Friday, August 6, 2010

Was Grandma a founding member of the Green Party?

When I was growing up, even a grain of rice left uneaten will bring a reprimand or a threat my mother that I will be married to an 'ugly' wife if I didn't leave behind a clean rice bowl after a meal. Did I take the threat seriously? Of course I did. The fact that I am married to my beautiful wife is the testamentary proof.
Does this threat work on a modern child? It did work for awhile when our son was young and believed that Santa Claus lived in North Pole. But not for long, when he was in kindy, he reckoned that he had the dumbest parents in the world to believe such a threat from his grandmother. Today, he still thinks his grandmother was a clever person and very much ahead of her time to dished out such a threat for her environmental conviction. We can't win, can we? We should have threatened him with climate change, carbon footprint getting bigger and the uncontrollable greenhouse gas emissions from a start. Well, it was too late, anyway it was nice to think that we did pass the same message to him when he was still writing to Santa in North Pole for his Christmas presents.
I do not wish upon the threat of "marrying ugly spouses" on those who have half eaten food left on the table whether at the food court, restaurant or home. But I do believe the best thing that can happen to food is that it makes it to our plates and is enjoyed. Although the vast majority of us already think throwing away good food is a dreadful waste, but do we really think about the serious environmental implications that go with it. Just think about all the energy, water and packaging used in food production, transportation, storage and food preparation before it arrives on your plate. This all goes to waste when we throw away perfectly good food. We may be asking ourselves, why does so much food that could have been eaten get thrown away? The only reason I can think of is "cooking or preparing too much" and serving too much rice or food and it gets left on the plate or "not using food in time" - for example having to throw out fruit and vegetables because they have gone off in the fruit bowl on the table or crisper in the fridge, or not eating food before it goes past its use-by date.


  1. Uncle Phil,
    Your mother's threat was nothing compared to mine. I will be reincarnated into a water bufalo to plough the in rice paddy field for all my wastage!

  2. Hello, so true...we are a generation of wasters and waste creators! There is a Zen prayer that goes like this: 72 labours brought us this food, we should know how it came to us...
    These days kids have abundance of food so they don't think about those of us who grew up with one orange to share among all in the family!

  3. Hi lady lavender,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. My wife and I belong to a generation where a bottle of F&N orange drink was shared among our siblings. We have just visited your blog and realised that you came from the same cultural background. Please continue to spread the message in your blog and we will to do the same.
    Phil & Jo

  4. Hi -- same cultural background yes...where a 5c coin was a bullock cart wheel! I am enjoying going through yr posts!!! Keep writing....Hope yr laksa leaves have recovered...mine are thriving due to the rain!

  5. We have managed to salvage some of our herbs and they recovering nicely in the bathroom. I will plant them in the backyard once the weather is warmer. Unfortunately, our prized daun kaduk (betel leaf) is not doing well.