To Have A Love As Strong As Yours

Saturday. 19 December 1987. 6.05pm.

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Today would have been their 29th wedding anniversary.

I think I realised quite late how well my parents brought us up. 4 very different individuals who would stretch their patience differently. They still love us all the same.

I feel my parents also set the benchmark quite high, in terms of their length of relationship, and in terms of the love they have for each other and for us. While father was the main sole breadwinner, mama would be the main caretaker. In the past three years she had cancer, father tried all means to help her. In the last few weeks especially, he stayed up all (if not, most nights) taking care of her. For me, mama even delayed one of her chemo session a day later so she could attend the NEA awards ceremony. She even sent me off to the airport, even when she had difficulties breathing.

I see older female cousins divorcing, friends getting married and divorced. I think it subconsciously made me more choosy or careful the last 7 years, and that is why I was disappointed with myself for the choices I made recently. I had second thoughts and withdrew again- only this time, I couldn’t really feel anything.

“To have a love as strong as yours” – I still have lots more to learn.

 

 

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3 weeks in Morocco: Marrakech for COP22, El Jadida, Casablanca, and back to Marrakech

Morocco, Friday 4 to Friday 25 November 2016, (Moroccan time).
In pictures and short write-ups.
I have more things going on in my head, like the other stuff that happened while I was there- the bombings in Aleppo/ Syria, results of the US presidential elections, life in general,  perhaps for conversations in person.

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Friday 4 November 2016

(Only 4 and 5 November day-posts are long post. The rest are quite short, just highlights of the day kinda thing).

Flight from Singapore to Marrakech: I was on the same Qatar Airways flight as Sandeep from WWF. I was the first from the Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA) team of 4 to arrive in Marrakech. The rest would arrive later on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Sandeep and I had a Friday 2.05am flight from Singapore, and 18.5 hours later with the connecting flight in Doha (where I also met Kelvin from the Malaysian Youth Delegation team) and all, we would reach Marrakech on Friday 2.50pm. Marrakech is 8 hours behind Singapore.

Mobile in Marrakech: Upon exiting the Menara Aiport immigration, we found people giving out free SIM Cards from the Telco: Inwi (this was because of COP22). I took a card and found myself topping up 20 Dirham (around 2 Euros per week) for data. For some reason, my friends could use their phone as per normal while I could only get Facebook messenger, Whatsapp and Twitter function. Later I also realised other people could topup easily using the ‘call 120′ function but I could not because me using a Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 China version (I know I should have waited and gotten the Singapore version) was brought to an ’emergency call’ feature in China. Note to self to change phones when I can. As it is, this phone blocks out lots of Google apps function and I cannot use things like Google maps easily.

Transportation in Marrakech: For the travel between the airport and my first accommodation, I took a cab which was arranged for by the hostel. For a single trip like that, they charged us (Kelvin and I) 150 Dirham (15 Euros). I honestly thought it was expensive for a 20 minutes ride but went ahead with it because I did not want to waste time finding my way through the alleys later on. Subsequently, whenever I took cabs, it would cost me somewhere between 20 Dirham to 70 Dirham. The small cabs there can only take 3 people, and if you are travelling alone, do not be alarmed to find the taxis picking up other passengers along the way and charging the same amount or even lower from these passengers. There was one night where Lia and I wanted to go from the COP venue to the Climate Concert in El Harti Stadium- the first cab wanted to charge us 500 Dirham (he can f-off seriously), and the second cab which we took with another guy from Canada wanted to charge us 70 Dirham per person, although he already collected some money from the Canadian guy who dropped off like 1 minute earlier from us. This cab driver even locked the door till we paid him off. Lia being the stern person gave him 70 Dirham for 2 persons.  In comparison, when I went to El Jadida, I paid a flat rate of 10 Dirham from the train station to the town centre, and later in my travels I found myself using metred cabs. Likewise in Casablanca, there were metred cabs everywhere. I would later return to Marrakech near the end of my trip and learnt how to take the local bus- regardless of distance, the fare was only 4 Dirham per person.

Accommodation in Marrakech for 4-5 Nov: For my first two nights in Marrakech, I stayed in the same hostel as the Malaysian Youth Delegation; Hotel Aday. 111, Derb Sidi Bouloukat, Riad Zitoune Lakdim – Marrakech 40 000. It is a hostel really. I took a single bed-single room for myself.

Accommodation in Marrakech for 6-19 Nov: The group booking for SYCA would only start on Sunday 6 November; Riad Chennaoui. Riad Zitoune, Jdid Derb Sidi Fares, rue Bahia. We booked a family room for 5 beds but was given a room with 1 queen size bed and 4 single beds. (FYI: We booked  through Airbnb for a family room for 13 nights and split it equally between the 4 of us- so to us we paid for an entire room fully. I brought a friend to stay over one night and was later asked to pay for that friend because the bed was ‘not meant for her.’- Just a note to check and clarify arrangements on Airbnb and actual Riad owner).

The hostel and the Riad was about 20 minutes walking distance from each other. The Riad was about 15 minutes walk to Jemaa El Fna, a market place of sorts in Marrakech’s Old Medina. Lots of hostels and Riads are located in the Old Medina and within a walking distance to Jemaa El Fna. Meanwhile, most hotels are located to the west of the Old Medina- about 10 minutes taxi ride.

Accommodation in Marrakech for 20 Nov: Crashed friend’s hotel room.

Note on accommodation in Marrakech: What I paid for 1 night in that hostel was roughly 60% of the price of what I paid for 1 night in the Riad.  A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house- ours had an indoor courtyard, had 2 sleeping floors (roughly 10 rooms), and a rooftop. Breakfast was provided and the family was very hospitable, as with other Moroccans I met. Meanwhile, I later found out was I paid for the 13 nights at the Riad was equivalent to what a friend staying at a hotel was paying for 1 night, and of course getting the full amenities of a hotel. The point is, there are different types of accommodation and you get what you pay for.

On this note, the SYCA team was self-funded for COP21 held in Paris and COP22 held in Morocco. COP23 will be organised by Fiji and held in Bonn, Germany and COP24 will be hosted by Poland. Sponsors anyone? 😀

Saturday 5 November 2016

Meet Jasmin, Dulanga and Kevin, part of the Malaysian Youth Delegation team. We went to collect our badges on Saturday. Moon Moon and Nacha would join us the next night.

Note the two colours; Pink and Yellow. Pink = Party badges. Yellow = Observer badges. I think it was since last year that the MYD team worked closely with the government team, and this time round supporting their work at COP (like helping to manage the Country Pavilion, and emceeing some of the sessions) and learning about the negotiations (Party Overflow badges still allows one to enter rooms Observer badges cannot). Aside from Malaysia, the only other countries I know who allow youths to come up the Pink badges is Philippines and Brazil, although, I’m sure there’s a few others. Additionally, for Philippines, according to Rodne, 60-70% of their Party team is made up of members from the Civil Society, giving technical advice to the team. I think it’s fair to say I am thankful Singapore’s negotiating team (although I am only aware of 7? .. out of more than 30?) all have a certain academic background/ credential (hello Singapore civil service system) to be able to do their job well.

On this note, on Wednesday 16 November, some members from the Singapore civil society group met with 2 Singapore negotiators, on Friday 18 November, we had a breakfast meetup with Minister Masagos, and on Friday 2 December I had a chat with Emily from MYD 2015 team, and this Pink and Yellow badge/ youths in official delegation team came up. There are various pros and cos and after digesting everything, my personal opinion is a) There should be a distinction between government and civil society, each having a specific role, and free from influence of the other party and b) Both parties could work on better year-long collaboration, and not just towards/ at COP.

On a separate note, I heard some remarks like “Oh Country X spoke up so much last year on ABC but I didn’t hear them speaking up this year.” Chatting with a youth delegate from Country X later I found out it was because the main negotiator was not at COP22 and that the second negotiator was asked to keep quiet. Whatever the reasons, it reminded me of Yeb Sano who was removed from the Philippines team in COP20 after he made that fantastic speech/ cried/ fasted in COP19. Some negotiators can be quite vocal, and I believe for good reasons, and so it disappoints me slightly to know their governments would ask them to keep quiet and even remove them from the team. (Is this a good thing then that Singapore’s negotiating team are all so formal and ‘cold’ :/ … ).

(Special separate note: 5th November was also the day when I heard the azan (call to prayers) for the first time in Marrakech. I would hear this a few times the next 2 weeks, on days when I get back from COP to Jemaa El Fna. I would experience later on my 3rd week this trip to Marrakech became a spiritual journey of sorts for me too.)

Sunday 6 November 2016

Madhu would arrive later at night. COP22 Moroccan hospitality is amazing. They provided free shuttle service from the Casablanca airport into Marrakech (imagine a 3-4 hours drive from Casablanca, as opposed to 20 mins from the Marrakech airport into Jemaa El Fna), and they even provided free transfers to whatever accommodation one is staying at.  And since our Riad is about a 5 mins walk from the nearest carpark, they even called our Riad to make sure someone was there to pick Madhu up!

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Official start date of Week 1 at COP22.

 

Monday 7 November 2016

Breakfast at the Riad is provided. Each morning, we would be served a) Drinks: Orange Juice, Coffee, Fresh Milk (like I can literally smell it was fresh), Verveine Tea. b) Traditional pancakes: Baghrir (made from Semolina flour), Rghaif (imagine the Indian Prata, but more doughy) c) Dips: Honey, Butter, Apricot jam, d) Bread: The type of bread changes each day.

I had always suspected I am lactose-intolerant; drinking Milo for example, makes me go to the toilet within the hour. I also suspected I am gluten-intolerant; the most obvious episode was when I was in Jakarta two weeks before Marrakech, and for the entire week I was there, I was eating pancakes and breads each morning and had bloated stomach the entire time. The point is, basically, a Moroccan traditional breakfast or food for that matter, oh the couscous!,  was not doing my body any good. In fact, I even vomitted out what looked like milk curds on my second day. However, that did not stop me from eating them anyways. As long as it’s not fatal.

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Note on COP22 Space: Blue Zone- only people with badges, Green Zone- open to public. Blue Zone is where I will mention things like Negotiations/ Meetings, Side Events, Country Pavilions, Plenary Halls. Green Zone is where I will mention things like Innovation spaces and Civil Society spaces. There’s tons of things going on at COP. One just has to be clear why one wants to be at COP and want out of it. For me I wanted to follow APA and on ASEAN issues, as well as build the NGO networks for SYCA, so my highlights will be those things.

Below are some pictures inside the COP venue, at the Blue Zone- only people with badges can enter the Blue Zone.

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Green Zone- open to public. I think they tried to control the crowd and imposed a 1 person 2 days entry limit. By the end of week 1 I heard anyone can get badges on the spot to go as and when.

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Picture time! Madhu and I with some friends from Taiwan, Malaysia, and Kai Kim, a Singaporean who hasn’t really been in Singapore for the longest time!

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Tuesday 8 November 2016

Thai country pavilion “cup noodle diplomacy” (term courtesy of Melissa Low).

I have no idea why food inside COP has to be so expensive. On Monday we realised very quickly food was tagged to European prices- cold sandwiches and cold salads was going for 50 and 60 Dirhams, and hot food was going for around 130 Dirham. I had been in Marrakech since Friday and I can easily get a hot panini at a restaurant at 20 Dirham and in the alleys for 10 Dirhams. I had been eating local food, tagines, grilled meats, pizzas and paninis, and everything at Jemaa El Fna was about 1/3 the price at COP.  So on Tuesday, when Madhu and I saw this lady at the Thailand country pavilion with her cup noodles, we knew we had to ask cos a) Singaporeans and cheap food b) ASEAN diplomacy.

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Indonesia country pavilion Interfaith dialogue

I have more heart for ASEAN issues and ASEAN country pavilions. I hanged out more at the Malaysian and Indonesia pavilions. COP Blue Zone has their own Side Events yes. Also, Madhu and I realised each Country Pavilions also have their own events which may not be necessarily published online and thus each day we have fun exploring the Country Pavilion areas too.

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Tuesday was also the ‘urgh’ day for me at COP22. Long story short, at COP, in terms of negotiations/ meetings, there’s CMP, CMA, SBI, SBSTA and APA. The APA is something that was established when the world adopted the Paris Agreement on Dec 2015. I’m coming from this background where I went for pre Paris, Paris and post-Paris, and so, I was looking out for APA. So,  to know access to APA was restricted was ‘urgh’. Also there’s 9 NGO Constituencies under UNFCCC, and this year for COP22, a total of 8500 Observer Participants were admitted for the entire two weeks. I personally feel 2 representatives per constituency was ridiculous.

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Wednesday 9 November 2016

After finding out access to APA was restricted, I decided focus on Side Events. This was one of the Side Events sessions I went for.

Definition of a Farmer. I’ve not seen in explained this way before.

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Thursday 10 November 2016

COP has thematic days. Week 1 Thursdays at COP is always the Young and Future Generations Day. This was at the Arabian room for “How engaging youth actions are integral to implementing the Paris Agreement and Climate Justice.” Supporting Kristina from Japan and Zhinan from China.

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Asian Youth at COP22 impromptu lunch meetup at Restaurant 3! Philippines, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, Singapore youth here.

Prior to COP, I had started an excel sheet of Asian youths at COP. Bea from the Philippines initiated this first meetup.

My Baju Melayu (traditional Malay wear) moment with Jasmin from Malaysia.

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Kevin and Fossil of the Day awards. I knew of his existence in 2013  at Global Power Shift in Istanbul, Turkey when he was still with 350.org, and have since enjoyed watching him perform.

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Friday 11 November 2016

I decided to not go to COP and instead go to the Art Space hosted by 350.org. Being a volunteer Team Manager for 350 Singapore from 2012 to 2015 made me a bit more keen to do this.

So. Technically, I can do a 40 minutes walk (or something like that) from our Riad to the Art Space. But. Because I lost my sense of direction, I decided to take a cab from Jemaa El Fna. I asked the security guards at the bank there and one of them said it was some distance away and I have to take a cab, so I did. That driver then confidently took me to a park next to the COP venue, and that turned out to be an orange plantation.

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I then took another cab and this time round the driver brought me back to Jemaa El Fna and pointed me to a small alley and asked me to walk and continue asking people. So I did. For about 30 minutes.

It was only on the day before my flight back to Singapore that I would find out from a local friend that the country had brought in policemen from other parts of Morocco into Marrakech to guard some of these COP-busy areas. She was saying maybe that’s why the guard I asked did not really know where to direct me to. In addition, she was also saying they closed down some routes to make it convenient for COP shuttle buses and thus it was difficult for locals to get local buses at times. Logistic hassles of organising COP.

Back to the Art Space which was where I was meant to be at.. 

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One of my contribution for the day
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Getting the neighbourhood kids to join in30675645790_e79a3e3e62_o

Some youths from Scouts Association dropped by. They also came on Saturday for prep work, and then on Sunday for the Climate March.30941758376_46e863ba50_o

Other things happening at the park
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Pop-up permaculture workshop30888823961_3063510307_o

Street theatre that involved everyone. Not sure how regular this is.30888822771_dba3bf60e4_o

“we are on strike until our dignity and rights come back”

I didn’t have any background to this. What I could pick out was: Teacher Trainee Graduates are on strike because they are unemployed.

A few things came to mind: Why would a government train thousands of teachers only to not give them jobs? Why would anyone participate in strike and not choose to find alternative jobs? What is the freedom of expression like in Morocco (this strike is one thing, I’ve also seen people chanting and forming lines)? What would Singaporeans be fighting for, if we had a space like Jemaa El Fna, a square bustling with activities and thousands of people in one night, and if there were no restrictions as we have now?

The Jemaa El Fna square has been an interesting place, filled with food hawkers, goods, musicians, snake charmers with their cobras, adult monkeys (I have no idea what species) and just lots and lots of people, especially on a Friday night.

Sat 12 November 2016

I was at the Art Space again the whole day.

At night, I joined in the Asian Youth at COP22 dinner at Cafe Argana. Liu Jing from China- China Youth for Climate Action Network, studying in the States picked up the bill for everyone. This was like.. Asian diplomacy to the max.

Anyways, this was only half of the group. The other half.. were Chinese youth from Youthink Centre who was studying outside. Some of them were not even 18 years old (from my understanding you have to be at least 18 to go to COP).. so.. hmm they were probably spending time at the Green Zone.

After dinner, some of us went to the annual NGO party organised by Climate Action Network International. This year it was held at Sofitel. As with the last two parties I went to, it was crowded and fun.

Side note: A tall glass of fresh orange juice at Jemaa El Fna cost 4 Dirham. A glass of Minute Maid at Sofitel cost 100 Dirham. I honestly have not experienced such an extreme price difference in Singapore, so this was a shocker to me.

Side side note: I was with the Malaysian team the whole night and it was fun dancing for hours. In the last hour, we ended up at a spot near the exit. I saw some of the Singapore team leaving and shamelessly waved to them.
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Sun 13 November 2016

Some photos from the Climate March!

Sandeep and the WWF gang. I saw Manuel Pulgar Vidal whom I knew at COP20 President/ Peru’s former environment minister with WWF. It hit me then he is now WWF’s head of climate and energy.25341690489_22c166e79f_o

Idris and his Scouts Association friends.30977265995_4e4d8c3154_o

I took this pic. Cos. Palm Oil.30860701022_1e79a25a0e_o

Seen at COP22 Climate Justice March: “Women against climate change”. Emilia & Martha, part of crew of 50, cycled 1 month from Valentia.

At night. My favourite thing arrived. So.. on Monday when I saw how expensive COP food was, I asked Lia from Indonesia (she was only coming for Week 2 of COP) to bring in cup noodles for us. And she did. I don’t know who she stuffed all this + a few other items in her luggage,  but she did. This was another ASEAN cup noodle diplomacy moment.
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Ok. So now that I am done with Week 1 of COP.. and moving to Week 2 of COP.. this is me getting overwhelmed, so I’m picking out lots of tweets and embedding them here.

 

Mon 14 November 2016

Tuesday November 15

Asian Youth at COP22 Dinner at Cafe Dabachi. Thank you Wei-Hsiang from Taiwan for organising!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

First at the Indonesian Pavilion.. apparently Jeff Sachs is a good friend there and has a session every year.

Then, to the High-Level Segment.

In the late afternoon, we met up with Wei Min from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Santosh from the National Climate Change Secretariat.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Friday 18 November 2016

I have an entire thread on Palestine here.

The proceeding was a tad hilarous. Check out Climate Tracker’s tweets on Friday 18 November (may be seen 19 November if you are reading from Singapore here.

Now that COP has ended, here’s the start to the start of travelling and exploring Marrakech a bit more. I also went to El Jadida and Casablanca before coming back to Marrakech for my flight back to Singapore.

 

Saturday 19 November 2016

The SYCA team checked out of our Riad. Madhu, Cuifen and I went over to Mel’s place before heading out to Saadian tomb. After that Madhu had to leave and go back to Mumbai where she has been seconded to past few weeks, and Cuifen went back to the hotel to do some work. Mel and I continued with lunch with Theresa and the three of us then visited Bahia Place.. which is apparently 5 minutes away from our Riad, and for some reason I just did not have time visit past two weeks.

Saadian Tomb is a place which houses the graves of about 60 members of the 16th century Ahmad Al-Mansur royal family, and was only discovered in 1917. Meanwhile, Bahia Place is a palace built in the 19th century with large courtyard and garden spaces. I think if anything, the intricacy of the Moroccan architecture is something to be amazed by. Sadly, most of the information panels are in Arabic and French, and I could not read and appreciate the history behind the places there and there. (And I accidentally deleted pictures from 19 November..)

Side note on ATMs in Morocco: The previous night, I tried withdrawing money from the ATM at COP. It did not dispense any cash, and I received a notification from DBS to say there’s a withdrawal. I called DBS and they said the Moroccan bank made an instant refund. OK. Lesson learnt: Do not withdraw money at the end of an event.

The next night I was at Casablanca airport and tried to withdraw money too. Again, it did not dispense any cash, and I received a notification from DBS to say there’s a withdrawal. I called DBS and they said this time there’s no instant refund- they will help put up a request and this may take up to 50 days. Lesson learnt: Do not withdraw money at an airport on a Sunday night.

This also meant I only had cash from Week 1 and 2 leftover and had to be creative for Week 3.

Sunday 20 November 2016

It was a 10 minutes walk from Mel’s hotel to the Marrakech bus station. So.. at the bus station where I arrived around 11.30am, I saw there was a COP22 booth- the one where they provide free shuttle bus from Marrakech to Casablanca airport, but it was empty. I assumed the free shuttle service ended on Saturday. I got myself a train ticket from Marrakech to Casablanca airport for 85 Dirham I think, and had to wait for the 3.30pm bus. I hunged out at the cafe and got out at 3pm to check in my backpack, and luckily saw the COP22 booth open! They helped me get refund for the bus ticket and put me up in a shuttle bus that was a headed out to Casablanca airport at 4pm.

It was about a 3.5 hours bus ride, and I feel so bad right now, but I had a good chat with a delegate from a country I forgot. The point is, he was a student who just finished his Masters, and came to COP under a Party badge (not just Party Overflow), and I was like ‘huh, how is that even possible’.. but that’s how things are in some other countries.. they’re not that.. stringent. I mean, that’s a domestic guideline each country would have, sure, just that it made me think more about this differentiation between the Pink badge and the Yellow badge, and the role of individuals at COP.

At Casablanca airport, I got a train ticket to El Jadida, through Casa Voyageurs for 37 Dirham. It was about an hour’s journey.

In El Jadida, I stayed with Amina for two nights. This was my first meal at her house.

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Monday 21 November 2016

The next day I did some sight-seeing.

El Jadida is a port city. This cistern was built in the 16th century, is 34 metres by 34 metres and is made up of 5 rows of 5 columns. I have no idea why but I spent quite some time down there.

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I also walked across the Fort of Magazan. It’s this 8 metre high structure, with thick walls and 2 metre wide walkways, along the coast.
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Walking along the beach, I saw this church like building “Espace de la Memoire Historique de la Resistance et de la Liberation”. I recognised Memorial, History,  Resistance and Liberation. The entire first floor had photographs and artifacts I can only admire.

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I had lunch outside and was back home by afternoon. The entire time I was in Marrakech and eating out, I would always see men sitting at the cafes, drinking tea and looking out to the passerby, and I would always wonder- where are the women? At Amina’s house, I had my first ‘women congregation experience’ which would also become part of my unexpected spiritual journey in Morocco.

So, Amina’s house is huge, and basically when I was there I had the entire 2nd floor to myself. When I got back, there were more than 10 women in the 2nd floor living room. By the end of the afternoon it became to about 20 women. The women were gathered there for a weekly ‘majlis’. In Singapore/ Malay culture context, I associate the word with ‘majlis persandingan’ – wedding / celebration. I didn’t understand her when she said this. Then she pointed out it’s an Arabic term, and in that culture/ religious context, it means a special gathering with a purpose. And for them, they were using her family’s house as a gathering to share religious teachings- each week is different, and for that Monday, a lady would share stories from the Prophet, and the rest would ‘zikir’ – short prayers where you recite repeatedly, sometimes silently, sometimes allowed. I joined them for about an hour- Amina would help translate the Arabic sharings to English.

I also wondered why they have to do this in the house and not at the mosque. Amina shared that in Morocco, access to mosque has been restricted for some years now- it is only open during prayer times. It was a way to prevent people from using the mosque to spread extreme ideas about Islam. Thus, people who genuinely wanted to share the teachings of Islam got creative and for those who can, opened up their houses to such majlis.

Two thoughts went in my head then; a) The two weeks in Marrakech before coming to El Jadida, I have seen so many kinds of Moroccans, for women specifically, those who are dressed in abayas, hijabs, and those in tight revealing clothes. I also met someone whom I later found out organised the first kissing event in Morocco. To see such a diverse people profile in Morocco was amazing, and it felt like at the end of the day, people are respectful of each other. b) To realise access to mosques in Morocco is restricted, and here I am in Singapore not even remembering when was the last time I entered my neighbourhood mosque, when the mosques are there for use, was me mind-boggling myself.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

I left El Jadida in the afternoon and took the train out to Casa Voyageurs, reaching Casablanca in the evening. It was a case of bad timing, but I could only meet Miguel around 11pm.

While waiting for Miguel for about 4 hours, I hanged out at Extrablatt Bistro- I had sandwich, fries, two pots of tea, and creme brulee the size of my face for about 137 Dirham. That’s when I realised I was probably spending too much on food, and that’s why I’m getting fat now, but that’s another story. I think halfway I became conscious there were more men in that place because they were watching a football match.. and most of them were only drinking tea. I also left my 13 Dirham change for the waiter who tended to me those 4 hours- Miguel mentioned later 2-3 Dirham would have sufficed. For me back then, it was more of a ‘pay what I think I should pay’ kind of mentality. On hindsight, it may have seen extravagant. Chatting with Jie Hui back in Singapore on Friday 2 December, it just feels like one of those things where as much as I complain how I cannot keep up with the standard of living in Singapore, I still count myself lucky for being born here (lottery or destiny), and being able to travel out and still survive in other places. And I probably should be more conscious of myself when I’m outside.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

In Casablanca, I visited the Hassan II Mosque and the Old Medina.

Funny stuff, but things happened to me the weeks leading up to this Morocco trip. I even met up with Ibnur’s mum days before leaving for Morocco, and she passed me a ‘How to Pray’ book and a mini Quran with English translation.. which I did not touch until that Monday I was at Amina’s house. Anyhow, the last time I prayed was probably when I was 12 years old.  At my 27 years of age, I did my Zohor at Hassan II Mosque. And this is me being me and still counting sins in my head.

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The walls in the Old Medina in Casablanca is painted, some in dual colours, some with murals.31057714692_8cd0b220dc_o

Thursday 24 November 2016

Thursday morning I left Casablanca to go back to Marrakech. I was texting Idris and he linked me up with Maryam and Fatima Zahra- the two girls were also at the Art Space on 11 and 12 November.. but I did not remember them.. yikes!

Anyhow, it was lunchtime when I arrived. We went over to Maryam’s aunt’s place first. This was where I had my second ‘women congregation experience’. Maryam’s aunts and aunties were there. Apparently they have this weekly thing where they get together to have lunch.. I joined in at the right time. Heh -_-”

We had about 10 women sharing couscous from this humongous plate.. and the older ones tried teaching me how to eat with my hands, only to have me share we do the same in the Malay culture! (Oops. #EatWithHandsInSG is now sort of dormant). What was interesting was how they balled up the couscous to they do not fall down easily in between our fingers. I also liked how one person would go around with the water jug before and after the meal for us to wash our hands, and the fact that there was only 1 glass going around for everyone to drink from. So.. minimalist, and makes sense- there is not much to wash after that. Also, I noticed that the food table was covered with plastic, so it was easy to scrape off food from there later. Similarly at Fatima Zahra’s house the next day, we had breakfast straight from the table. Just so practical.

In Morocco, most people speak Arabic and French, and chances are for the younger generation who goes to University, they speak English fluently. Maryam, Fatima Zahra and I had a bit too much fun talking about random stuff in English when the older ones asked us questions in Arabic. Whoops. On this note, I am reminded of the 6 official UN languages- Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Whenever one of the Moroccan youth apologised to me for not speaking good English, I apologise back to say I cannot speak Arabic and French, and if anything they should use that to their advantage to work for UN.

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At Fatima Zahra’s house.. the Moroccans somehow build their houses with communal use or guest space in mind.. I was staying on the 1st floor. I have a few nice clear pictures, but I thought I select this and show how useful their sofas are. So, I’ve been to Amina’s, Maryam’s and now Fatima Zahra’s house (not counting Miguel because he is a Portugese living in a rented modern apartment), and I see this same thing- sofas as long as the living room walls, with thick pads and fat pillows. I was amazed when I first saw it at Amina’s house- they can even take off the seating blanket layer and put it on the floor so the women group can use it as protection from the cold marble tiles. And now at Fatima Zahra’s house I saw how it can be transformed to a bed. I’m just taken in by the Moroccan hospitality and now easily awed with the whole Moroccan culture, I count myself lucky to be let into their private homes to join in some of their activities and live like them too.

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Friday 25 November 2016

The morning I left Marrakech, Maryam (left of picture) and Fatima Zahra (right of picture) let me try some of the traditional Moroccan wear!

The brown one is a traditional robe called the Djellaba, while the blue one is a Moroccan Keftan (their traditional dress). Also, because Fatima Zahra is ethnically a Berber, she has this head piece to go with it too. We had some photoshoot moments too. (We look so similar, I would not have guessed they’re Moroccans and would probably think they are Malays too if I did not know them.)

Blessed to have met everyone I met in Morocco.

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So there, my three weeks in Morocco.

It has been a week since I got back to Singapore. I think I’m a bit more settled down now, and will be back on track tomorrow.

For more photos, that may seem random, view them on Flickr.

Re-Starting 2016

I’m using this post to update things going on in October.

7 Oct: Recharging (or lack of)

On the night of 4th October, I made the decision to stay off FB and other social media platforms. It’s 7th October now and I think I failed miserably. Just today alone I had at least 20 individual FB chats. I’m still replying slow over Whatsapp. Even slower on my emails. There is this unsatisfied feeling of not being able to cut off social media usage totally.

I’ve been wanting to go back to GUI the past week, and again I have not been able to do so, because there’s always this hesitation or second thoughts. Lai Hock, Mei, Xu Hong, Hui Ying, have all made the effort to text me, and I’m either delaying replies or don’t know what to reply yet.

I’ve been wanting to go for walks this week, and have not done so. Like tonight for example I ended up going for dinner with my youngest sister when I had the chance to go out for a walk.

7 Oct: Personality

Online. Offline. On FB, Twitter, this blog, to friends online, to friends offline. I can’t even figure out myself sometimes.

7 Oct: Out of Town

For a workshop 17-21 Oct
Departure from Singapore: Monday, 17 October 2016, 10.20am
Arrival in Jakarta: Monday, 17 October 2016, 11.05am
Departure from Jakarta: Saturday, 22 October 2016, 11.20am
Arrival in Singapore: Saturday, 22 October 2016, 2pm
Flight and Accommodation settled. I think everything is settled.

For COP22 7-18 Nov
Departure from Singapore: Friday, 4 November 2016, 02:05
Arrival in Marrakech: Friday, 4 November 2016, 14:50 (local time)
Departure from Marrakech: Friday, 25 November 2016, 16:00
Arrival in Singapore: Saturday, 26 November 2016, 21:30
Badge settled. Flight settled. Accommodation hanging. Everything else still planning.

To visit a plantation in December
Still working out details.

August- I was meeting up with friends for 1-2-1 chats. September our for events almost every day. And these three months, I’m living day-by-day. And this is  coming from someone who is used to planning her schedule 3 months in advanced.

I need to get my life together again.

Things that stood out for me from non-SYCA, #LepakInSG and #EatWithHandsInSG stuff

*Published on 12/9. To be updated as and when for the month of September- last updated 25/9*
*I’m lazy to embed pictures. They can be seen on Flickr, which I update regularly.
*These are just notes. Though.. actual notes is either in my notebook or some random papers.*
*I don’t even know what to record for SYCA, #LepakInSG, #EatWithHandsInSG anymore. Things going on here and there.. I’ll consolidate all in some other blog post next time*

7/9 Community Gathering and Food Futures at Substation

With so many edible gardens in Singapore, can we ensure a level of production or yield that is enough for the local community? Are we already self-sufficient?

8/9 Climate Change Working Group organised by Post-Museum at Substation

Session 1 out of 4. Tim’s session was on Energy and Security.

I was too focused on coal, oil and gas.

Conversations here broadened to security issues- economic inequality, food shortages, poor resource management, failed states. And so much more.

It was quite a good 2 hour session or so. I think what interest me now is how people respond to security issues.

9/9 Ghost Stories Campfire Night Session I at Substation

I posted this on FB:

Of supernatural tales: Maybe at the end of the day what we really want is the ability to detach ourselves from the unseen and unnecessary fears as easily as how we remove ourselves from these footwears.

Add On:

I think aside from that what stood out for me was when this Javanese-dressed young dude came up to share how most people would remember the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 and that if we go back into history, Singapura was first invaded in 1398 by the Majapahit. At that point I thought that part of the history lesson was not related to the theme at all. However, the dude then related it o the massacre that occured and that according to the Malay Annals ‘blood flowed like a river’ and given that much of the battle was at what is now known as Fort Canning, chances are that is probably the most haunted place in Singapore. Before this I had always thought of Fort Canning to be a place of the ancient royalties.. I never really knew this part of history and that probably it is a place I should respect more not only because the royalties used to live there and are now resting there, but also because so much bloodshed has occrued there.

Add On: Turns out Hafiz is Muzzy’s cousin. Hah.

10/9 Who is Burning? workshop at NTUC Centre

First posted on FB:

Learnt so much. Need to explore http://www.globalforestwatch.org/map on a laptop too!

10/9 NTU-CCA Haze Lab Research Project at Gillman Barracks

Session 3 of 4.

First posted on FB:

Went for 1st half of PM. Haze workshop and then hopped over to NTU-CCA for Part 3 of 4 of the haze group discussion.

I just feel like I’m taking in a lot of information and have yet to digest and process everything. I’m not even doing anything specific on haze. This cross-curricular learning on haze and climate change, and drawing wider connections and understanding various perspectives can be overwhelming.

Someone mentioned like a thermostat which regulates temperature, Singapore regulates what kind of information and how much information we release on haze. As it is, the complexity of the haze issue and money trail surrounding the palm oil business, including evading taxes, makes certain aspects of the palm oil business a crime. Does Singapore’s strategy of only releasing information that is palatable to the public and perhaps not focusing enough on the narrative that we the consumers here are the culprits as well means we are the ones committing the crime every day? How can we police other countries when we are not policing ourselves enough?

10/9 Visualising Paradise at Substation

Speculations of how Paradise looks like.

I think the session was interesting for me because Faiz shared his framework- perceptions of how different individuals would see (and try to locate) Paradise and he gave examples of Paradise on Earth. My favorite image was probably the Bagh-e Shahzadeh (the King’s Garden) in Mahan, Iran.

My thoughts became slightly strayed from the main topic. I’m not the most well-read person in this of course. I’ve always thought physicality of Paradise= Jannah= Heaven in Islam (Note: The talk was broader of course.. it was non-Islamic) was too.. magnificent? Too beautiful. How can you have a place with rivers of water, milk, honey and wine, and whose inhabitants are adorned in gold and always smell nice? From young, it was something difficult for me to imagine. The idea of a Paradise in this context is something that is rewarded to Believers and those who deserves it. And thus there is the other side of the coin- that there is Hell=Jahanam for those who sin. How is one living on Earth know to what degree of wrongdoing is he allowed to commit before he is categorised into those going to Hell? Additionally, the Paradise that we are told about talks about the provisions of houris=companions (the virgins and pure kinds).. the kinds which sounds celestial to me. It’s just a concept and ‘imagined/ ideal/ dream’ that again, is hard for me to grasp. Why do we talk and long for this when we do not treat everyone on Earth with kindness? What is it that we should do before we can be ‘rewarded’ with all these elements of Paradise? Should we even be taking note of all this in the first place?

Tonight, Faiz shared an article about abut the experience of an Iranian Shiite going to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage but what he experience was distrust among the majority Sunnis. Again, I felt the same way I felt yesterday. There’s so much hypocrisy in the world.

11/9 U got rojak(?) or not at Joo Chiat Road

Nearly 2 hours of discussions on cross-collaboration.

My takeaway was “What is the social glue that will make parties to a project come together to work on it?”

I also feel bad because Chris and Deena walked 2 hours from Paya Lebar MRT to Joo Chiat Road finding me (when it should have been a 15 mins walk!!). I hope they’re both safe on the flight to Sydney.

Bye for now.

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14/9 Exhibition (de)Tour with Dr Farish Ahmad Noor at NTU-CCA, Gillman Barracks

Highlight of Dr Farish Noor’s talk revolving around colonial capitalism in Southeast Asia was the bit on how John Anderson of the British East India Company had humanised the Sumatran people when other contemporaries had chosen to associate the people with cannibalism and piracy. Seeing things from this perspective allowed Anderson to see what people were interested in buying and selling and helped see there were opportunities for trading.

Dr Farish Noor’s related paper on this: WP278 | John Anderson’s Data Mining Mission to Sumatra in 1823: When Method Creates the Object https://www.rsis.edu.sg/rsis-publication/gpo/wp278/#.V9lXFKARXqC

I guess another highlight was also the bit on language (not just the verbal language, the non-verbal and social aspects too) and how that itself is a powerful tool on how we shape our narrative // and that we are sort of still stuck in the language of the 19th century, showing that perhaps we have never left colonialism (Insert Singapore tourism ads and the coconut trees, banana trees sunset views or French ads of men with beret and baguette). The homogenous culture, or at least to be able to see that there is a dominant culture is alarming.

15/9 Climate Change Working Group organised by Post-Museum at Substation

Session 2 out of 4. Mike’s session was on Food.

Mike shared this online tool he and a friend created called What Is My Carbon Footprint? about Something simple to use for individual to estimate how much carbon footprint they produce. We talked about people’s response to the tool and in general how marketing for it could be improved.
The carbon footprint theme was then released to the Food theme- how livestock produce much higher carbon emission and how the meat and dairy industry lobby.. Reasons for the government in Singapore to manage climate change impacts. There’s just too much I don’t know which to write here.

My notes on this is somewhere on Flickr.

16/9 Self-organised: Negotiating the self, individual and institution at Substation (I only caught the last 30 mins or so).

My takeaway from this was- a physical space for artists to come together and converge is important to have so that there can be exchanges of ideas, collaborations. Having that sense of permanent space can create a sense of rootedness. That said, there are things to take note of- like venue rental and utility bill. Is it really important to have your own space or can you better utilise existing spaces that are available (like Subs. haha). I’m also reminded of my earlier days at GUI when Lai Hock mentioned having that place where people can always come back to, giving a sense of familiarity, a sense of rootedness.

18/9 [FREE] WORLD 2066 Visionarium: Chronicling Our Futures WIEF Day 1 at Red Box

Ibnur was on reservist the 2-3 weeks before this week-long event, I don’t know how he managed it. I didn’t really do much in the day time. The late afternoon till night time of the program was run by FiTree. We went to Gardens by the Bay and walked to Marina Barrage where we ended things off with a rooftop dinner and chat. It was a super long day and by the time I did my sharing I just cut short everything and gave more of a synthesis of the night chats.

Maybe the Lastrina a few years back would have been excited being a participant of such an event. The Lastrina now tries to justify attending such things, if that’s a priority, if that’s a privilege that other people could better benefit from, if organisers should be spending money putting me up in a hotel and paying for my transportation.

19/9 Visiting Upgrown somewhere in Paya Lebar

LJ asked me the night itself if I was free to accompany her to Upgrown.

To be honest I couldn’t remember if I’ve heard of them. According to LJ I (under the capacity of 350 Singapore) had invited Lionel the previous year to come speak at ASEAN Power Shift. I was doing the overall coordination and there were 3 other girls in charge of specific knowledge tracks.. I’ve to admit I cannot remember all the speakers. I must have gone for his session though as he was paired up with Bing Yu of GUI and a URA lady.

LJ (under the capacity of Engineering Good) had some specific questions for Lionel. I on the other hand learnt a few things, like.. The installation process of a high-tech farm, management and human administration behind that, food production and distribution.

I need to read up more/ do a comparison of companies like Edible Garden City and Upgrown, and groups like Ground-Up Initiative (the farming arm).

20/9 BoP World Convention & Expo at ITE College Central

I managed to just attend Day 1 of 3 of this event. I stayed till 3pm-ish.

The sharings I found most interesting was BRAC (Bangladesh) and Poverty Spotlight (Paraguay).

I guess I can always go back to their websites.. but what made me remember these two more was also the fact that they utlised infographics and visual data.

21/9 Young Singaporeans (Un)Conference 2016: “What’s Good?” at Far East Square

It was a super long full day event and I learnt a lot.

In terms of break out sessions, I co-created a session on Placemaking- Redefining Spaces with some people I just met (Notes on Flickr). And then attended a session on Inter-religious relations: Dealing with differences by Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, We-work, We-live, We-share Designing spaces for a common future by Calvin Chua, and What is Advocacy by Khoo Yifeng.

So. I guess after doing up the slides for 29/9 between 9-17/9, I sort of leaned towards sessions I thought could give me broader perspectives on my chosen topic.

21/9 Lecture: Citizen Youth: The Thin Line between Activism and Citizenship at Substation

I suppose I went for this session with a different sort of talk in mind. This session was quite academic I feel- theories and framework behind activism.

22/9 Climate Change Working Group organised by Post-Museum at Substation

Session 3 out of 4. Li-Anne led a session on Economy and Transition towns.

Things to read up on
– Eco villages, and failures due to lack of economic activity
– What constitutes GDP? Does growth = good growth is money
– Money creation and possibly a legitimised MLM/ Ponzi scheme?
– Bay Bugs

23/9 Staging: Hutang Belantara — The Expansive Debt by Teater Ekamatra (Singapore) at NTU-CCA, Gillman Barracks

I posted this on Facebook:

Didn’t even realise there was such a person called Tengku Alam Shah. Every week, learning a bit more about Malay history in Singapore.. Or should it be.. Every week, learning a bit more about the Singapore history.

Reference in Malay: http://www.beritaharian.sg/…/ekamatra-tampilkan-kisah-tengk…

Background story on Tengku Alam Shah in English:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengku_Alam_Shah

Where are the members of the royal family now?

// Friend suggested I read up on Kesultanan Riau-Lingga. Parking it here firsthttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riau-Lingga_Sultanate

xxx

I was wondering how Irfan/ Faizal researched for this project and if they interviewed anyone. At one point it felt like something I could read from Wiki. At one point it felt like it was someone’s voice.

24/9 Farmers Market, Gillman Barracks x Art Day Out

There were 3 Farmers’ Market happening around Singapore that day. I wonder which farms/ vendors were present at these markets, and how many people go to such places.

24/9 NTU-CCA Haze Lab Research Project at Gillman Barracks

Session 4 of 4.

Read
– Asian Godfather
– Money Logging, Wade Davis
– Hansard and mentions of Haze.

Haze and Advertising (Marc’s sharing)
– Evidence as visuals
– visuals, create or erase evidence
– read up on Larry Sultan & Mike Mandall (using random photos and taking things out of context)
– physicality of the visuals (eg of WWF Haze ads)
– dangers of visuals which does not foster criticality (some companies riding on haze to sell their products but don’t really do much to highlight actual issue and why it is happening).

24/9 LIDAH AKU PUNYA (This Tongue is Mine) at Arts House

Musicians with a slight theatrical flair always fascinates me. Tonight it was a treat watching Bani, Eli, Mamat, Big and Aqmal.

Bani is the kind of character I can remember where I’ve seen a person before. In this case, at Artistry when he performed with Randolf Arriola, at Rocky Masters with Agnes days before his wedding, at NUH Kopitiam when I was with mum and he with the wife and at Red Baron when I was chatting with Jinny and he with Antariksa. Just this weekend when I went to NTU-CCA to catch Faizal at Hutang Belantara, Magda mentioned she was at Block 7 watching Bani instead. The next day I texted back to say it was my turn watching him at Arts House. I think Saturday was probably the first time I managed to catch him in action, in full set. Shawn who was taking photos for the event had described Bani as the crazy one, and during the performance I saw why he was described as that. Eli and Mamat of The Psalms were accompanying him. There was one point during the shoe where he laid on the floor proclaiming he is the husband of Ila and that they are expecting their first child and he sounded so excited. I couldn’t help feeling happy for him too. And then later when Big performed and he mentioned his wife shopping in Johor for tudungs, and later outside of Arts House when I saw Aqmal leaving with his wife, I can’t help feeling in awe of these male musicians who adore their wives and express it publicly.

A few hours later at Substation, I saw Eli, Mamat, Isyraf and Mish outside just hanging out. I hugged Eli before leaving. And I left wondering how they kept it together after all these years. That is the kind of friendship I hope to have too.

How do I establish relationships and manage them?

24/9 Event: Hong Lim Park 3 Times at Substation

We watched a short video recording 3 times, and had responses from 3 main people and some members of the audience.

One of the objectives of the project (video year 2000) was to gather artistic response to Hong Lim Park.. though until now I’m not sure if anyone did just that.There were questions on whether HLP was opened up as a space for political or social reasons, or if it was just a showcase, or maybe a site that really was meant to show freedom of expressions (regardless of regulations).”>Read up on
– Dr Calvin Tan
– Thye Chye Poh
– Tan Chong Kee
– James Gomez
– Think Centre
– Christopher Neo
– 1993 Vienna Conventions on Human Rights

25/9 Latent Action – The Asian Village Project at Substation

I had no idea there is such a thing called Pulau Ubin Residency Experience (PURE) which is an arts collective based in Ubin formed in late 2015.

Sharing revolved around the current artists in residence at Ubin.

Discussions on City Island vs Lonely Island concept

Read up
– Wang Chuyu and “Fish’s of South Sea”
– Jeremy Hiah
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To update

28/9 Fuze Night September 2016

28/9 Occupy Residency Room- Activism talk led by Huiying Ng. I probably came for the first hour only.

29/9 Climate Change Working Group organised by Post-Museum at Substation

Session 4 out of 4. I’m leading this session.. and um.. the title on the slides (which I did up between 9 to 17 Sep) says: Using Art to Influence the Climate Change Narrative.

Technically this working group sessions are meant to be closed-door to allow better interactions.. but I apparently can invite friends. So. If for some reason you are reading this and you want to attend, let me know. I’m trying to keep track of who is coming/ how many are coming, so I can figure out what group activity to do.

This would also be my 12th and last time at Substation this month. I think.

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I checked my schedule for October, and am mentally prepared to be out for events only on 7 days.

Other than that, planning to stay offline for most of October to focus on SYCA, #LepakInSG and #EatWithHandsInSG, family, life, stuff.

Till whenever.

drowned in thoughts

Image Source: http://rebloggy.com/post/drawing-art-girl-sleep-drowning-draw-bed-want-thoughts-long-sleeping-heavy-drown/27584165233

Finding money for COP22. I need a gold mine.

Building up SYCA. Managing expectations and relationships.

Worrying how the turn out for #LepakInSG events will be 13 and 17 Sept.

Need to sit down and think about #EatWithHandsInSG properly and submit application by 24 Sept.

Materials for Post-Museum climate change working group 29 Sept. I guess it being the last session gives that unintentional pressure of ending discussions on a good note. (Or it may be 22nd depending on another person).

Materials for SYCA sharing at YCS on 30th Sept.

September is just full of deadlines.

Replying to friends on Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Emails, in person.

Family. Mother.

Me. My personality. My socially selective behaviour. Keeping my distance to keep myself focused.

What am I doing October onwards? How will things change?

“I just want to drown all my thoughts in a long & heavy slumber.”

My Facebook updates on the other hand, is all happy preppy.

Today was actually a good day out until that last hour where I realised I was allowing myself to be distracted. I mean. How rare can I get (willingly?) distracted? How controlled can I be if I want to stay focused?

Of loops and circles

Last year around May, Yasmine Ostendorf and I met at a coffee shop in Holland Village. I forgot where we first met. Yasmine was travelling to few places and was researching for a publication “Creative Responses to Sustainability”. I was one of the people she met and interviewed. I didn’t think much of the publication. I remember reading it once, read my parts and left it at that.
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Yasmine. NTU-CCA. Gillman Barracks. 

This year in August, Yasmine dropped me an email to say she had a friend from the Phillipines, Lian, who was attached to NTU-CCA for a while.I didn’t think much of it. I agreed to visit Amar Kanwar’s Sovereign Forest exhibition, went for two talks, and within a few days agreed to be part of the Haze Lab research project. Because of this project, I visited Gillman Barracks for the first time. And because of this project I know of Red Baron’s existence. It has been nearly a month since my first visit and in addition to NTU-CCA related things, I have gone back to Red Baron because of #LepakInSG event and to meetup friends there. 

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Creative Responses to Sustainability. People in the Environment Community. 

It’s 1st September 2016 now and today I was back at NTU-CCA and Red Baron for a different purpose. I don’t know why but I keep going back there. 

I was back at The Lab where the Haze meetings were held, and this time my eyes saw the Yasmine’s publication. I never realised it was there. So I took it and flipped the pages and chanced upon this section on “Engaging more young people” and my quote for that section. It was dated 18 May 2015. I cannot recall exactly what went on in our conversation, but in the context of the timeline, that was the period where I remember I had gone to COP20 in Dec 2014 and came back feeling unsatisfied, I was preparing for APS happening in July 2015 and it was hazy then if I would be able to go to COP21 in Dec 2015. So, reading the quote and seeing that I had shared with Yasmine I wanted to see a climate change leadership development program of some sort, that I wanted to see more young people sent to COP and having access to certain people, and seeing how things have progressed since May 2015 and what is happening now with Singapore Youth for Climate Action, it felt unexpectedly satisfying how things have developed since then.

Flipping through the pages, I saw other familiar names. Bhavani Prakash and what she said about the human life being connected to all of existence including other species and the ecosystem, Jie Hui Kia on businesses, systems thinking and greenwashing, Veerappan Swaminathan on sustainability trends and community engagement with Sustainable Living Lab and Repair Kopitiam, Jennifer Teo of Post-Musuem and how arts is this space which allows people from all parts of society to come together and try new things, Lai Hock of Ground-Up Initiative and Michelle Lai whose work requires them  deal with food and farming and this need to help people see the connection between the land and the food we eat. It was just inspiring to read what the others are doing. 

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Me. Environment. The Arts. 

Since this interview, I think I’ve also communicated with Jie Hui a bit more. This year for instance, with her work at Save That Pen, and #LepakInSG’s involvement supporting The Eco Film Festival, Jie Hui instroduced us to Ektory, which does handcrafted works. Using the pens from STP, Ektory will create a sculpture that will be displayed #SGEFF. 

Additionally, in August specifically, I think I have learnt a bit more on what Post-Musuem does other than the Singapore Really Really Free Market events. I am so looking forward to attending some of their events while they are the artist in residence at The Substation. 

Recently with Benjamin Tay and #EatWithHandsInSG I am also exploring how we can use this cultural approach to talk about the practice of eating with hands and how this possibly is an environmentally-friendly practice. 

I am learning how to go beyond communicating the science of climate change and climate impacts, and taking the cultural approach to respond to climate change and influence social norms. Who knows what I will be doing this month. 

Till then.

Gratitude in August

Although yes technically it’s 30 August now, around 7am, and there’s still 31 August..

This is me writing after a good 11 hours of sleep time. Which is probably also the number of hours I slept in total the previous 3 days. Ha. Ha.

I’ve lost count the number of hours I’ve spent on SYCA and #LepakInSG this month, either on emails, online discussions or meetups. I’ve beginning to lose count the number of hours I’m spending on #EatWithHandsInSG, although yes I track the number of times I meet Benjamin and chances are we talk about that or PM. Haze in general. I’ve lost count the number of days I spent with mum this month, although I know it is more than any other months.

Not that I value my projects and friendships/ relationships by the number of hours I am on them, but numeric values is a good reminder of how much time and energy I spend on something, and a good reminder of how much time I have left.

I’m pretty sure I tweeted about this before, can’t recall if I have it on this blog. Flo did a Life Visualiser. Given that I am born on January 19, 1989, and assuming a life expectancy of 85 years, I have lived 10 085 days already and have 20 961 days left to live. Which is not a lot. I mean. The assumption that I will live till 85 is already an ambitious goal, who knows what might happen tomorrow. Haha. And therefore there is a need to constantly evaluate life and re-prioritise what I want to do in life.


This month in particular, I suddenly had so many meetup with friends, mostly over food, and not counting events

2/8 Ryal, Alyssa, Chia Chia

6/8 Cheryl

10/8 Ben*, Lucie*, Xiang Tian // Seeto, Dot, Cheryl, Xiang Tian

11/8 Ben*, Zhang Wen, Eugene // Ryan

12/8 Ben, Zhang Wen, Yi Han, Xiang Tian, Chevonne

13/8 Ben (Technically my first #LaksaInSG)

14/8 Cheryl, Juria, Pamela (My 2nd #LaksaInSG)

17/8 Cheryl

20/8 Cheryl, Siang Yu (This was also the SSN Conference, and technically I met over 30 green friends.. and we had lunch buffet. Hah).

21/8 Jiro and Ja Mai (The Philippines and Burmese girls I met in Myanmar Feb 2015)

23/8 Ben, Yi Han, Aurelie // Faeza*

24/8 Ria* (My 3rd #LaksaInSG)

27/8 Timothy*, Cheryl

29/8 Lena*

30/8 Lian* // Jinee // Nora*

31/8 Siang Yu, Juliana (I can’t wait for tomorrow. We went to COP20 in Peru together, supported each other in APS 2015, and then I briefly met Juls again at COP21 in Paris).


And then of course there’s food with Mum and Dad, and with Kak Comel.

I’ve a thing with food. LJ does that too when I’m out with her, and I’ve known her since 2013/2014. And Yi Han since 2011.

And then there’s Harish and Alga 2012/2013, that’s another story altogether, and I need to wrap it up soon.


It’s September soon.

SYCA- Prep work for COP22 will be on high-mode.

#LepakInSG- Lookout for our next hangout session.. on Sun 17 Sept! This time involving Pokemon Go.

Technically there’s still 2 more sessions to the NTU CCA Haze lab project on 10 and 24 Sept.

The Post-Museum climate change working group happening on 8, 15, 22, 29 Sept. I’ll probably share my 22nd Sept session end of the month.

Less than 5 dinner meetups to look forward to in Sept + Can’t wait (still working this out) for a visit to Indonesia soon~

Focus group on the Haze // States of Denial reading group // Post-Museum #subsair

Session 2, Focus group on the Haze: An Inquiry, NTU CCA

An introspective look at our practices and projects, and how this intersects with haze.

I focused more on how my involvement with 350 for four years shaped how I view certain things, and how the approach I took has consciously been one that involves and engages people. I touched a bit on the relationship between climate change and haze- it was largely based on this article here by Dr Winston Chow from NUS.

On the whole, I thought Session 2 was more focused than Session 1. And I liked how the NTU visiting lecturer (I.. cannot recall his name), makes it a point to tie in what people were saying, and giving the “so what” perspectives.

The highlight for me in the sharing today, well I learnt a lot today, but the highlight for me really, and there’s two, are

  • Wei Yi (I think that’s how you spell it) sharing this book by Ann Laura Stoler, “Capitalism and Confrontation in the Sumatra’s Plantation Belt, 1870-1979” and how this phenomena of importing workers in the thousands to the Sumatra region and controlling the labour force, including how they live, gave rise to the success of plantations then. This idea of colonialism, migration, planned agriculture, and economic growth because of cheap labour, is not something new. It has been happening for more than a century. Having that historical context opened my eyes to seeing how the situation we are facing now with the palm oil plantations in Indonesia, and how widespread it is, is happening because it has been so entrenched now in the economic system of Indonesia. And when you have that kind of situation, it adds to this dimension of how complex managing palm oil plantations are, or haze when it occurs, in Indonesia.
  • Josh, an architect, sharing this example of Marina Square in Singapore, designed by American architect John Portman. I don’t really know how to describe the architecture of Marina Square, which comprises of 3 hotels- Mandarin Oriental, Marina Mandarin and The Pan Pacific Hotel  and 1 shopping mall. Probably best to see the pictures and read the explanation here. Just, this idea of opening up spaces (the way Portman does it), air flows, speed of how fast glass door closes, were elements I thought was interesting to consider when designing future buildings in Singapore.

This morning while prepping my slides for the sharing, I realised the USB that I got from COP in Paris had sub-folders containing lots of files I deduced to be from ASEAN Secretariat. One folder was specific to Southeast Asian peatland. Like. Woah. It has been 9 months and I just realised this. I think it’s all meant to be. Ha. Ha.

Archive of Future Common, States of Denial Reading Group, 72-13

So. Jennifer of Post-Museum is the one organising this, and she is also part of the Focus Group on Haze at NTU CCA. People were still sharing and Jen had to leave first. Ben and I followed soon after. Oops. There’s just too many interesting things happening..

As part of the Archive of Future Commons ( a collection of publications which would be shared resources of all members of society in the year 2030) in The Kula Ring (an art exhibition based on a ritual exchange of gifts among inhabitants of the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea).

We were asked to read on the section “The Photo Never Lies” which is found on Chapter 11: Towards Culture of Denial?

Overall I thought Jun facilitated the session well. He started off giving an overview of the book and highlighted two themes; Power and Feeling. We also touched on photographs and its intended message versus people’s perception of it.

I might consider coming back to this again and edit a bit. I just remember I left feeling good cos it was a small discussion group and I felt we were listening to each other.

Shoutout: Post-Museum at The Substation

Post-Museum, “an independent cultural and social space in Singapore, serving as an open platform for examining contemporary life, promoting the arts and connecting people” is taking over The Substation, Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre, as part of the Substation Residency programme.

If you want to learn more about the arts and civil society landscape in Singapore (and hang out at a great place at the same time), block out your dates in September!

Have a look at these events https://www.facebook.com/postmuseum/events

Hanging out with the Cool Kids

Cheryl, Timothy and I arrived at Singapore Science Centre around 8pm, thinking we wanted to picnic there, but the queue went all the way to the roadside, and we did not want to waste time waiting. Quite a few postings on how a) It was extremely crowded b) Basically, because of the cloud and haze they could not see anything. Good thing we decided on the spot to go somewhere else (and good thing other friends decided not to come). We ended up lepak-ing through the night.

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Mid-August Update

Facebook is mostly for re-shares. Likewise for Twitter. Flickr has the picture updates. This blog.. is mostly where I record my scattered thoughts.

———-

Since the last post on SYCA LLP Grad Day which happened on 16th July..

Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA) and COP22

Marrackech COP22 | CMP12 UN Climate Change Conference 2016. Image Credit http://www.cop22.ma

Soon after completing the Learning and Leadership Program (LLP), SYCA moved into preparing for COP22 which is happening in Marrakech, Morroco, 7-18 November, this year. What does ‘preparing’ entails? Following up with relevant individuals who had expressed interest to go and working with another organisation to nominate our names into the UNFCCC system first, by 2nd August. Drafting up the team budget and drafting up a grant proposal. Waiting for UNFCCC to confirm the number of quota- We confirmed 4 and managed to get another 1 from another organisation. I count it lucky we have a such a number considering this year there is something like 19 000 odd nominations from IGO and NGO sectors, and there is only 3000 odd places for us.

Asking myself questions like

  • If I were to go this year, this would be my 3rd time going for COP consecutively. Why am I going to COP this year? What would I want to do upon my return? Is it necessary for me to be at COP? // I asked myself these questions last year, and I still find myself asking these questions this year.
  • Given that ideally SYCA would have sent 6 people to COP, and we originally have 4 badges, how do we decide who gets the badge? How would our training sessions look like the next 3 months? Where are we going to get funding for this team to go to COP? What are we going to do at COP? What are we going to do upon our return?

I see the need for a youth group to be exposed to a platform like COP. I see that having such a group fills the gap/ distance between policy-makers and what is communicated at COP, and helping to communicate that to the average Singaporean. It’s just that.. sometimes the thought of “this takes a lot of time and energy- badges, trainings, seeking sponsorships, admin and logistics, safety concerns” and “we are all voluntarily doing this” gets to me.  Sometimes there is this fear of starting something and not being able to keep it sustainable. Sometimes there is this anxiety of comparing what SYCA is doing (or not doing) with what other youth groups are doing. I recall Mel C posing this question during our SYCA LLP meetings: If SYCA were cease to exist tomorrow, can our Aspirants still find other avenues to learn what we are offering? And I am still finding answers to that.

#LepakInSG

A group picture at #LepakInSG’s boardgames session at Red Baron at Gillman Barracks on 13 August.

So, back on 29 January, Xiang Tian, Gracie and I launched the #LepakInSG website. It was a simple Google Calendar embedded onto a WordPress site. XT and I started to fill it up with environmental events in Singapore. Gracie subsequently decided to focus more on 350 Singapore. We roped in other friends like Dorothy, Cheryl, Chia Wu, Cuimin and Megha in to be part of the core team. Since then, we also started to organise offline Lepak sessions.

On 29 July, we launched the #LepakInSG Facebook Fan Page. I also posted a shoutout on the Hackerspace FB Group Page to ask if anyone could help us automate collation of information for the website. Cheryl and I met Kiong, a web developer who was kind enough to meet us on 6 August. We discussed the features of this proper events listing website, and I’m glad to say Kiong has been super details and patient with us. I am personally excited to see a new website for #LepakInSG in the next few months.

When we first started this, it started off as an online calendar of environmental events in Singapore. Slowly, we started to organise events once a month too. I initially thought of it as an opportunity to meetup with people who followed the calendar.. or basically just to meet people who wanted to do something fun while learning about sustainability issues. The latest one where we organised the boardgames session at Red Baron at Gillman Barracks made me realise the unintended value of such a hangout- old friends and strangers met and started talking about how they can provide services/ help out each other. I guess it turned out to be an informal networking session of sorts, and that became an added motivation for me to continue with the offline lepak sessions.

SYCA and #LepakInSG = Building a Movement?

Global Power Shift @ Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday 29th June 2013 from Rina Lim Zui Hou on Vimeo.

*would it be possible to grow a movement confident enough of organising its own gathering and actions, the scale of Global Power Shift in Istanbul, Turkey?*

At the back of my head, I try to remind myself of this concept of Building a Movement (thanks 350.org and your EA workshop in 2012 at Bogor, Indonesia), and its elements of a) Organising for big change, b) Brining new people on board and c) Ensuring a sustainable movement through trust, commitment and leadership.

Personal SYCA Theory of Change: If I provide the platform for more youth to be exposed to climate change knowledge and build up skills to scale up the climate action movement, then over time we will understand the complexities of climate change knowlegde and solutions around it, and work towards building more ground-up and coordinate actions to manage it.

Personal #LepakInSG Theory of Change: If I organise more events that leverage on people’s interest and use that as a platform to bring in sustainability related matters into the conversation topics, then over time more people will be exposed to this topic and see it as a mainstream topic/ the norm to be talking about it.

The Big Goal is to Build the Singapore Climate Movement.

How do I get there? Through training more climate leaders (SYCA) and through organise more fun events that talks about it (#LepakInSG).

*insert specifics likes SMART Goals, Targets, Tactics and Strategies*

The Singapore Eco Film Festival #SGEFF

SGEFF Water Pollution from Rachel Quek Siew Yean on Vimeo.

*check out this short film Rachel did for #SGEFF*

I haven’t been touching much on this except for the occasional tweets I help out with.

Cheryl and I did join in a meeting with Save That Pen and Ektory. So.. lookout for a super-cool looking structure made of pens at #SGEFFF 10-13 November!

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore‘s Special Project: The Haze: An Inquiry

Cheryl and the newspaper clippings

Cheryl at Amar Kanwar’s The Sovereign Forest Exhibition at NTU CCA. Ongoing till 9 October.

Yasmine, a Londoner who was travelling in Southeast Asia, and whom I met last year in Singapore, dropped me an email one day- 25 July, connecting me with her Philippines friend currently attached to NTU CCA. Long story short, I ended up going for Amar Kanwar’s talk on 30 July, went for his exhibition on 6 August (I recommend you visiting the exhibition), a talk on the ‘crime’ of haze on 12 August (it was good- looked at the crime of haze from that international relations perspective), and now am part of their research project taking place 13, 27 August and 10, 24 September.

I read the research project synopsis and went “huh”. I received the outline for the four sessions and went “huh”. I attended the first discussions and left with a “huh” too.

Before going for the first session, I was quite focused on sharing my take on on how Amar Kanwar perceives the ‘crime’ and ‘evidence’ as shown in his exhibition. For instance, I had interpreted Amar’s work to show that the crime was indeed present in the Odisha community in India- crime towards the environment and the land, towards the local community, the rice farmers, the lands miners, and that the evidence was shown through the use of newspaper clippings and activists stories. And, as a visitor who is hearing this for the first time, how he expressed the crime and evidence was interesting to me- community stories, media articles, questions of “who committed the crime? who planned the crime? who is responsible for the crime” These were all narratives and questions we could use in parallel when exploring the topic of Haze.

At the discussion, I found myself listening to this shift in conversation- from the haze issue to increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of rising energy consumption to how the exhibition lacked factual data. At one point I found myself asking the scientist in the room “What is your definition of haze?” I remember him and the person next to him replying me with both issues are talking about “particulate matter”, and then in my head I was thinking yes they are, but the average person don’t see it that way and what causes them to happen has a different backstory, and how we are trying to solve it is different too. But me being me, I was pretty much more comfortable listening and observing. And soon, the conversations turned to how Amar had approached his work and in general how different expressions have that tendency to reach out to certain types of people, and if that was the case, would there be a risk of having that work or intention to spread a certain cause, be limited to the circulation of that network only. How effective would this be? There were three artists in the room and I felt one had tried to point out that if that was the artistic direction Amar had wanted to take, then so be it, and I found myself agreeing to his views. Another artist then questioned why are we even using the word “Haze” – does it sound nice? Does it make the problem less serious? Why are we not describing it as it is, using a regional or local term, understandable by the community? I guess this was the point of having the discussion. There were about 15 of us in the room, and each of us came from a different background and saw things differently and had various thoughts to share. I personally am still processing and learning from all these talks, and looking forward to the other 3 sessions.

Meanwhile, Huiying, whom I first met through volunteering at Ground-Up Initiative is also part of the discussion group. Read her thoughts here.

Climate Change Working Group with Post-Museum

Rest

Taken on 26 April 2014. This was the only photo of the dance floor at Substation that I have.

On 1 August, Jennifer Teo of Post-Museum shared that she was planning a climate change working group in September to find out more about the various groups and effort to address climate change in Singapore and hopefully work towards an initiative that can take things a bit further. Meetings would take place 8, 15, 22, 29 September. She had asked if I wanted to lead a session and I said yes and only proposed something back to her on 12 August.

Post-Museum is currently part of Substation’s Residency program. And I think it was a mixture of my personal experience and unfulfilled wish + my ongoing exposure to NTU CCA + my sporadic memories of Substation  when I was helping out Agnes + the Substation venue being Singapore’s first independent arts theatre + some specific environmental issues in Singapore, that I decided to focus my session on 29 September on Arts and Climate Change: Exploring the Use of Public Performance in Singapore as a Social Narrative to the Climate Change Discourse. The session on 29 September is more of a discussion session. I have hopes to follow up on the “initiative that can take things a bit further” to do an actual performance.

#LaksaInSG 

Laksa at the newly opened Qiji @ NUH

Click here to the album #LaksaInSG Laksa Hunt Around Singapore!

My love of Laksas has driven me to sieve out my Laksa photos and start putting them in this Flickr album you see here. I have also started to organise #LaksaInSG outings with friends, the first being on 14 August. If you have great Laksa places to share, let me know!

#EatWithHandsInSG

Wednesday lunch with some PM Haze friends!

One day, perhaps Benjamin and I will share with the world the story behind #EatWithHandsInSG, which he first mentioned on Facebook on 10 August. For now, let’s just say that it has become our attempt to record the “intangible cultural heritage” of Singapore and the region. More to follow when we have developed the idea.

Other things in my head

  • Coursera- I signed up for 3 courses around the same time. 1 was on Global Diplomacy. 2 were on Oil, and I was supposed to completed all three by August.  I completed the diplomacy one and basically lagged behind on the oil ones. Not a good idea to take both oil ones at the same time. I do not intend to continue them at this point, considering I had decided to be part of the haze and climate change discussions till September. Not sure if I’m supposed to feel guilty or anything.. I also received an email asking if I wanted to a mentor for the diplomacy course. Not sure how I got selected.. It’s just the thought that I had to review some funny answers during my course possibly taking time to reply to funny questions later, that I got hesitant about this. I’m all for education and supporting each other’s learning. I’m just not confident I have the patience to communicate with strangers.. or just people with different wavelength than me in general.
  • Relationships- I value friendships. I’ll take time catching up with people I’ve not met for 6 years. I’ll take time to placate people I’ve not met in 9 years. But of course, ‘valuing’ something or putting an importance to someone is based around the fact on how I ‘see’ the person and how they treat me, be it in the past or present. Sometimes you just got to know how much focus, or distance even, to various groups of friends or friends.
  • Pokemon Go- As a game it is cool. But. I think with what is happening at Hougang Avenue 10, I think things got out of hands.
  • The Bill that is being talked about these days- There’s various opinion articles of sorts around it. I read the bill. And in short, I was/ am disappointed it was even proposed. And now I hear, after the 2nd reading today, it was passed.
  • Joseph Schooling and the Olympics- Where do I even start?

SYCA-LLP, Partners, and post-grad activities. Get involved with the Singapore green community!

I’ve been so active on Twitter the past month I don’t really know what to record in this blog, but I thought I could share a bit of the SYCA LLP wrap up which we had on Saturday 16th July.

Singapore Youth for Climate Action’s Learning and Leadership Program wrap up

SYCA LLP Grad Group Pic

SYCA LLP Graduation Group Picture taken on 16th July 2016

It has been a journey since we had our first module on 5th March.

At this point, what we want to focus on is the post-LLP activities that our Aspirants can be involved in.

We had asked out project partners to share with us what they need support in, and we consolidated quite a good list. And I thought this list is something useful that can be shared with more people.

Here’s a brief overview of what the SYCA-LLP project partners have and need support in. I have hyperlinked the organisation names to the respective Facebook pages (or websites). If anyone is interested to support these groups, do get in touch with them directly!

SYCA-LLP Project Partners. Who they are and what kind of support they need:

Well.. first and foremost, get connected with the SYCA Team and its Co-Founders (the other stuff that we do)!

  • Singapore Youth for Climate Action Team
    + Looking for more people to join the broader SYCA community, to help with social media campaigns, and giving talks to schools. Right now Cuifen, Melissa and I are handling this and we need more help.
    + Co-organising the next LLP program. We had a good run in 2016 and received a number of positive feedback.

  • Cuifen and Foodscape Collective
    + Researching on stories from local food growers and share via online and offline platforms
    + Organising food workshops at community events, be part of the team that does outreach
    + Being part of the team organising upcoming booths at upcoming events such as the Festival of Biodiversity.

  • Melissa and the Legislation research team (no hyperlink, get in touch with Mel directly)
    + Being part of the legislation research team, coming together for regular discussions, of which the inputs will be channeled to policy-discussions led by MP Louis Ng.

  • Lastrina and #LepakInSG
    + Online scanning of environment related events and putting it in a Google calendar
    + Organising events that leverage on popular interests such as boardgames sessions, poetry slams and using that as a platform to share more on sustainability-related topics.

    PS: Our next meetup is on Thursday 28 July. Should anyone be interested, contact me directly asap.

  • Lastrina and The Singapore Eco Film Festival #SGEFF+ Being part of the team organising an environment film festival in November! The themes we are covering are: consumerism and waste, farming and food, climate, air quality and haze, and wildlife. If film festivals rock your boat, get in touch with Jacqui Hocking co-founder of #SGEFF. We will follow up from there. SGEFF is something I enjoy helping to organise and I will write a separate post on that.

The project partners (individuals and/or organisations) below are listed according to the sessions they supported us in.

Session 1: Look Within and Big Picture

Session 2: Biodiversity and Principles

  • Hanzhong of Jalan Hijau (Nature Society)
    + Forming a team that focuses on the social media aspects for two projects; Draw the Last Straw and Reduce the Junk Mail.

    Additional note: Hanzhong supports Cuifen in Foodscape Collective. And both Hanzhong and Cuifen is part of the Green Drinks Singapore team. The next GDS event is this Wednesday, 27 July, at SingJazz Club and is focused on Relief and Sustainable Impact. FB Events Page here.

    Thanks to Ashwin of Gone Adventurin’ for supporting this session too.

Session 3: Haze and Communication

  • Yi Han and Benjamin of People’s Movement to Stop Haze
    + Have upcoming volunteer activities that require support in campaign creatives (writer, producer), events ( organiser, reporter), partnerships (liaison officer), research.

    Additional note: Around 20 PM Haze members will be off to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia for a weekend trip for a peat re-wetting project. Information on the project here.

    Thanks to Jennifer Eveland for supporting this session also.

    Additional note: We rented the space at Ground-Up Initiative for this session. Aside from the fact that GUI does have lots of activities happening at the Kampung, I’m mentioning GUI here because I saw that some our SYCA LLP Aspirants went back to GUI on their own after our session.

Session 4: Sustainable Fashion and Event Management

  • Raye of Connected Threads Asia
    + Organising a clothes swap on 18 September
    + Doing a survey to understand consumer shopping behaviour
    + Collaborating with Wedge Asia to organise Behind the Label fashion talks
    + Developing a video campaign Fashion Pulpit, focusing on efforts contributing to positive impacts in the fashion industry.
  • Agatha of Green Issues by Agy
    + Research on upcycling technology for textiles, eco dyes, and emotional design of products.

Session 5a: Publicity

  • Sandra of #up2degrees
    + Launching a ‘cooling mail’ campaign
    + Developing a heartland skit
    + Potentially creating a microsite that will enable people to measure their aircon energy consumption and potential savings.

    Additional note: Today Sandra published an article on Medium- The Improbably Aircon: Why Singapore Should Care About Antartica. Read it here.

Session 5b: Green Corporates and Green Finance

Session 6: Food Security and Volunteer Management

  • Fabian of Quan Fa Farm
    + Fabian is happy to have helping hands at the farm!

I think putting together the program the start of the year and re-connecting with various groups and what they do was a good reminder for me to be aware of what other people are doing and the causes they are passionate about. Hoping to see more involvement from the Aspirants after this.

Again, if anyone is interested to support these groups, do get in touch with them directly!

Stay updated with the SYCA community on Facebook and Twitter.

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On a related note:

  • Check out the online Singapore Green Landscape 2016 list compiled by Eugene Tay of Green Future Solutions.

    “The Singapore Green Landscape 2016 highlights the 11 key government reports that are related to sustainability, and introduces the 47 non-governmental organisations and non-profits; 57 green groups; 17 business associations and groups; 52 green websites; 26 government agencies; and 49 institutes and centres in Singapore, which are relevant to the environment.”

  • Attend the Singapore Sustainable Solutions Network conference organised by i’dEco, the student environment group in Yale-NUS happening on Saturday 20th August, 9am to 3.30pm.

    “The conference seeks to promote a collaborative culture between various environmental stakeholders across the corporate, governmental, academic, and NGO sectors in Singapore to develop joint environmental solutions.”

    Schedule here.

Other things:
In July, I tweeted quite a bit of the Clean Enviro Summit, UNAS Seminar and my meeting with Shavez, Founder of 1stop Brunei Wildlife. Bits and pieces of those events can be seen on the Twitter account @norlastrina. I also went for a walk at Lentor stream, led by Hang Chong. Some pictures can be seen on the Flickr account @norlastrinahamid

I think I’m pretty much being happy on Twitter and will spend more time there than on this blog or on Facebook.