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Promoting Asian perspectives on sustainable development May 24, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

WORLD leaders will once again congregate in New York from Sept 25 to 27 this year. They will adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, aiming to change the world in 17 steps with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In Seoul last month, the Korean Association for International Development and Cooperation (KAIDEC) had convened a meeting of development experts to discuss Asian perspectives on the new set of goals, targets and indicators that will replace…

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The Exile and The Promise June 15, 2017 – Posted in: Reviews

A personal reflection by E V Ratnam. Somewhere in his book, A Malaysian Journey, a conversation arises between Rehman Rashid and a friend regarding an individual’s destiny. Each person, according to Azman, an ex-soldier Rehman had once met, is deemed to have made a ‘promise’ in a moment of his pre-existence. This hypothetical commitment, this ‘promise’, once made, becomes that person’s vocation. “You ask yourself,” says Rehman to the friend, “what would you do if…

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Dedication and Personal Choices ‘are the key’ to a Healthy Environment June 1, 2017 – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

If there’s a key lesson in conservation, it’s this: you need to keep at it. So says Gurmit Singh, a veteran Malaysian environmentalist who has just published his Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist. “Everyone thinks planting trees is great. But they forget that trees have to be maintained,” Singh stressed at the launch of his memoirs. “I now tell people that ‘I will support your effort if you check every six months to see if your trees are alive.’…

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True Blue Activist – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

ENVIRONMENTALIST Gurmit Singh has spent his life educating Malaysians on the real cost of preserving nature. Although he is not always successful in creating deep change, the man described as a ‘true blue activist’ continues to be passionate and patient. The 75-year-old recently unveiled his biographical work titled Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist, chronicling his non-conformist ways, environmental activism and his perspective of the world. Born in Japanese-occupied Malaya in the 1940s, Gurmit was a…

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Maintenance key to addressing environmental issues, says activist – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

by Terence Toh, The Star “Maintenance key to addressing environmental issues”, says veteran activist Gurmit Singh. “Most of the problems pertaining to the environment in the country today stem from issues of poor maintenance.” Speaking at the launch of his book Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist, the Penang-born activist said Malaysians were very good at constructing new things, but terrible at keeping them maintained. “Everyone thinks planting trees is great. But they forget that trees…

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The unwavering eco-activist – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

The unwavering eco-activist by Elena Koshy, NST Pressing the doorbell to the headquarters of the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem), I’m mentally going over my notes and questions. The gate opens and the first thing I do is trip over it, narrowly escaping an undignified tumble on the floor. Nervousness brings out the clumsy in me. After being given perfunctory directions to his room (“Go up the stairs and turn to your…

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This man has been fighting to save Malaysia’s environment for half a century – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

This man has been fighting to save Malaysia’s environment for half a century by Terence Toh, The Star For most of his adult life, Gurmit Singh K.S. has campaigned tirelessly for the nation’s green soul. He’s written books and papers about pressing issues. He’s formed two prominent local environmental organisations – the Environmental Protection Society, Malaysia (EPSM) and the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia – and been involved in many of the country’s major…

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Heritage Trees of Penang—Kew Bulletin review November 26, 2015 – Posted in: Reviews

As Head of the Arboretum at Kew where I curate the outdoor temperate tree collections in the UK, this work is not the normal subject of a book that you will find in my library at home, but is a valuable new addition to my shelves that I have since used as reference. On my summer vacation to Florida in 2011, I visited the Fairchild Botanic Garden in Miami where I was introduced to a…

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‘Living Landscapes’ review by Creighton Connolly November 23, 2015 – Posted in: Reviews

Living Landscapes Connected Communities: Culture, Environment and Change across Asia Justine Vaz and Narumol Aphinives (eds). Areca Books, George Town, 2014, pp. xxviii + 344 (ISBN 967-571-911-7). This ambitious book is derived from a multiyear project titled ‘Community-based Initiatives toward Human–Ecological Balance’, which was initiated by the Asia Pacific Intellectuals (API) Foundation and centred upon five diverse sites across Asia. This captivating volume examines the lives and environments of each community visited and asks how the residents in each place have…

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Review of ‘The Chulia in Penang:Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957’ by Barbara W. Andaya August 25, 2015 – Posted in: Excerpts, Reviews

The Chulia in Penang: Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957. Khoo Salma Nasution Penang: Areca Books, 2014, 560 pages, 200+ maps, photographs and illustrations, ISBN 978-967-5719-15-8. RM$135.00 It is very hard in this short review to do justice to the years of meticulous research and the personal commitment that will make The Chulia in Penang required reading not only for Penang specialists but for those working on Malaysia, British imperialism, and Indian…

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