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I headed down to One Fullerton at 7pm on 07/07/07. I parked further away at Market Street as I was expecting a big crowd to turn up.

There were crowds indeed, but for the National Day Parade rehearsal at the floating platform just across the bay. The driveway at Fullerton Hotel was also packed with cars and guests for one of the many wedding dinners happening all over the island.

Volunteer helpers greeted us with markers at the pledge board, so I penned a short message:

Signing the Live Earth pledge

“Save our Trees” (I should really improve my handwriting):

“Save our trees”

 

The live telecast of the Live Earth concerts were broadcast on a projector screen at a nearby marquee. The rows of plastic white chairs were mostly vacant, people were checking out the sponsor booths instead:

Live Earth telecast at One Fullerton

I suppose if they had wanted to just watch the concert, they could have done so in the comfort of their home.Flyers and freebies were being handed out.

I got a card that proclaimed “Vegetarianism – The Noble Way of Living”. Found out later it was some sort of spiritual cult, so into the bin it went.

Otherwise the event was pretty quiet. Perhaps the crowds would come after the NDP show is over but I had to rush off for a dinner appointment.

Caught the fireworks finale while cruising along Benjamin Sheares Bridge, what a lovely sight. The traffic police with their flashing sirens stationed along the road shoulders added to the spectacle. 🙂

So Live Earth came and went over the weekend. I don’t know if anything has changed, or if people treat it as a mega-party.

At the very least, there is definitely greater awareness of climate change and that can only be a good thing.

Bamboo is the truly most versatile material. You can:

  • wear it (bamboo fibres and cloths)
  • walk on it (bamboo flooring)
  • cook with it (bamboo kitchenware)
  • chop on it (bamboo chopping boards)

It’s so versatile, we almost forget you can eat it too. Usually we just eat the shoots.

But trust the Japanese to come up with something wacky. They have turned bamboo charcoal into a fine powder, and used the ashes with anything from bread to tea!

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The big news last weekend in Singapore was the announcement by S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry that the F1 carnival is finally coming to our shores.

F1 is the most un-green sport today. Today’s Straits Times newspaper carried an article with some fascinating nuggets of information to show just how polluting it is:

  • Each F1 car burns up to a litre of fuel and releases 1,500g of carbon dioxide per km, which contributes to an estimated 10 tonnes of CO2 per race weekend.
  • The mooted night race format requires an estimated 500 energy-sapping high-intensity light poles.
  • F1 car engines are loud enough to be heard literally half way across Singapore, or shatter glass windows of nearby buildings.

Coincidentally, S Iswaran was also the Guest-of-Honour at the prize-awarding ceremony for the Eco Products International Fair (EPIF) 2006 where Star Bamboo won the Silver Medal for our bamboo flooring:

EPIF 2006 award ceremony

The EPIF and F1 are at opposite ends of the eco-friendliness scale, but there is one common link.

From the outset, the Singapore government has cited commercial reasons for courting F1: tourism receipts, branding of Singapore as a cosmopolitan and glamourous city to 500 million television viewers, and jobs creation.

That is why the Singapore government has committed itself to spending up to S$90m per year for the F1 race. If green businesses were ever to enjoy this level of support, we would have to demonstrate the same kind of ROI.

After all, it’s just business.

Bamboo is a beautiful sustainable material. It’s strong, durable and extremely fast growing. Did you know that some species of bamboo have been known to grow an astonishing 1 metre in a single day?

No wonder companies have been making all sorts of products from it for years, from flooring to chopping boards and other household items.

Star Bamboo was one of the first companies to make furniture out of the bamboo material. But it’s a matter of time before other companies caught on to this.

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I received a bounced mail today.

It was a traditional Lunar New Year greeting card sent to an overseas associate. I had written only the street address, without the city nor postal code. This is perfectly fine in a small country in Singapore, where the city is the same as the country.

In my rush, I even omitted the country, which you could see was hastily scribbled in right before I popped it in the post:

Lunar New Year card - Returned to sender

It took 3 months to be sent back to me.

This is an incredibly slow and inefficient way of telling me that I’ve written an incomplete mailing address. With email, it will take less than a minute.

Then it struck me how much I’ve come to rely on the Internet.

Star Bamboo is based in Singapore, with our factory in China, and we sell to customers around the globe.

I rely heavily on the following to communicate with my clients and business associates:

  1. Email (Email)
  2. Web site (www.starbamboo.com)
  3. Blog (you’re reading it now)
  4. Various B2B trade web sites

All these would have been impossible without the Internet. It is vastly more efficient than letters, faxes and phone calls.

Just think about how you found Star Bamboo, and chances are it’s through the Internet.

So I will be emailing my associate above to wish him a terribly belated Happy Lunar New Year instead.

Today, the newly appointed Singapore Consul-General in Xiamen, China, Ms Tee Bee Lock, visited our factory in Shaowu, Fujian.

Star Bamboo is one of the more prominent Singapore companies in the area, so it was very nice of them to come by for a chat.

The Consulate-General office is a great channel to reflect our concerns and feedback about doing business in China.

According to their web site, their mission is to “safeguard the interests of Singaporeans visiting, living and working in the Consular Districts of the Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan Provinces as well as to promote bilateral, political, economic and cultural links between Singapore and China.”

Sounds great to me. 🙂

Our Managing Director, Mr Tan Yin Keong, postponed his flight for 2 days in order to meet her.

In this day of instantaneous electronic communication, nothing beats talking face to face.

Our Managing Director, Mr Tan Yin Keong, explaining how bamboo flooring is produced to the Singapore Consul-General, Ms Tee Bee Lock (right). At the center is Ms Tee’s assistant.

Mr Tan and Ms Tee in front of our Star Bamboo factory. Actually, this is the back of the building – all the action happens at the front.

Thanks very much for coming by, Ms Tee!