Monday, December 31, 2018

Noise pollution in Singapore needs a complete review: An open proposal to the Singapore Government : By Raymond Anthony Fernando


Noise pollution in Singapore needs a complete review: An open proposal to the Singapore Government  

 

It is most disturbing that our seniors have to end up taking refuge in fast food restaurant like McDonalds to escape from the noise created by inconsiderate neighbours in The Sunday Times report, “Singapore Mcrefugees”; September 11,2016”.

 

 I full empathize with these seniors who after working for decades and most probably have to deal with health issues cannot get some peace and quiet in their own homes.

 

In a most recent case, a 61-year-old woman who was captured on a video attacking her neighbour’s flat with a chopper and subsequently tasered by the police, was arrested in the wee hours of Christmas day. The elderly woman in question had gone to her neighbour’s flat at Blk 157 Serangoon North Avenue 1 to complain about the noise level, which led to the neighbour calling the police.

 

In the US alone, it is estimated that 100 million people are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise, typically from automobile and aircraft traffic.

 

Noise pollution is an often-overlooked source of environmental stress that can raise your risk of serious health conditions, including mental illness and even heart disease.  With noise polluting the environment from construction everywhere you travel in Singapore, including the irritating noise from leaf blowers, it is little wonder that the number of patients at the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) units and heart centres in hospitals are on the rise.

 

Travel along Orchard Road and the loud music and promotions from giant TV screens will deafen your ears.  Then you try to relax your mind at a local cinema and again, the noise from the theatre will just turn you off.

 

Why can’t the volume in cinemas be put at a reasonable level?

 

Why can’t the speed on the leaf blowers be lowered so that the noise does not disrupt the peace and quiet which residents in the neighbourhood need?  School children need to study, so in what way is the excessive noise generated from these leaf blowers helping the students to concentrate on their studies in their own homes rather than have to make them travel to the library to do their homework or study for their examinations?

 

Even if you want to pray in church and find solace at this place of worship, it is difficult to do so as the leaf blowers are also hired by the church to clear the ground and drains after the grass is cut.

 

It is futile for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to constantly remind Singaporeans that it is our responsibility to take care of our health when the environment here is polluted everyday with noise, noise and more noise. 

 

The Ministry of Law is supposed to come up with laws to ensure that noise pollution is kept well under control. Therefore, it must work in tandem with MOH and the Environment Ministry to put a grinding halt to noise pollution, or least manage noise to an acceptable standard.

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

 

 

Public Suggestion: Develop local farms for food supplies to cater to the consumption of citizens of Singapore : By Raymond Anthony Fernando




In early December this year there has been a been a war of words between Singapore and Malaysia over air space and port waters.

 

According to the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) about 73 per cent of Singapore's eggs are purchased from Malaysia, with around a quarter produced here.

 

On 16th December 2018, Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that the country may limit or stop the export of eggs to ensure sufficient supply for its domestic market.

 

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub also announced on 17th December that the Malaysian government will prohibit the export of four species of wild-caught fish and shrimp to meet the shortage in the market during the monsoon and festive seasons.


According to Bernama News, Minister Salahuddin Ayub. said that "kembung" (mackerel), "selar" (trevally), "pelaling" (Indian mackerel) and "bawal" (pomfret) fish, as well as shrimp, will be prohibited from export from Jan 1 to Feb 28, 2019.

Many Singaporeans enjoy eating eggs and seafood – and you will often see our citizens heading down to Johore to tuck in on their delicious seafood dishes.  With the Lunar New Year in Mid-February 2019, people celebrating this colorful festival will be disappointed that their favourite seafood dishes will not be made available during the reunion dinner.

The UK produces less than 60% of the food it eats. Although agricultural activity occurs in most rural locations, it is concentrated in East Anglia (crops) and the South West (livestock).

In anticipation of other food supplies that may be halted such as fresh vegetables and fruits, Singapore has to plan well ahead to meet our local consumption. 

Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, Pulau Ujong. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia: The Woodlands 1st Link in the north and the Tuas 2nd Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's smaller islands.

 

With some effort, I am confident that the AVA and the National Environment Agency (NEA) can collaborate to develop our very own farms on some of these islands to produce pork, eggs, vegetables and seafood for local consumption. Sheng Siong and NTUC Fairprice can be invited to tender for the project. Students can be taught agriculture in schools and if the collaborations are successful many Singaporeans, young and old can find jobs in this industry.

 

In addition, the cost of living can be significantly reduced as local produced goods are much cheaper than imported ones.

 

Another plus: Singapore can export these home-grown products to other countries and with good marketing plans put in place by the Singapore Tourism Board, our economy will be boosted.  

 

Sincerely,

 

Raymond Anthony Fernando

 

 

 

 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Opinion Piece: Set up an ASEAN Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF) > By Raymond Anthony Fernando


There are two kinds of active citizens: the first group are citizens who continue to contribute to society upon retirement.   These people do not believe in retirement, and continue to engage in hobbies such as gardening, photography, making music, or taking up volunteer work.
 
The second group are the more vocal Singaporeans – social activists who are the voice for the "voiceless".
 
Social activists are people who have the courage and conviction to bring about social change.  These people who adopt a ‘never say die’ attitude – with sheer guts and determination have the power to change things that we don’t agree with — whether it's what’s in our mass-produced food, the escalating cost of living, treatment of animals in captivity, inequality between genders or races or how our marginalized citizens are treated. 
 
Active citizens should not just point out flaws in the system, but offer constructive solutions to problems.  When they begin to take action to bring awareness to the causes, which they are passionate about, these citizens naturally become well-respected activists in the process.
 
I have been an activist for close to ten years now –and will continue to give out useful suggestions that can help build a better world. 
 
Active citizens are also those who take on a vested interest in the well-being of our citizens. They step forward to help without being asked to when they witness something wrong.  When a robbery took place in broad daylight at Raffles Place in November 2014, many Singaporeans of different races as well as foreigners, went to the aid of a wounded man who was bleeding very badly, and pinned down his alleged attacker.  It was a clear sign of our public spirit – a form of active citizenry.
 
I also applaud Singaporean Charis Mah who started a mass online petition to bar self-proclaimed United States "pick-up artist" and dating coach Julien Blanc from entering Singapore to hold seminars.  Blanc’s tactics has come under fire in many countries like Britain and South Korea as he advocates physical violence, intimidation and emotional abuse on women to persuade them to have sex.
 
Some of our ASEAN counties of which Singapore is a member country have often experience earthquakes, volcano eruptions and typhoons, flooding and landslides where lives and property are lost – in a most cruel way. Communication becomes a huge problem when phone lines and cables get damaged, leaving many of her citizens in anxiety as they are unable to contact one another. When anxiety becomes unmanageable, depression sets in, and healthcare cost increases It’s a vicious cycle.  Re-construction efforts cost millions of dollars.
 
In Indonesia, the death toll from the volcano-triggered tsunami at Anak Krakatau
has reached at least 281 people, with warning of more such eruptions to take place.  More worries:
  • 1,016 were injured, 57 are missing and 11,687 have been displaced.
  • Indonesian rescuers are scrambling with diggers and other heavy equipment and even their bare hands, trying to free survivors from the rubble.
  • More than 600 homes and more than 400 boats and ships were damaged.
Fortunately, Mercy Relief and the Singapore Government is steeping forward to lend a helping hand.
 
In the Philippines, approximately 20 typhoons, storms, landslides and storms with flooding cause havoc to the country. In a recent incident, on Saturday 29th December 2018, another typhoon struck the country damaging roads, property and homes. 
 
The Buddhist Charity Tzi Chi Foundation will not forsake the Filipinos and will once again step forward with reconstruction efforts to rebuild the country. Very noble of this charity!
 
As of 2010, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has 10-member states, one candidate member state, and one observer state. ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 with five members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
 
Given that huge costs are needed to rebuild the lives and property in counties that are hit with natural disasters, and in the spirit of AEAN Solidarity, adopting the principle of “all for one, and one for all”, I propose that an ASEAN Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF) be set up to help with reconstruction efforts, medical supplies and food delivery.  NGOs like Mercy Relief and the Tzi Chi Foundation can partner the member countries for this humanitarian scheme.  Every country can contribute a fixed sum each month towards the ADRF and the funds can be managed by the AEAN Secretariat with audits carried out periodically to ensure that the money is not misused, but routed to the purpose that it is intended for.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Raymond Anthony Fernando