitor lizards, iguanas and other snakesss thanksss yousss!

Even for those of us who are not reptile-inclined, I must say that they are just as important as the primates. In fact, they are often subject of the illegal pet trade and the problem is definitely bigger than primates, especially with them being less charismatic and all.

Other volunteers there that day!

Overall, I would say this is a meaningful way to spend my birthday with friends and animals. Thank you all again!

Photos from the day can be seen here.

Read full article here

Daily Green Actions: 13 Nov 2007

  • Trawling press releases at the moment to find a quote by Singapore leaders stating that they cannot forsake economic growth for environment
  • A little bird told me that there will soon be a biofuel-powered bus prowling the roads of NUS next year!
  • heard and saw a pair of very noisy white parrot-like birds outside the University Cultural Centre. Since when do we have resident parrots?
  • walked for about 15min from my office to the climate change talk by Prof CJ Somerville. Then walked home from MRT station. Feels good walkin
  • Concluded that Belinjo is indeed a most sustainable snack. The tree is grown in as windbreak, can live up to 100 years and high yielding!
  • Invited to be a regular contributor on the new SEC Youth Portal. I hope they wouldn't expect me to only write about climate change. boring.
  • reminding myself to bring chopsticks to school later so I will not succumb to disposables. I already have a fork/spoon and lunchbox in sch
  • working on the new WildSingapore blog reminds me of when I was a news intern with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures
  • @budak brought my attn to a new documentary movie King Corn which delves into the global food system check it out!

Read full article here

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 12 Nov 2007

  • Received a thank you letter from ACRES for the donation of $1500 that Monkey Animal Friends Fund raised for ACRES in the name of my birthday
  • Just read that there is now a Energy Studies Institute in my own university (NUS) and I didn't even hear about it!
  • Reading about oil spills around the world this month - first in california and now in Russia! What's up with that?
  • 4 primary school boys just came to my house to hand out dengue prevention flyers. they sure start them young these days.
  • Can anybody tell me how my Belinjo is cultivated? The Belinjo nut must come from somewhere. Is it plantation? large? monoculture? multicrop?
  • Recently addicted to Belinjo emping - vegetarian keropok! More sustainable than prawn crackers? Trying to find out how Belinjo is grown
  • writing my research proposal on studying the environmental implication of singapore's food import and feeling guilty for eating maggie mee
  • Saw the article about chopsticks brassieres which help remind people to bring their own chopsticks. No more disposable! Good reminder for me
  • Signed up to attend Green Drinks Singapore on 28 Nov. They have a list of lifestyle tips on their website too.
  • recycling etiquette: briefly rinsed my empty aluminum cans before putting them in the recycling bin to ensure cleanliness & keep pest away.

Read full article here

Monday, November 12, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 11 Nov 2007

Read full article here

Sunday, November 11, 2007

SEC Youth Portal

On 10 November 2007, Singapore Environment Council (SEC) launched their brand new Youth Portal. It is a fantastic resource of article, projects and even job listings!

I was also pleasantly surprised that my article for the latest issue of Elements (the SEC newsletter) has also been uploaded on the website. It is not even in pdf form but a web version. Very convenient. Too bad 90% of the photos are not included.

You can also find the interview with Ron and Grant on the Chek Jawa Boardwalk guided walks on the website as well. They also have a calendar of events that looks just like WildSingapore's calendar but less visually exciting. But what is more useful for people looking for seed funds, there is a whole list of funding opportunities! For those who are following my daily green actions, you may be interested to know that the website also has a list of green tips.

Despite this being a youth portal by SEC, I do hope that there would be more information about SEC's volunteer arm, the Green Volunteer Network (GVN) itself! Understandably this is not GVN's website but so much could be known about the effort by GVN on Pulau Ubin, especially the green house on Ubin built by GVN. I think there are a lot of people who would love to know more about it. Of course monkeys like me would love to have an easy link online to connect people to the green house. I guess I'll just have to write something up sometime soon!

Still, great effort on the youth portal. It looks like a very promising website. Hopefully people will put it to task and utilize it as it is meant to be!

Read full article here

Daily Green Actions: 10 Nov 2007

  • When we keep taking and not putting anything back in return, that is when collapse of populations and ecosystems occur, like overfishing
  • Are we severely affecting the ecosystem by demanding hermit crabs that cannot be bred in captivity as a pet? Always must catch from the wild
  • Spent the day discussing conservation ethics and complexities. species conservation vs ecology understanding and conservation. headache!
  • Sent a feedback complaint to NUS office of estate development that the aircon in the arts canteen feels colder than 25 deg Celsius!
  • Got an email query about my stand on haha crabs (hermit crabs in painted shells) and I just sent back a long reply. Think a FAQ is in order.
  • How much waste do you produce each day? I am making it my personal target to produce zero food & packaging waste at each meal every day.
  • Olio in NUS arts canteen only serve cold drinks in disposable cups so I ordered a hot drink in a reusable cup. I wish they will change that
  • A friend commented that Atlas Moth and the tree is good example of an increased need for further understanding of our local ecology
  • Atlas moth caterpillars reported on the front page of the chinese newspaper LHZB yesterday. Why the fuss? R S'poreans alienated from nature?
  • Have been using the fan instead of the aircon for the whole week. I wonder if this will reduce my electricity bill and carbon footprint!

Read full article here

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Daily Green Actions: 9 Nov 2007

  • Do Singaporeans knows or even cares to know where their food comes from?
  • Reading up on the water footprint. Did you know it takes 3400 litres to grow 1 kg of rice. I just consumed 1700 litres of water!
  • Is it environmentally irresponsible to be a picky eater? Does it matter if I pick the carrots out from my veggies just coz I don't like it?
  • Somebody asked: Does saving electricity and water count as going green? YES! It is a myth that Singapore is invulnerable to water scarcity!
  • If Ben and Jerry learnt how to make ice cream in a distance learning course - monkey can make ice cream!
  • Resisted buying bens and jerrys last night! they have lost their eco-friendly vision after bought over by Unilever. Now mere luxury goods
  • Office is freezing even though the aircon is set at 25C. Wondering if I should switch it off and just embrace natural ventilation!
  • Missed the collection date for national recycling program this week! Now there's a bulging bag of recyclables waiting for collection
  • Walked home from the MRT station. Walking is most sustainable. In Singapore, MRT is the least pollutive form of public transport!
  • What green action did you take today?

Read full article here

Friday, November 09, 2007

What green action did you take today?

A new project that tracks the "green actions" that I do (or do not do) each day, I hope to inspire greener lifestyles. It's not easy living sustainably but often, the littlest action matters. I'm no expert and I'm not perfect and I hope that by writing about my daily attempts at living conscientiously, I would be able to share some tips and the difficulties in living sustainably in Singapore.

Twitter / leafmonkey
Click for full size

I've started a new twitter account called leafmonkey and it will mainly record the daily things I try to do. I am sure many things are little things which we do daily but overlook or did not realize the importance. Along with things I do, I will also try to explain why certain things are important. All of it can be found on the twitter account.

Subscribe to the RSS feed of the twitter stream or if you are on twitter, simply follow leafmonkey and get updates on your twitter page! I have also added the updates on the sidebar of the leafmonkey blog. Check back often!

Why have I decided to start this project? It's really yet another attempt to talk about little things to do every day. But I realize that it really needs to begin with me. One way to make myself more conscientious in practicing what I preach is to be critical of my own lifestyle.

This project is not just about listing the things I've done. I think that's done all too often. You don't need to turn to me to find out what you can do for the environment or how to change your lifestyle. There are too many of those. But what I am really hoping is to share the process of changing our lifestyles. The trials and tribulations if you will. It's like one of those blogs that track how a person try to loose weight. Well this is the project that tries to track how a person can have a greener lifestyle in Singapore!

I look forward to it as a process of transparency and disclosure which will then help me become more responsible towards my daily actions. Environmentalists are not perfect. Most of us eat meat, and even drive! There has been reports on how Al Gore and some other environmental personalities in Singapore have giant utility bills. Well this monkey is not perfect either! There are lots of things I don't know and hopefully through this, people can send me comments and answers to questions I have! Likewise, I do hope to inspire and answer your questions. It's all a learning process so let's do it together! I look forward to hearing from anybody.

For those who are not twitter-savvy, I will be posting summaries of each week's daily actions on the blog. Remember to question me and make me question myself!

Read full article here

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Going Beyond Green

"A journey through the growth and change in nature and environmental conservation groups in Singapore from the eyes of an aspiring "environmentalist"."

Elements2007issue3.pdf (12 pages)

Last month, Xinyi, a college friend of mine who now works for SEC called me up asking if I would like to write an article for Elements, the Singapore Environment Council's newsletter. The article is to be about green groups in Singapore as well as this latest rise in nature bloggers. Since I had just conducted the blogging for nature workshop the day before, I couldn't be more excited. Besides, it's also very related to my honors thesis on nature conservation groups in Singapore.

However, they were looking for something not so academic and thus I decided to write it from a personal point of view. It does help that I'm actively deep in the mud. But of course only figuratively because for those who know me, this monkey prefer to stay away from the mud after sinking to my waist at Beting Bronok, in the middle of the sea! Another story for another day.

After harassing both Ria and Otterman to help me vet the article numerous times, I finally submitted it a few weeks ago. Shortly after, I gave a tutorial class on nature conservation in Singapore and the list of groups I cooked up for the article came in handy in the class!

Elements2007issue3.pdf (12 pages)

Today, I got an email from Xinyi informing me that the 2007 issue 3 of Elements is now pulished! You can read my article here [pdf] or pick up a copy of Elements. Of course to avoid creating a demand for dead trees, you can download the issue from their website. But since they are in the process of updating their website, you can download the issue here [pdf].

On page 8 and 9, you can also find an interview with GVN's Grant Periera and Naked Hermit Crab's Ron Yeo about guided walks at the Chek Jawa Boardwalk which opened on 07-07-2007!

Why "Going beyond green"? If you haven't gathered the answer from the article already, it's because groups are not longer just green! There are blue, brown, gray, and all other shades of the rainbow. There is a big move in diversification in groups and now the internet has given us a greater reach and a louder voice for the environment in general.

Read full article here

Friday, November 02, 2007

Top 5 Per Capita Carbon Emitting Countries

In 2005 when I was on exchange in the University of California Santa Barbara, I saw a large poster on the door of a professor. The poster consisted of a world map indicating the top 10 Carbon Emitters in the world. To my dismay and resigned disbelief, Singapore is one of them.

Since then, I have been trying to find the source of this information online. Even as I was working on Singapore's carbon emissions for my Environmental Issues assignment, I had difficulty finding proof.

However, today, I noticed this map on the climate change notice board outside my office.

Top 10 Per Capita Carbon Emitting Countries 2006

Finally! Proof that Singapore IS one of the top 10 per capita carbon emitting countries in the world. In fact, we are in the top 5! This is definitely a "first" that we do not want to be proud of.

Top 10 Per Capita Carbon Emission 2005
Source: Earth Policy Institute

In fact, according to the Earth Policy Institute headed by Lester Brown, Singapore was #2 in 2005. We must have gotten our act together in 2006 or that we simply increased our population. But then again, I do not know the source of the 2006 map so it's difficult to provide a fair comparison if they are calculated differently.

So how is it that I missed it before? Blame it on my lousy research skills but the interesting thing is that if you search for top carbon emitting countries, Singapore is far from the top! In fact, in terms of total, we do not produce that much. However, if you look in terms of per capita emission, meaning the amount of emission per person - taking the total emission of a country divided by its population - we immediately shoot right to the top!

Why? This is because for a very small nation, we produce a whole lot of carbon emission!

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So do not be fooled if people tell you that Singapore's carbon emission is really nothing compared to the rest of the world. Sure, it doesn't compare to China who has to deal with emissions of 1.3 billion people or the US who has 300 million eager consumers. In fact, most of Singapore's fuel consumption is from power generation (51%) and industry (31.7%). Our electricity consumption is also from industry (43%) and buildings (31%). Power generation and our oil refining industries are one of the biggest sources of carbon emission in Singapore. Singapore processes approximately 1.3 million barrels of oil in our refineries every day! Think about the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from that alone?

Population and Climate Change - Population Reference Bureau
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On the brighter note, the government is stepping up efforts to tackle Singapore's contribution to climate change through its E2PO taskforce. According to the E2PO publication, efficient power generation is one of its strategies. In fact, PowerSeraya Ltd "will commission an 800MW natural gas-fired co-generation plant by 2010 to replace its three oil-fired steam units. This... will help the company reduce its overall carbon dioxide emissions by a further 10% in addition to the 30% reduction over the last 10 years". Tuas Power and Gas Supply Pte Ltd also came up with a join project to develop the first 5MW trigeneration plant completed in October 2007 to reduce carbon emissions by 17% per annum. Another 9.2MW trigeneration facility will reduce carbon dioxide emission by 24% yearly. This is due to open in mid-2008.

I guess this might explain the fall in ranking by Singapore from 1996 to 2006! We have gone from #2 to #5. Hurray! But what happens when we build another oil refinery in the near future?

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Then again, these calculations are always problematic of course. If you noticed on the 2006 map, it states that Guam is the 10th highest per capita carbon dioxide emitter in the world. Guam is a small little island territory of USA in the north pacific with a population of 180,000 people and land area no bigger than Singapore. Unfortunately, due to the US military base on the island, Guam generates and consume more energy per person than Singapore does! The smaller the population, the higher chance of having a high per capita carbon emission.

Still, it is logical because one would not expect a small nation to be producing excessive amounts of carbon. Most of the top per capita emitters are usually countries dealing with oil and associated industries with very small population. Still you don't see Brunei on that list!

Read full article here