The Green Dollar
Green Dollar

Red Dot. Green Dollar.

Our little landlord must have huge dreams when it comes to making a big buck out of the green race people are running these days. There on the front page of the Green Energy supplement of the Business Times not too long ago was a spin on Singapore being confidently and gladly aware that there is a demand, not by the villagers themselves, but by the governing parties for independent energy systems.

We are still pondering over how we can be the energy source of our rural neighbours though. A declaration in other words by Valerie Choy and Dickson Yeo, energy analysts at the Energy Studies Institute, is: “Singapore can help but there are no quick fixes for rural energy needs in South-east Asia.” Having lived in a village myself, I mean what I say when I say the villagers are happy to be left alone to deal with the state of their energy resources. Home stays sweet with the deficiencies for most, and money is something you make in the urban towns if you want it. Villages remain sustainable without the intrusion of money, and the dollar is only something for the ambitious and greedy as it moves them out of their homes to be tempted by petty crime to survive in the big bad world. Human nature remains. More often, development is viewed as destruction, and along with it, the killing of sentiments dear to the heart.

If green energy were to go hand in hand with sustainability and the return to Gaia, the piece glaringly on the first page should be reason why the supplement should be named “Green Dollar” instead of “Green Energy”. So maybe this is EDB’s answer to a coffee break when it comes to dealing with energy conservation issues of the urban population of close to 5 million we have on the island. The tag on the embedded picture says: “According to the International Energy Agency, 160 million people in South-east Asia, most of them living in rural areas, have no access to electricity today.” Providing energy for this 160 million is equally difficult and maybe why a logically good distraction when it comes to submitting a work report to the boss. To be fair, all of us need somewhere to go to in times of need. I used to text my boyfriend when I stress out, but now I cry out to God who is always faithful.

To be encouraging, we are test-bedding on Pulau Ubin. Perseverance may see the R&D’s team breakthrough giving birth to a new energy system sturdy enough to uproot our current one, creating a deeper meaning to what people know us, as the Clean and Green City, in the future. EDB says they are actively finding non-profit organisations to base here, which I imagine jump up and shout hip hip hooray, there’s work for us.

As mentioned by Valerie and Dickson, South-east Asia is a region of diverse income levels, topography and natural resources. Finding a workable and sustainable solution for the modernising population is not only a matter of technology, but that of social-demographic studies and urban planning. MM Lee’s vision for Singapore is to be an international city, no longer just an Asian one. Is providing a unique solution, as mentioned in the article, important to our end goal in this case? I do see that the old man’s vision of being internationally connected goes hand in glove with being green. How else reliably can you get the Straits Times’ news than digitally online if you are being a global citizen not living on home turf but working for our government?

On the other hand, the authors claim that non-profit organisations often have the most “on-the-ground” experience in implementing energy solutions in rural communities. But physically bringing them here sure has the benefits of exchange, but do they understand the cultural and geographical elements of South-east Asia at the snap of a finger? Can we not relate and work on what has been built by forefront green countries like Sweden and Germany, and adapt it to a solution suiting in costs and climate just for us? Can we not relate and work on what has been built by forefront green countries like Sweden and Germany, and adapt it to a solution suiting in costs and climate just for us? Maybe they are questions already answered. The answers are probably available only to privileged insiders. This looks like another commodity we will be selling in addition to our water cleansing technology that has stood for us in a big way in the past.

Then there was a full page on policies. Half of it went to how some are set in place to encourage corporate participation on home grounds; the other went into slightly more complex political issues when we are placed in the global context of the UN’s initiatives for climate change. There is so much fact and figure in here that not the me that is not big in the scene, says hide out: just live the greener personal lifestyle and stop understanding what’s going on. And just as when we are getting weary about the state of affairs, we get hope from knowing that somewhere in the future, electric cars will become the norm, and not the over-hyped when we hear Oliver Risse talk about the big year 2015 in which up to 5 million charging points will be installed worldwide. That is a short 4 years away. What would traffic and the roads look like here at that time?



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