Change is hard

I still remember, back in high school (circa 2006), I learnt about waste management in Geography. I was in awe that Japan and German are very particular about this. How they recycle and separate their waste are beyond me. I started imagining how cool that'd be if the same thing is applied in Malaysia - I visualised my classroom having three separate bins for paper, plastic and glass. At that point of time, there was only one TV ad about recycling that I can recall, in which they sang this jingle which material goes to which bin. I was amazed but then, that was all. The bins were provided at recycling centres or shopping malls but I must say, I didn't do much recycling and I believe very little was done by the rest of the society. 

These recent years, I found videos of the Japanese recycling ritual. There's this one video that documented a district in Japan that separate their waste into 23 different categories! How on earth...

Then, I started to notice this in Korean dramas where everyone sorted their waste. Hmmm it won't be that hard right...

So, when I heard an ad about separating waste from the radio last year, I was very much intrigued. Can we, Malaysians do this? Pardon my scepticism but the ad includes warning and consequences of being fined should you not separate your waste, starting from the mentioned date. I mean, we are barely exposed / educated to the idea of recycling and separating waste and out of nowhere, the enforcer decides to fine anyone who is not doing so. I'm a Malaysian, living in Malaysia and went to Malaysian public school and I firmly disagree that there is appropriate amount of effort in educating Malaysians for this. For one thing I know, changes take place gradually in order to make an impact. 

There are very few actions that can be seen/felt by the public to acknowledge them regarding this issue although there is no denying that there are TV ads to promote this. What lacking is, maybe the intensity (or maybe because of our financial crisis...) of awareness. How many people around you actually recycle? 

IMHO, I find it rather demotivating to issue fines / punishments before anything else. I don't even know what to separate and you're already talking about punishments? Dude, I won't even bother to do it then. End of story. -- Well, at least that's what the defiant part in me thought. But, because I had been in awe with those recycling heroes I mentioned above when I was younger, I started to look up for it on the net. I still find it hard to separate waste properly (because it's a matter of habit!) but I tried.

The thing is, changing habit is a slow and sometimes long process. Educating the youngsters is one of the most vital things. Start with the kids at school - educate them and train them to make it their habit. These children can be the agents to make their families aware of this too. Only then issuing fines is necessary. 

However, this is just my bubble of thought. Coz you know how law is enforced here. One minute you're told you're forbidden to do it but then, no one is enforcing the law so nobody cares and you keep doing what you shouldn't . And, even if you're caught, you can get away with all the money you have *smirk

Change is hard. 

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