Monday, August 8, 2011

A Reporter Reporting from Field

I have heard about sandwich man on the street but I have never seen one before. Not until today when a member of the campaign was walking in the Ramandan Bazaar at Kuah town, holding a cloth bag which read, "GO GREEN". While holding the green bag, he was chanting, "GO Green; no plastic bags; use containers and Langkawi Indah (Beautiful)". He was not exactly a full sandwich man as I expected, at least it served the purpose of advertising the campaign.
Selva, the "sandwich man"

We didn't have a radio deejay this time to help us with the announcement. Therefore, any technique will do. I thought this was fun and so I joined him. Being an absolute introvert person, I was not as loud as Selva, not much of chanting and just busy taking photographs.

How did the crowd respond?

Selva and me "harassing" the crowd ... hee hee

They thought we must have gone mad. Only a handful of traders smiled at us. Some of the locals were either frowning at us or gave us some awkward stares. 

It started off with the gathering of a group from a local college, MRSM, led by Kak Zuraidah and MNS Langkawi chairman, Eric Sinaya. Having to see some support from a group of expatriates was a positive sign. The college students were briefed by Kak Zuraidah and Eric before they distributed those pink and yellow bags. They were to bring the "no plastic bags" messages across especially to those who wants a free bag.

Briefing by Kak Zuraidah to the college students

Vanessa and TC were the handful of "Mat Sallehs" raring to go with their food containers
Students wearing creative looking tags to carry the messages across

Less than forty of us headed into the Ramadan bazaar with our food containers. 
A lady choosing the colour of the bag. May she make good use of the bag.

A victimised plastic bag - Someone was carrying a plastic bag with a bag of syrup, dropped it and the water spilled on the ground

Iris "bungkus" her favorite dish with her food container

A student with a tiffin carrier

What did I bungkus for dinner today? There were so many choices to choose until I didn't know what I wanted to eat. In the end, I opted for nasi campur - rice with ikan keli sambal and a vege dish.

From of the number of participants who turned out for the campaign, minus the college students, the adults there were mostly mainland people working on the island and Mat Sallehs. Whatever happen to those local Langkawians?? I didn't see any authorities joining our campaign today.

It is not an easy habit to change. We grew up with the convenience of using plastic bags and polystyrene to pack our food. I must admit that it was a bit difficult for me initially. In the beginning, I tend to forget to bring my food containers and ended up using plastic bags and the "white coffins" (polystyrene). And feeling guilty after that. 

Langkawi have a long journey to go before the mentality of the locals here can be changed. It will take some time. Therefore, the campaign must continue for at least once a month and may this group grow larger to show the local Langkawians that we are serious about this.

To Kak Zuraidah and team, Chayoh! Chayoh!


  1. Wow! This is really a confidence booster.

    It is really daunting to go out and perform such a thing, when locals will likely gaze at you long and hard, trying to figure out which nut or bolt was loose in our head. sometimes this feeling of being watched dampens the spirit, even when we're picking up stray rubbish..

    it's really nice to be in the safety of numbers!

    Ps.- I really love the photo of Vanessa/TC wearing a blue baju kurung and wearing a local helmet... makes her so... locally made!
    I think cropped, makes a very story-making portrait!

  2. Good luck! It takes a while to change habits, but I am sure you'll prevail.

    Those tiffin carriers are excellent. I've finally found a supplier here is Oz, so I think I'll be getting a few of them for picnics and day trips.

  3. Hi Raoul,
    I know what you meant by daunting. I won't do such on my own as I do not have the courage, yet. There are people who can do this on their own which amazes me. For me, I need some 'kakis'.

    p/s: the lady in blue baju was Trevie. Vanessa is the one carrying the tiffin.

    Hi Snail,
    Good on you for getting those tiffin carriers. They must be costly in OZ, right? One thing about those tiffin is that gravy will spill out if it is toppled over. It must be kept in standing position.

  4. I wonder where does the rubbish in Langkawi go?

  5. Hi Vincent,
    Most rubbish are taken to a dumpsite in Kilim, which is nicely located behind the Kilim mangroves. An incinerator is already built there to curb with the overloaded tonnes of rubbish. The incinerator has been rescheduled for operation in August (which is this month) and yet there are no news about it. While we are continuing to wait for this incinerator to start its operation, the toxic substances will continue to seep into the mangroves water. How nice...

  6. The tiffin carriers are a bit expensive, but not too bad, esp. as they last for ages. I think they'll make good birthday presents too!

  7. Hi Wchinner,

    for the incenerator, i got the info and if i not mistaken, it will be operational in august this year.



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