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TC bins are for burning joss paper, not other stuff.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The haze is very bad today. I didn't want to leave my home which has an air purifier on 24 hours a day.

Then, I had a craving for Mee Pok. Sigh. I decided to brave the haze and went out for lunch. Almost immediately, my eyes started to itch and my nose became runny. What I would do for a bowl of Mee Pok.

Well, was it worth it? Yes, the Mee Pok was good but on my way back, I saw a man trying to poke some candles into the grass verge at the car park. He had a whole stack of joss paper on the ground too.

I think most of us have seen burnt patches of grass, concrete pavements and metal grills which cover the drains before. This is despite the fact that the town councils (TCs) have placed metal bins for the burning of joss paper for Taoists to practice their religion.

The grass patches, concrete pavements and metal grills are public property. We know we shouldn't damage public property. Of course, burning them also affects the aesthetics of the environment.

Source: NEA

Anyway, I told the man that if he was thinking of burning joss sticks and joss paper on the grass patch, he shouldn't. There are bins for that purpose. I told him he would be damaging public property. 

He was very defensive and said that he was only placing the candles and joss sticks in the ground. He said he was going to burn the joss paper in the bin behind the building.

I took his word for it. What else could I do? I couldn't stand there and watch him. 

When I drove past the same spot a few minutes later, I saw that he was gone. No candles and no joss sticks in the ground either. Good.

Singapore is a densely populated country and it would be a more pleasant place to stay if we are all more considerate towards others. Before we do something, think how it might affect the common spaces and other people.

I also had an experience of telling some people not to use the TC bins for burning other stuff. This was when I saw two men, probably South Asians, who were disposing big pieces of styrofoam in one such bin. 

They weren't just throwing them into the bins, they were burning them! Imagine the smoke and the smell!

I told them to stop immediately. I asked them if someone told them to do it or did they do it on their own? They pretended not to understand. 

Then, I told them if they were to continue burning the styrofoam, they were going to die soon because the fumes were poisonous!

I saw their eyes widened in fear and they started fishing out the pieces of styrofoam faster than they put them in earlier. I found a new way to teach people the English language. Fear.

I quickly left after that. I am sure my life shortened by a few minutes in that encounter but I saved the environment from greater harm, I told myself.

Please don't be afraid to tell people if they are not aware that their actions are harmful to themselves or others. Of course, we can only hope that they listen.

Related post:
Vandals and selfish cyclists.


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