Going Green

During my short stay in the UK, several things struck me as unusual from our day-to-day lives over here.

  • People walk more often there. Be it to the grocery store, post office, the University.. I walked more than two kilometers a day just going to and fro my house to the shuttle bus stop, whereas here, I sometimes drive just to get from one faculty to another (that explains the extra inch!). Then again, you can’t expect Malaysians to walk often due to valid reasons; (1) our weather is so totally not walking-friendly, (2) our roads aren’t many which are pedestrian friendly either. I can’t even begin to imagine walking along Karak Highway to reach my University, though the distance is similar to my daily walk in the UK. But I think this is closely related to point number 1 -got to do a research on this to confirm, hehe.. (3) hot weather + the polluted air = no, NO walking!!
  • Women smoke a lot more freely, unlike here where female smokers are either “too pemalu” to smoke in public or not that many to begin with
  • Obesity is a BIG problem, literally. From my preliminary observation, kids as young as 14 are too heavy to walk, hence the common sight of big-bodied youngsters riding scooters at public places. Nope, not those skateboard-like thingy where you slide on one foot, but the ones you ride on that are powered by motor. Maybe there is some truth in downing too much McDonald’s..
  • Elderly folks like living on their own and are very independent. I was neighbours with this charming and ancient of a woman, and she lived her life in solitude pretty happily. Her home is filled with books. Well, what else is there to do anyway? Even at the city, you can see these veterans shopping by themselves, or riding the bus, with no kids or grandchildren to accompany them. The same thing can be seen here, though not common. I noticed most of our elders prefer to spend time with their offspring and grandkids at home. I attribute this situation to a good transport system. Not that ours are bad, but they definitely could do more improvements!

But one of the most glaring difference comes during grocery shopping. The Britons really do practise the use of recycle bags in good faith. Old or young, many shoppers are seen carrying their own re-usable shopping bags instead of putting their groceries in plastic bags each and every time they go grocery shopping. I noticed this trend, no, realization, is catching up in our country recently (public campaigns only started last year, right?). Six retail giants took part in giving awareness to Malaysian consumers on the importance of recycling. Kudos to Carrefour, Giant, Jusco, Mydin, Tesco and The Store for starting this initiative.

I admit I wasn’t that devoted in recycling before (not that I wasn’t aware of its importance) but it’s true that traveling and seeing different places open your eyes, and heart. I’ve begun to bring my own bag to the pasar malam, and it’s funny to see the hawkers’ reactions when I insisted on no plastic for their food. Some were intent on giving me their plastic bags anyway.. Hehe. Oh well, we got to start somewhere, right?


5 Comments on “Going Green”

  1. sevven says:

    Isn’t it interesting that two of your observations don’t seem to match, i.e. people in the UK (and in the US too) walk more while at the same time have higher incidence of obesity? We may not be walking more anytime soon in Malaysia especially with global warming and all, but we’re definitely catching up on the latter!

  2. tomei says:

    yeah, you’re absolutely right! i guess their eating habits offset the benefits of walking 🙂
    in fact, that’s not the only thing paradoxical. western parents lavish their kids with so many early development toys & gadgets, healthy diets and ala dr.spock child rearing tips, they even stress on the Ps & Qs.. but when their kids grow up, they don’t seem to be that close with one another. whatever happened in between?

  3. Lizzy says:

    To answer your query (which you posted ages ago at my blog), yes, I’m in Adelaide for good (or until we strike rich and get to buy my very own island,think Maldives).And yes, I got even more environmentally-conscious and I love the idea of of no-plasticbags.The same applies here with ye olde folks, but I feel kinda sad for them, in a way that these people had kids…and ntahlah, personally proud that us Malaysians sedaya-upaya trying to take care of our parents without ending up as a Majalah 3 hari raya special episode, if you know what I mean.And the thing about walking around from point A to point B, have you ever terpeleot walking in your heels on our versi of a kaki-lima?Hmm?

    p/s an anjing gigit my tumit last week when I went for my walk.trauma skit lately nak jalan-jalan in my neighbourhood.

  4. beatenia says:

    I think this might explain why people go obese in developed countries but it sound very geeky.

    Why Have Americans Become More Obese-http://home.uchicago.edu/~jmshapir/obesity.pdf

    honestly I only look at the intro…somehow division of labour involved…

  5. tomei says:


    had a breeze through it and most of what’s been said is true, like people get fatter as food is ‘easily’ to prepare now, or that their self control is, uh, uncontrollable.

    personally, i think it’s because western snacks just taste too dang good! not just that, they’re just sooo many choices available in the market. US canned/express/whatever-u-call-it food is much tastier and a whole lot more to choose from than in the UK. and these people eat stuffs like mcdonald’s on a daily basis -c’mon! and no (or little) exercise? you’re just askin’ for it.

    and another thing, most so-called high flyers now spend too much time in front of the computer. sure they work a lot, just their heads. virtually no movements below the neck. add this to all those easily reached pop tarts, macaroni & cheese, twinkies, instant pizzas, instant cheese cakes —>> a very BIG you indeed

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