Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist by Gurmit Singh
How did environmental activism begin in Malaysia? Who were the key players back in the 1970s, when the international community was just starting to notice climate change? ‘Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist’ chronicles the life of firebrand Malaysian environmental activist Gurmit Singh, from his childhood as a self-professed bookworm to a vociferous environmental advocate who played a prominent role in Malaysia’s environmental journey.
Born to Sikh parents in Japanese-occupied Malaya in the 1940s, Gurmit went on to found two NGOs — Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia and CETDEM — the first civil society advancing the field of environmentalism in Malaysia. Gurmit’s passion for green issues also saw him speaking at various national and international conferences, including the UNFCCC COP, not only putting forward the Malaysian perspective, but speaking for the ‘third world’ and the global good.
The book traces Gurmit’s often-tumultous relationship with the Malaysian authorities, earning him the reputation of a ‘human rights activist’ who refused to be cowed down by draconian laws. Despite his tense working relationship with government, he was conferred the Langkawi Award in 1993.
With more than 50 pictures, the memoirs cover Gurmit’s childhood, his university days, work with Malaysian government and representation of Malaysian and Asian NGOs at international conferences. The book will be relevant to anyone interested in knowing Malaysia’s environmental history or considering a career in ecological activism.