Thursday, July 9, 2009

It starts with me

Frequently, I would be questioned on why am I so environmental conscious? Why did I go into vegetarian dietary or even pick up the trashes on the floor as it is so dirty. It seems illogical for me to do it as if anything needs to be change, it has to be changed on the grand scale. I alone will not be able to make much of a difference. Even if I pick this trash up, there are bounded to be another litterer somewhere else. It is almost guaranteed that later someone is bound to litter here again. How many litters or bottles am I able to pick up? What if I keep seeing them down the path I walk? Do I pick them all up? As for my vegetarian dietary habit, they will argue that even if you don't eat, there are many others who are eating it. Animals are still going to get killed and demand is still going to be there. Even monks eat meat so why should I be different? What is the point of depriving myself of the luxury of eating since it is not going to make a difference?

Frankly speaking, I had similar mindset in the past. It looked pretty logical at that time. Why change when everyone else isn't doing anything? Why make the effort if it is going to get worst anyway? Statistically wise, it just ain't smart and depressing. Many times, we were told that there was nothing we could do about what's happening. The world can only be changed by a selected few movers such as Einstein, Ghandi, Bill Gates, Buddha, Jesus... So we should wait for them to appear while we just live on with our life. Those days, I just feel powerless to do anything about it. So why bother?

Today, it is interesting to see myself questioning that if I do not do it then who will? Why can't it begins with me? Great Walls of China is built by a brick at a time. It definitely feels more empowering in focusing on what I can do rather than what I cannot do. I cannot make others change their actions but I know I can make my hands pick up the rubbish or change my preference of food.. These days if people ask me why bother? I say I just do my best. If I can pick up one rubbish, one it shall be. If I can pick ten up, ten it shall be. Just do what I can do. There is no need to judge or be judged by anyone.

That day while I was at Punggol Beach, it was filled with litters. While I was loathing over the inconsiderate litterers, I came to realize that this was something I could not control. However, I could control how I feel about it and how I can deal with the issue. In the end, the simple walk at seaside became a huge manual work. Picking up plastic bags, Styrofoam boxes, plastic bottles, rubbers, batteries and all kind of rubbish. No doubt I could not pick up all of them, but it felt really good doing what I could.

It will also amaze you when you set yourself into action, people may get influenced by you. My personal experience shown that my parents were having more vegetables, friends were impressed and more open to vegetarian food and love ones become supportive in my actions. We can be of influence.

In the future, if you ever have doubt again whether it is all worth it, do think again. You may not see it immediately but time will eventually show you the contributions you have done to humans, our environment and most importantly Earth. Do it for yourself. Do it for the children. It has to start with someone. Why not you?


  1. U are absolutely right. I find that it is quite a lazy (almost reflex) response when people claim that their bit does not matter and that the world will go on turning whether or not they help.

    Sometimes I get apathetic too, especially when it comes to charity fatigue and it is difficult not to be cynical about things like NKF money wasting scandals.

    However the truth is: Every little bit helps. As Mother Teresa says: "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop".

    I have been a fan of Michael Jackson since I was in secondary school. He taught me a lot about life, things that my abusive family did not teach me.

    And one of his songs is particularly apt. MAN IN THE MIRROR where the chorus goes (from memory):

    I'm talking about the man in the mirror,
    I'm asking him to change his ways
    No message could have been any clearer,
    If you wanna make the world a better place,
    Take a look at yourself and make a change.

    Very profound indeed. Much as I admit that he is extremely eccentric and unusual, he is undeniably a great humanitarian who encouraged people to HEAL THE WORLD because WE ARE THE WORLD.

    Thanks for your insightful post!


  2. Hi May, sorry for taking so long to reply. Haven't been logging into my blog for quite sometime.

    I am a fan of Michael Jackson too. I agree that through he is extremely weird but then again, most of the great ones like Albert Einstein were considered eccentric to others.

    I really love this song 'Man in the mirror'. As I am typing this reply, I am listening to it again. It really touches me deep down, bringing shiver throughout my body. Thank you for sharing it with me. It gives me strength and reason to do some changes in my life again.

    Thank you May, thank you very much.

    (Thank you Mike. Love and miss you. Hope you been well there)