Published works and Content Creation

News of 23 year old goalkeeper, Alexander Nübel’s departure from Schalke has been criticised by several sports commentators. Barely a year as Schalke’s captain and #1 goalkeeper, Nübel is choosing to move to Bayern Munich, where the odds of him actively playing and learning are close to zero. Like many other young players that were offered to move to the great Bayern Munich (read: $$$), he will be on the bench as the #2 goalkeeper, after Manuel Neuer. No games unless Neuer can’t play.

Had Nübel stayed in Schalke for a couple of years, the amount of experience gained of not only playing most Bundesliga games but also leading his team (both in winning and losing), is priceless. Nübel’s choice reminds me of some fresh graduates jumping at the chance to join a huge corporation but end up gaining limited opportunities to develop his/herself. Small teams/companies/organisations, on the other hand, are leaner and run faster, because everyone plays an important part.

What would you do if you were Nübel? Money and “fame”, or experience?

Within a span of a year, Greta Thunberg’s weekly lone ranger act of skipping school to stage a climate strike outside the Swedish parliament has spread globally into what is known as the Fridays for Future movement. Despite being at the tender age of 16 and diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Greta’s display of her commitment to the cause has been impressive.

By refusing environmental awards and refraining from travelling by air for international conferences, she has catapulted herself as a leading climate change campaigner, and earning audiences with various international leaders and politicians. Her message to them: to “listen to the science”, and also understand the acuteness of impending environmental disasters.

While these consistent and passionate efforts by a female teenager with disabilities are commendable, it is unclear how influential Greta’s call to “listen to the science” will be in getting politicians and corporations to address this “urgent climate emergency”.

Without discrediting the genuine concern that these young protesters have about the catastrophic impacts of climate change, one way forward would be to comprehensively understand existing societal concerns, and engage existing social movements. In other words, to listen to societies.

Read my full commentary here.

“Global food price shocks have demonstrated the urgent need to effectively address food insecurity in Southeast Asia – both at the national and regional level”

This think-piece goes beyond issues of supply and demand of food, and provides greater insight to the role of Human Security in understanding the issue of food security in a holistic manner. Click here to read the article.

 

Photo by George Reyes @ Flickr.

“The over-reliance on the government for solutions, however, reflects what some have termed as the nanny-state syndrome: due to years of strong state intervention and action, people have become apathetic and expect the government to address all problems.”

Read more about addressing climate change in Singapore in this article in Asia Dialogue, the online magazine of the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute.

 

Photo by yeowatzupPublic Housing, Dover, Singapore, CC BY 2.0, Link 

In a think piece “Ensuring Good Health During the Hajj in a Time of the H1N1 Pandemic”, I  – together with researchers at the RSIS Centre for NTS Studies – commented on the progress and prospects of H1N1 pandemic mitigation efforts in Saudi Arabia leading up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in 2009.

The piece noted that despite the complex circumstances surrounding pandemic preparedness during the Hajj, successful mitigation of a pandemic spread is possible with efficient multi-sectoral cooperation amongst Hajj officials and pilgrims. Such efforts must also be given greater emphasis in the media so as to ensure accurate and holistic reporting of events thereby reduce the likelihood of media hypes of a pandemic outbreak.

To read the article, click here.

My two cents worth on the pitfalls of riding on Crazy Rich Asians wave for promoting tourism in Singapore.

One of the broader impacts that my colleague, Luenne, and I mentioned in the article is the ramifications that it potentially has for the average middle-class Chinese. This is particularly so in places where Chinese are a minority community and have faced discrimination due to the stereotype of being “crazy rich”.

Running through my Facebook feed today, a Chinese-Indonesian friend had this to say about  the movie.

“Crazy Rich Asian –> a stereotypical, rather than representative image of Asia. Therefore, it is a dangerous movie.”

We were spot on.

To read the article  published on 17th Sept 2018 in Today (Singapore), click here.

 

nukes PE commentaryThree Years after the Fukushima Nuclear disaster several Southeast Asian governments have revived their nuclear plans, with Vietnam leading the way for six nuclear plants. The moves have been galvanised by Japan’s U-turn to retain nuclear energy after initially wanting to phase out nuclear power plants after the 3-11 disaster.

Like it or not, the prospects for nuclear energy in Southeast Asia are likely to grow, thus making it necessary for governments to give sufficient attention to their public awareness strategies on nuclear energy.

Click here to read the full article [in pdf format].

On 8 February 2014, Young AMP launched ‘Faith and Nature: An Eco-Guide to Greening Faith Communities’ in a bid to enhance environmental awareness and action amongst faith-based communities and organisations in Singapore. This publication was jointly authored by Sofiah Jamil, member of the Board of Management of Young AMP who champions Project ME: Muslims and Environment, and Farheen Mukri, from FirstFern Training and Consultancy.

In addition to highlighting environmental principles embedded in various faiths, the eco-guide also includes a checklist for faith-based organisations (including places of worship and religious schools) to audit their current efforts in adopting environmentally friendly practices, as well as recommending ways to reduce resource consumption in their daily faith community activities and engage other stakeholders.

The event also included an inter-faith panel discussion on the role of faith communities in environmental action. Panellists for the session were Brother Esmond Chua (Order of the Friars Minor), Venerable Seck Kwang Phing (Singapore Buddhist Federation), Master Chung Kwang Tong (Taoist Federation Youth Group) and Mr Vivek Kumra (Hindu Endowments Board). Sofiah moderated the discussion and shared some insights from her ongoing PhD research on Islamic environmental initiatives.

The discussions showed that there were many common themes across faiths on environmental protection such as humans’ responsibility in protecting God’s creations, the role of the youth in spearheading environmental action, and the importance of education for all sections of society.

Discussions were all the livelier given the active audience participation. Amongst the 60-odd participants were members of various faiths and environmental activists. The latter group provided various examples and practical solutions that could be adopted by the various faith communities. Ibu Mahaya Menon, for instance, spoke of the significance of natural medicinal plants, while Bhavani Prakash spoke of the prospects of growing your own food in limited spaces and visiting areas that have successfully walked the environmental talk.

Some among the audience also noted in the subsequent discussion that the society of today is preoccupied with consumerism, which increases the degree to which urban dwellers value materialistic lifestyles. Such attitudes also permeate how many believers approach their own religions; some believe that they can spend more money to win more blessings from their deities, while others believe that they do more good than others by virtue of donating more money.

Those interested in reading the guide can visit www.youngamp.sg or http://thegreenbush.wordpress.com/faith-nature-guide/ to download the electronic version of the publication. Limited hard copies of the book are also available for faith-based groups and organisations at AMP in Singapore.

book_launch_poster

If you’re in Singapore on the 8 February 2014, do come for the Launch of Faith & Nature: An Eco-Guide to Greening Faith Communities. This eco-guide is a must have to equip faith and community organisations with the necessary tools on how to operationalise environmental ethics and principles. The event will also have an inter-faith panel discussion on how various faith communities can do their part in increasing environmental awareness and action. Best part, the book is freely available to all  🙂

Interested participants are kindly requested to register as shown in the poster above.

For more information and to download your free copy of the Eco-Guide, please click here.