Initially I had sensed a little tentativeness on his part. That was probably because he had gone through my blogs and found that I had never really written much about the environment before. He may have been wondering whether I would have anything interesting or insightful to say about environmental issues.
Well, in the end, I don't think he was disappointed. There are many things in the world which Mr Wang hasn't blogged about yet, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have opinions about them, heheh.
Purely by coincidence, I've just come back from a trip to Australia. During that time, I met up with an ecology/environmental volunteer with a special interest in plants. He was a 63-year-old man who cycled 60 km that morning, so as to meet me. The reason why he didn't drive is that he doesn't own a car. The reason why he doesn't own a car is that he does not want to contribute to air pollution and the global consumption of petroleum resources.
He also told me that until last year, he never turned on the heating in his home. If it was cold, he would just wear thicker clothes and sleep with more blankets. Conserving electricity is his other little way of helping to protect the environment. It's only now, when he's starting to get some arthritis in his joints, that he has started turning on the heating during winter.
Until recently, Western Australia was having a prolonged drought right now, and this old man felt that it was a "blessing in disguise". He said that the drought had the benefit of teaching Australians to be more environmentally aware. He proceeded to give me a detailed theory of what the true cost of beef should be, taking into account the cost of the amount of water it takes to raise a cow.
What I saw in this old man was a deep love for Mother Earth and a very strong sense of responsibility for the environment. Do such staunch advocates of the green movement exist in Singapore? Perhaps, but there can't be many.
As I was telling my interviewer, the level of environmental awareness in Singapore will be driven more by economics than anything else. If water and electricity become more expensive; if petrol prices go up; if more shopping centres start charging for plastic bags - these are the sorts of things that will make Singaporeans sit up, take notice and start adopting greener sorts of lifestyles and habits.