Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Litter-bugs honour Earth Hour

In Uncategorized on 02/04/2014 at 5:23 am

No, I’m not trying to imitate New Nation. BTW, I don’t find NN funny. It tries too hard and is too obvious

Anyway, back to the hypocrisy of those who say that we should care more for the environment. I read the following Facebook comment (with accompanying photos) “Earth Hour in Singapore: first the glitter, then the litter; after the flash, leave the trash.”

Cherian George posted the above comment accompanied by  photographs of litter that would not look out of place on Sunday morning at the barbeque areas along East Coast Park.

An uppity, irony-challenged organiser grumbled “Cherian, you make it sound as if the Earth Hour movement and WWF left the trash back. Ever managed a crowd of 9000?”

Wonderful reply, “Oh dear, … I think everyone else understood perfectly that my post was a comment on the crowd’s anti-social behaviour, and not a criticism of the organisers. Putting your spokesman role aside, don’t you find it tragically ironic that people can come for an event whose sole purpose is to show we care for the environment – and then leave it to others to clean up their mess?”

Three points I’d like to add

First is the police should make it a condition before granting permission for future “environment-themed events that the organisers clean up after the event. I’m sure the kay pohs like Maruah will say that this is a cunning way to impose additional costs on social activists. Hey, if environmental lovers can’t clean up after their event, they should be forced to do so. Cleanliness via coercion is the S’pore way.

Next, if the supporters of environmental causes are juz as bad as ordinary S’poreans, surely the govt has a point when it insists that S’poreans cannot be trusted to do the right thing without coercion: that civic consciousness needs the spur and whip of anti-social draconian laws.

Finally, if the Filipino organisers of the annual Filipino independence day celebrations at Hong Lim Park can arrange for the cleaning of the place, after the event, why couldn’t the orgaisers of Earth Day?

My serious point is that activists must not be hypocrites, less they damage their cause. Especially when the cause is to remind us of the damage that we are doing to the environment

Parks: HK 67%, S’pore 8% of Land Use/ City in 2050

In Uncategorized on 01/09/2013 at 5:18 am

Remember this?

The Singapore government said it is committed to retain about a tenth of land for nature reserves and parks.

Acting Manpower Minister and Senior Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, said this is significant for a highly urbanised city-state.

Well HK, which most of us would consider overcrowded, 66.6% of Land Use in the territory is classified as nature reserves and parks versus 8% for S’pore (ST data: So 10% is “peanuts”, when a place with 7.2m people has more green space, a lot more.

If you’ve wondering how come HK has so much parks’ land, the answer is “Land Use”. HK is pretty hilly country and the sides of hills are included in the definition of “Land Use”. Even so in terms of territory, about 30% of HK’s territory is set aside for parks and conversation areas, still a lot more than S’pore’s 8% of “Land Use” or 9.8% of “non-development” land.  But the spin goes on

By 2030, 85 per cent or over eight in 10 residents will be living within a 10-minute walk to a park.

This figure will be up from the current 80 per cent, as mapped out by the Land Use Plan released on Thursday. The promise is that even as Singapore gears up for a population of up to 6.9 million, its urban landscape will still remain largely green.

BTW, 2 S’pore buildings shortlisted for World Architecture Festival 2013 Awards Both Included inside this

Now to the future

Have you ever wondered where you or your children may be living in 2050? Experts predict that by then three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. For part of its Tomorrow’s Cities season the BBC takes a look through the crystal ball to imagine what city life might be like in 40 years’ time.


Would you like to live in a circular city? Or a city where there are no parks but lots of greenery? Check out this highly commended audio slide show.

Another green idea for S’pore

In Uncategorized on 05/08/2013 at 5:11 pm

From the land of the common loon bird and Berrie Bear: skyscrapers made of wood

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has designed dozens of iconic skyscrapers, including the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago, the new World Trade Centre in New York and the current record holder, the 830-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai. All are made primarily from steel and concrete, the materials of choice for tall buildings for over a century. In its recent Timber Tower research project, however, SOM explored the possibility of recreating a 125-metre-tall reinforced concrete residential building in Chicago using a combination of timber columns, wooden panels and concrete beams and joints.

That the project concluded it was technically feasible, economically competitive with traditional building methods, and could reduce the building’s carbon footprint by up to 75% came as little surprise to Michael Green. The Canadian architect who kick-started the “tall wood” concept in 2012 is currently overseeing the construction of the world’s tallest wooden building in northern British Columbia. Expected to be completed next summer, when it will stand at a relatively modest 30 metres, it is a showcase for Canada’s wood products and building expertise.

The case for wooden high rises is rooted in their environmental benefits. While concrete emits nearly its own weight in carbon dioxide during production, the raw material for plyscrapers literally grows on trees, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere as it does so. Responsibly harvested wood is naturally renewing and, when a building is finally torn down, can be recycled or burned for energy.

And imagine roof gardens or farms on the top of wooden skyscrapers.Double the natural friendliness. Farms need not be the usual farms

But fish ponds in the sky  would be too heavy for plyscrapers.

Fishfarm in the sky!

In Uncategorized on 01/07/2013 at 6:12 am

Here’s another idea for our City in a Garden

Other ideas:

Is this “Singapore news and current affairs”?

In Humour on 29/05/2013 at 5:50 am

(For the time challenged, scroll to end)

Now is “Singapore news and current affairs”, but this?

Roof-top gardens: don’t need structural changes

One major problem for having roof-top gardens or farms here is the need to ensure that existing buildings are structurally to sound to carry the weight of soil.

Hydroponics and aeroponics – a type of hydroponics, but rather than growing in nutrient-rich water, grows in the air and the plants get sprayed with nutrients – can be used to grow plants on roofs, which would otherwise be dead space, and which could not hold the weight of soil needed for a conventional garden. bring on the farms and gardens on HDB roofs with this, Khaw! Tower Garden kit

Phew, this site has less than 50,000 (a lot less) unique visitors a month. So no need to bitch about the new MDA regulation. But there goes a vibrant, reasonably reasonable new media scene based here. Do everything anonymously from overseas.

NParks hates greenery? Doesn’t talk to other govt agencies?

In Public Administration on 06/05/2013 at 5:16 am

I was sad to read this in Sat’s BT

THE Moove Media cows started grazing on Singapore’s landscapes again yesterday and will continue to do so until May 26. Moove Media, the advertising arm of ComfortDelGro Corp, has teamed up with the National Parks Board (NParks) to launch a “Happy Cows, Happy Hearts” campaign to celebrate Singapore as a City in a Garden, as well as to promote graciousness and kindness.

All 600 cows – which are made using recycled plywood and printed using eco-solvent ink – carry a red heart on their backs. They will be displayed alongside over 1,000 30-inch-wide red hearts made up of fibreglass in about 50 locations including Raffles Place, Orchard Road, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Fort Canning, Braddell and Sengkang.

Surely there are better, more imaginative ways to celebrate 50 yrs of  the “greening”* of S’pore than by putting up 600 artificial cows in parks? True, it didn’t cost NParks any money. And true, it would not be practical to have 600 cows or even 600 goats or sheep grazing our parks. But surely the irony of celebrating S’pore as a Garden City with artificial cows must have occurred to the mgt of NParks?

It could have got corporate sponsors to pay it to plant a few “instant” trees around Speakers’ Corner to give shade to those using the corner. And that would have had the additional adv of scoring points with those who want to lessen the place’s capacity.

Or seriously, what about a commemorative roof top garden, along the lines of those roof top gardens built by the HDB (see below). And paid by corporate sponsors? This could showcase the imaginative way S’pore is developing the Garden City theme to cope with 6m people.

Oh I forgot, NParks doesn’t talk to other govt departments. NParks didn’t talk to the police recently. It asked Gilbert Goh to apply for a police permission for his May Day protest because of “foreign participation”, even though he clarified that there were no foreigners organising, or speaking at the protest.

“When contacted by Yahoo! Singapore, a member of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that foreigners can attend and watch the protests at Hong Lim Park without a need for permit. There will only be a need for permit should there be foreigners organising or speaking at the protest.” (Yahoo! report)

Skyrise greening seeing ‘wonderful results’: Khaw

Currently, Singapore has more than 50 hectares of rooftop greenery islandwide in public and private buildings such as housing estates, schools and shopping centres.

Mr Khaw said this puts Singapore among the leading cities doing it.

Besides creating a green oasis for residents looking down from higher floors, the rooftop greenery provides space for community interaction and helps to cool down the surroundings.

Residents could enjoy the use of community gardens, foot reflexology paths and study corners at these MSCP rooftop features, Mr Khaw said.

He cited Jurong East and Dover Crescent as examples of how rooftop greenery is helping residents relive the kampung spirit, where neighbours get together to plant flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Mr Khaw said that the HDB has plans to implement nine hectares of rooftop greenery in existing MSCPs within the next few years.

(From CNA report several months ago)

He also talked of experimenting with vertical plant growth i.e. on the sides of HDB buildings. That would be something.

Related post:


*It was in 1963 that one LKY started the first annual planting tree planting campaign. Enhancing property values, must have been one of the aims.

Botanical Gardens: What Heritage status means

In Humour on 14/04/2013 at 5:07 am

A few weeks ago, it was reported that S’pore made an initial application for “World Heritage” status for the Botanical Gardens. And a few days ago, ST carried an editorial on the issue, praising the govt, last week, for making the application.

I couldn’t help but recall an exchange, a few years ago, at a seminar on investing in Penang. A lady presented on how the inner city of George Town acquired the status. A S’porean senior official said the problem with status is that once given, the govt cannot change anything. hence S’pore never applied for anything. He asked why would Penang take that risk with part of its capital?

Lady’s reply was along the lines of, “If you made a decision to preserve something that you think is unique, why would you want the flexibility to then tear it down? The inner city is one of a kind that we in Penang want to preserve.” The S’porean official was stunned by the rebuke.

Coming back to the Botanical Gardens, I hope the govt realises that if the Gardens get the “World Heritage” status, the govt would never ever be able to aircon the place. Now while I love the place, it can be rather hot or humid, or both, often. Nothing like air conditioning the place. I’m sure Donaldson, New Reublic’s chief editor, would agree. The weather has him has praising the aircon on his Facebook wall.


“Vision of the Singapore of the future is Punggol”

In Humour on 08/02/2013 at 7:24 am

Guess who said this? Not Ah Lian, Low or other people-in-blue trying hard to show us that they are not men-in-white clones, or PAP Lite despite Low’s comments on Opposition unity and forming a non-PAP govt. (I must say, I’m impress by their rhetoric on the population White Paper. Bet you they are not getting New Year goddies from the WP’s tradition funders: Chinese-owned SMEs. But this and Low’s comments are two tales for the future. And Moley says to keep an near out for what Low says in the debate, if anything at all.)

Nope, said remark or shumething like it was made by Khaw, the PAP’s chairman.

Surely he can’t be predicting that the voters of S’pore will be like the voters of Punggol? (OK,. OK, Pungol East): kick out the bums PAP with a 11%age points swing. Likely he meant S’pore will be a two-party state like Punggol, where the PAP have four MPs to every one WP MO. If so, long way to go. The present ratio is 8.9:1 (and I’m generous to WP). Wonder how come GG is still there? Shouldn’t he have to step down, now that Ah Lian is MP. Bet you Eric Tan must be waiting in glee for the day GG has to step down. For those with short memories, Eric had Low’s promise to recommend him to the WP’s portiburo for the NCMP post, something Low never denied. Low said he had “changed his mind”.

And noticed that Riverdale Plaza flooded? The Gods are unhappy that PAP lost? Or that the WP opposed the White Paper? I mean the WP is supposed to be PAP Lite, not the SDP the real Opposition.

Or yikes!Ah Kong is unhappy the PAP lost and is making the people of Punggol East repent? If this is the case, he is greater than Mao. Mao only became a god after his death. As was Caesar Augustus: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”

LKY can easily say, “I was born in a S’pore full of slums. It is now a city of high-rise public housing.”

And as the year of the Snake begins on Sunday, here’s a story on a village of snakes in China. Have a prosperous Snake year. Make money! And good health! And good eating over the next few days.

Light postings from now on until third or fourth day of CNY. And pity the WP. No abalone, lobster, bak kua or other goodies from their SME funders this year. Kanna eat chor bee and roti prata.

A natural topic for national conversation

In Political economy, Property on 11/10/2012 at 5:49 am

An article in SunT ST last week on farming on the rooftops of HK reminded me that I had written in My S’pore: A greener & more pleasant land about using the roofs of our HDB blocks and other high-rise buildings to create a greener S’pore using examples from Switzerland. I also added, “This being S’pore, we could use HDB roof-tops to be self-sufficient in basic veggies, and range-free eggs.”

Well not only are the Hongkies now farming on the top of high rises, but I have since learnt that the Americans were already doing it for some yrs now: The idea to grow more food within city limits has spread in recent years along with increased awareness about the quality of our food and where it comes from. Advocates say urban farms can also provide important green-space and, when built on roofs, help reduce energy use and storm-water runoff. In dense cities like New York, with high real estate prices, rooftops represent enticing, unused space. Several cities, including New York and Seattle have revised zoning and building codes to help encourage the practice.

Maybe Khaw can get his planners to see if leasing out the roofs of HDB blocks to wannabe farmers can help lower the cost of the HDB flats to S’poreans?

And this is a natural topic for our National Conversation (Ya silly pun, I accept). It is a non-political topic of conversation for the S’pore of 2030.

Only SDP and NSP activists, Ravi the lawyer, KennethJ, Goh Meng Seng and TJS will strain out gnats to find a political angle to this issue. LOL.

Related link: Parks along abandoned railway tracks in the sky (NY) and on the ground (England)

News submerged in “ponding”?

In Infrastructure, Political governance on 25/01/2012 at 6:12 am

The u/m news report appeared in ST’s Breaking News on 21 January 1012. And a much more detailed version in ST.


Better model to predict floods likely in the near future

It will include 3-D land-height map of Marina catchment area for a start

Published on Jan 21, 2012

National water agency PUB could be using a better flood-prediction computer model in the near future.

It will include a 3-D land-height map of just the Marina catchment area for a start, to predict the direction in which rainwater will flow at ground level during storms, and where flooding might occur.

Such a map, which the PUB has commissioned, will depict land height in that area to within 10cm accuracy.

Computer models now in use only predict how rainwater flows within drains and canals, and the intensity of rainfall they can handle.


So it seems that no detailed studies were done on the catchment area that resulted from the new Marina Barrage.  So how can it be claimed by the authorities that the barrage did not cause the “once in 50 yrs” Orchard Rd floods. They occured twice in two months in 2010. And late last year, parts of Orchard Rd were “ponded”. 

No wonder this news came out on a day when S’poreans  were at the start the CNY hols? It was a gd day to “pond” the news? So did the same PR people who advised the use of “ponding” advise releasing the news on a day it would disappear without trace? If so, VivianB should kick the PUB’s new CEO again, juz as he did over the use of “ponding”. [The last two sentences were only added at 9.00am, hrs after the original posting.]

BTW, the “50-year flood” minister (“Speak to me in English” Yacoob) is now in charge of taming the Internet Tsunami. Can’t solve “ponding”, so moved to handling a tidal wave. Taz meritocracy S’porean-style? He is also a poster boy for a “sacrificing” minister. He was an associate professor at NUS earning at most couple of $100,000. He then became junior minister, with a starting salary of abt a million. Wow some sacrifice!