Tuesday, 1 May 2007
May Day! May Day! They are endangered
It is Labour Day today in Malaysia. And also Wesak Day.
As we rest today to honour all the workers of the world I salute a special, and perhaps dying breed, of dedicated workers who keep our garden clean. The tools of their trade are all traditional and absolutely environmentally-friendly. They sweep with brooms made from the stiff spine of coconut leaves with a wooden handle, their rakes are made of strips of bamboo bent at the tip and spread out like a fan and their baskets are handwoven with strips of bamboo.
They need no electricity to operate nor any fossil fuel.
They are very quiet and bothers no one, especially classes in session.
How long will they be still around on campus? The noisy motorised grass-cutters are now everywhere, even on campus. It used to be the grass-cutters swung sickles attached to long handles in graceful circular motions - over their heads and then down to the ground in swift strokes to effortlessly slice the grass. Already the noisy motorised leave-blower have made it to Malaysia. You can't enjoy your doughnut in peace at the Sg Buloh rest area when one of these is around. It may not be long before these monsters make it into campus too if we don't reward (pay enough) these workers who are probably one of the lowest paid in the hierarchy.
To who ever is keeping this sustainable practice alive on campus, I take off my hat to you. Now let's figure out together what to do with the leaves and yardwaste which these gentlemen in grey gather.
And to the rest of us on campus - have a heart. Pick up your thrash (plastic bags, paper, styrofoam containers). I see them all mixed with the leaves. Throw the thrash where it belong - in the garbage bins (but why generating rubbish as you walk; or drive?). Otherwise your thrash will end up in the yardwaste. That's going to make it a little more difficult when we think about composting and mulching the leaves. Yes, that's what we hope to do in the near future.
Posted by Lik Meng at 20:34