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 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.


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

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:…/ekamatra-tampilkan-kisah-tengk…

Background story on Tengku Alam Shah in English:

Where are the members of the royal family now?

// Friend suggested I read up on Kesultanan Riau-Lingga. Parking it here first


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.

– 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

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.


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:

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.

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. 


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. 


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

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.


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

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.


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 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


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.


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!


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.


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.


My thoughts are everywhere, on Twitter, on Facebook, in my head. And they’re all jumping from one topic to another.

I have a post drafted for the blog over the weekend, but then I decided not to publish it.

What I will record down though is this:

Formal Education:

It has been 2.5 years since I left school and the past months I have been thinking about going back to school. I was looking through various programmes and the one that interests me most is the MSs Global Environment, Politics & Society at the University of Edinburgh. I’m 27 this year and my goal is to enroll in the programme before I turn 30.

I even know what I want. Sem 1: Global Environment // Economy, Ecology and Ethics // Political Theories and International Affairs. || Sem 2: Global Environmental Politics // Energy Policy and Politics // Human Rights, Global Politics and International Law. I sound so sure, but this is the kind of mix that I would be interested to study.

Massive Online Open Course:

(updated) Today I signed up for 3 courses on Coursera.

  • Global Diplomacy – Diplomacy in the Modern World
    Jun 27, 2016 – Aug 8, 2016 || University of London & SOAS University of London
  • Politics and Economics of International Energy
    Jun 27, 2016 – Aug 29, 2016 || Sciences Po
  • Oil and Gas Industry Operations Market
    July 20, 2016 – Aug 15, 2016 || Duke University

I registered 3 days late. My plan is to spend time on W1 classes for both courses by tonight. Side chat: for GD I have to read Hans Morgenthau, “Diplomacy”. It’s only 15 pages long. But I’m taking forever to read this 1946 text.

The larger plan is for me to slowly prep myself for the MSc. If it happens. If not, good for me for learning more stuff.

Professional Development

For work, the company subscribes to HubSpot. We had a call on 9th June, and then 23rd June. The next one will be on 7th July.

Long story short, between Monday 27 June and Tuesday 28 June, I got myself 3 certifications there:

  • Inbound
  • Inbound Sales
  • Email Marketing

There were times when I ended up reading the transcript only. There were times where I listened to the video and read the transcript. I personally feel the three I took first are manageable. It’s most theoretical.. or something that makes sense. I still need to fiddle with the software and start using it.

I’m also planning to take Growth-Driven Design Agency Certification first week of July (I skimmed through the course materials. Definitely more intensive and I need more time)  as well as Content Marketing Certification when they launch it. Hopefully by end August I will have 2 more HubSpot certifications.

I need to re-evaluate everything again by end August.

I have been a hermit crab the entire June and it was only this week that I started to be more active.

The “social” life in July has been pretty much laid out already.  Pictures up on Flickr as and when.

Pizzas, Perspectives and Politics

Pizza. Vegetarian Pizzas.

  • Thu 2 June. #LepakInSG internal meeting. Roma’s Deli at Shaw Towers. I think I had the Mixed Mushroom Pizza. Also had the Pastry Soup.. it was one of those, try once for the experience kinda item.
  • Tue 7 June. #LepakInSG new members meetup. Roma’s Deli at Shaw Towers. Chicken Mushroom Pizza. (Roma’s Deli is a Vegetarian Cafe. Looking at the menu, sometimes I forget it’s a Vegetarian cafe.)
  • Thu 9 June. SYCA internal meeting. Mel ordered the Vegetariana from Peperoni.  Among others, it had Eggplants. I like Eggplants.
  • Sat 11 June. I met Yi Han and had the Vegetarian Pizza from Pastamania. After a week of vegetarian pizzas.. ingredient wise.. the others fared better.


  • On the Solar Industry
    • Published on 2 June on Singapore Business Review- Ask the Solar Energy Providers what they think of Singapore’s solar power prospects and they tell you solar financing is a challenge. Article here.
    • Shown on 5 June on News 5- Ask a Scientist what he thinks of the future of solar energy is in Singapore and he gives a lot of positive responses. Catch up video here. 19th minute onwards.
  • On REIDS
    • Heleen, whom I met in Bangkok in January shared Engie was organising a talk on 6 June in Singapore as part of #ENGIEInnovTalk week. I went I listened. And then I asked Teddy from ERI@N two questions; (a) When is the completion date for REID and (b) How he saw this project being implemented in the Southeast Asia region. He replied (a) There is no completion date and (b) REIDS in Singapore is a testing site, and when applied to specific countries can be adapted to local context. Of course, my questions and his answers were much longer. I just remembered going home thinking (a) Wow. EDB and NEA and the companies currently involved has a lot of money to pump into this. We’re talking billions of dollars. And (b) There’s a number of rural electrification projects in the ASEAN region, but what’s the financing mechanism behind each local projects, the policy framework in that country to support such a project, the capacity building workshops for the locals..
  • On Advertisements
    • My family subscribes to Singtel Mio package. Recently, I saw an advert which I thought was stupid. I remember the camera moving from bottom to up to her chest and focusing on her cleavage for some time. The advert was to tell customers something about the R21 content made available to us. Two thoughts came to mind- (a) Why is our national telco perpetuating this sexualisation of the female figure (I mean.. why not show a man with a bulging dick right?  Why not?) and (b) Why can’t we just inform customers things as it is- that the R21 content is available and that’s it?
    • Ever since Eva Longoria appeared on the Magnum ads, I’ve always had the impression that Magnum intentionally ensures its ice cream campaigns are sexual. But the latest one I saw from Magnum Singapore “Release the Beast.. Dare to go Double” with all the sexual innuendos irks me more because of the utilisation of big cats which were “walking around” with the models. I had no idea animals love ice creams too.
  • On Universities
    • Yesterday, it was announced that NUS was named the top Asian university for the third year straight. NTU was 3rd and SMU 60th. It reminded me even more how competitive the education system here is.
    • Just using my profile for an example-
    • Tuition fees was something I had to deal with, and many students still have to deal with. For comparison-
    • Just the thought of thousands of local students having to compete to get to a local university or be burdened with finding ways to finance their tuition fees annoy me. Growing up, there was a part of me who was jealous of students in some European countries who had/ have free universities. And in that aspect, I think that is also why I have more admiration for local students who had to work their way through school and managed to juggle work and school.
    • In Singapore, there is compulsory primary education. Globally, 59 million children of primary school age is denied their education rights, be it due to them living in area of conflicts or coming from rural communities and so on. Looking from it from that angle, I think what needs to be pushed out more to young children in Singapore is that they have most opportunities in life to take charge and create positive change worldwide. Additionally we need to keep asking ourselves “What is the purpose of our education?”.. because at the end of the day, if we are going to be just a cog in the wheel making the country run as efficiently or as productively, then I think we need to re-evaluate our existence.
    • In the larger scheme of things, I think what we have is “options”. I met Siang Yu two weeks back maybe and we were catching up with each other. She was sharing she got some land for farming in Melaka and was intending to move there in the next few years. I was sharing what I was doing now. Then I remembered meeting Dot last week and she was sharing Min was moving to Mauritius as her husband was starting a hospital there. And it occured to me how lucky we were, how fortunate we were to have “options” to do what we want in life. Maybe these options are some things which were created due to our effort. I’d also like to think we have options like these because we grew up here in Singapore, we were born here, by luck, when we could have been born anywhere in the world. There was a study done which re-affirmed kids from richer families are more likely to attend better programmes. I think it works the same in this context.. young people from more affluent countries are more likely to do better in life.. because we had things given to us systematically. Whether or not we utilised those opportunites is another thing. And going back to this “options”.. I think realising that we always have options is key to our personal development. So yeah, doesn’t matter if you can’t get what you want either, there will always be something better in store for you.


  • Singapore– Singapore Police Force interrogating Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng over alledged cooling-off day breaches. Say what you want about local politics in Singapore. For this particular incident, I had been reading posts by Kirsten Han. Learning point for me..  when it comes to politics, of course there is differential treatment in Singapore.
  • Maldives– “Five rival opposition groups announced today a united front to remove President Abdulla Yameen from office, urging supporters to bridge differences to restore democracy.” Article by Maldives Independent here. Learning point for me..  (a) If the opposition parties can come together to put you out of government, that says something about you as a leader and (b) Many small opposition parties coming together creates a larger impact. That’s something the local Singapore opposition parties can learn from, and what green groups in Singapore and learn from too. I think the whole idea of coming together to collaborate, coordinate and strategise is so important if we want to create and implement widespread changes.
  • Malaysia– Fahmi Reza, whom some have dubbed as the Banksy of Malaysia, recently got called in and charged for depicting their Prime Minister as a clown. That was brave and creative of Fahmi. And probably a poorly executed move by the authorities because this second charge caused a number of mainstream media to pick up the image and publish it to their sites. I wonder if Singapore has our own Fahmi Reza. We do have Cartoon Press.. but in terms of outspokenness and flavour, it’s just different.

I’m also planning to be offline mostly Sun 19 June to Sun 10 July. Have a great mid-year everyone.

Post Edit

Since this is a personal blog, I thought I should record this memory as well.. (a) 28th May was when I had a sharing with Eugene’s sustainability mentorship programme and attended the Ci Yuan YEC CC event and then hopped over to this open mic session.. (b) Among the many memorable firsts, like travelling alone for most parts from Jogja to Bali, Indonesia in 2012, and Lima to Cusco, Peru in 2014.. this memory from 2016 shall be on par with the two.

Sat 28 May: Yours truly singing “I Don’t Want to Change You” by Damien Rice at Open Mic Platform, organised by OOOM Singapore, as part of Farmer’s Market organised by Central Singapore Community Development Council. Thanks Jonathan How, Founder of OOOM Singapore for encouraging me to perform publicly and getting Andy Philip of Clouds & Shadows to accompany me!