Going GreenPosted: March 16, 2008
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?