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Johor Bahru, MY

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Tuesday May 30th 2017 06:46:45 AM
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Viewpoint

scMr Steve Cowan is the Principal of Sri Ara, the ‘Original International School’ in Johor. He is also a columnist, public speaker and author of more than 1000 e-books covering such diverse topics as making stained glass, bonsai growing, horse riding and most aspects of learning English. Mr Cowan is our Viewpoint columnist. He is from Britain and has lived in Johor Bahru for more than 10 years. Mr Cowan is sharing with us his experience and views about living in Iskandar. His column will cover wide range of issues facing Iskandar. Here is his first article:

This is your early wake up call…

Back in my student days – sometime around the dawn of the Napoleonic Wars, or so it seems from this distance – I remember my Professor sagely telling me that it’s never good to start with a cliché.

But - with all deference and due respect – I’m going to do it anyway. Heck, even clichés need a little tender loving care and attention sometimes!

Either way, it’s still a fact that none of us should ever stop learning and being in an International School, I know this more than most. It is drilled it into the kids every day and – for the most part – they happily take it on board and understand what they’re being taught.

The concern is that this willingness to keep learning doesn’t always seem to extend to adults. Too many folks seem to be stuck with attitudes that are ten, twenty, even thirty years out of date in so many ways and this is not good because as long as it continues, how are we to grow?

Let me give you an example. We teach our students about the importance of looking after the planet and its environs because in future years, this will be their World, right?

But what if the ‘ignorant oldies’ (like me and maybe you?) have already destroyed it, or reduced it to such a poor state that recovery takes decades or centuries?

What do our youngsters do then? What do they eat or drink if we’ve turned over all the crops to make biofuels to keep our cars running and there’s no clean water left?

Even in a country with such plentiful rainfall as Malaysia, water quality is a major problem, with many studies and reports suggesting that the degree of river pollution is creeping inexorably higher year upon year.

And yet people widely choose to ignore it.

Why?

Maybe it’s because they’ve still got clean water, and therefore, it’s not their problem.

Well, guess what?

They’re wrong, and here’s why…

As a starter, higher pollution levels translate into more money spent on water treatment, which means higher water bills for you and me.

Yes, we all pay for pollution from our pockets, and yet somehow, this fact manages to escape our attention!

More worryingly, whilst the plentiful rain and the beautiful forests of this country do help to maintain water quality levels, it’d be a very brave man who’d confidently predict that this will always be the case.

Then there’s the fact that the population of Malaysia is relatively young. It’s inevitable that the number of mouths that need feeding will grow significantly in the next few years.

More mouths mean more food to be grown, and growing ‘stuff’ is the biggest single usage of water.

You cannot nourish crops or livestock with toxic water because even if you could do so – extremely unlikely at best – the results would be toxic foodstuffs, right?

Part of the ethos of the Iskandar project is that everyone in JB is entitled to a higher quality of life, a better lifestyle, and improving the quality of our environment is obviously an important element of this.

Thus it’ll be that sometimes I rattle on about environmental issues and it may be that I put a few noses out of joint when doing so. If that’s the case, so be it – sometimes you need to stir things up to get results.

But it’s not all going to be ‘green stuff’.

At heart, I’m still a City boy from a major industrial hub in the North of England at heart, and there’s no way I’ll ever be a full-on tree-hugging bearded weirdy!

Instead, it’ll be whatever takes my fancy or rattles my cage at any given moment and I hope that you’ll stay with me for the ride!

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