‘We owe nothing less to our fellow citizens’


Dato Sri Ang Lai Soon

Three news items in 2012 set a relevant backdrop and sense of proportion to Homo sapiens and indeed our world, both in time and space.

In terms of time, in November evidence of light from the first stars formed in our universe some 500 million years after the big bang was detected and in December on our planet earth a 243 million year old Nyasasaurus (dinosauriform reptile) fossil was discovered in Tanzania.

In terms of space, the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched on 15 September 1977, finally entered interstellar space on
14 Dec 2012, having reached the end of our solar system some 18.5 billion km from earth.

News in 2012 was dominated by what may be termed inter Homo sapiens conflicts, over type of governance, over belief systems, over territory, and over power, and the destruction caused by natural events, such as earthquakes, floods, and fires.

By comparison little publicity was given to the conclusion reached by the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha that efforts over 20 years to limit and reduce emissions from our industrial, transport and power generation systems had met with little success.

However, the Conference held out some hope for the future by resolving to produce and agree on revised binding obligations to reduce emissions by 2015.

Only time will reveal if the agreed date on implementing those obligations, 2020, will avert destructive rises in global temperatures.

The need for Homo sapiens to live in sustainable harmony with our environment for the long term survival of our species received scant attention in the media, yet is encapsulated in the approaching extinction of the African rhinoceros and the orang-utan of our area due to our activities.

On a cosmic scale, our problems and that of the world may be irrelevant. But as history records and as we see for ourselves during our own lives, we do have the power to change our environment in all its aspects for the better or for the worse.

A New Year and the coming of spring offer an opportunity for a new beginning.

Following centuries’ old customs, many of us make New Year’s resolution, committing ourselves in the year ahead to goals of self-improvement and achievement, ranging from the inconsequential (I will eat less) to the grandiose (I will build a family palace on the seafront.)

I would like to invite all whatever their status and standing in society, to make the following New Year resolutions for 2013.

We will do my best to live in harmony with our environment, cherishing all nature’s flora and fauna at all times.

We will use all the influence we have to ensure everyone at all levels in our society actively promotes sustainable development in harmony with the environment at local, national, and international levels.

We will use all the influence we have to prevent unsustainable environmentally destructive projects.

May 2013 be a satisfying and fulfilling year for each and everyone of you and your family.

I wish you all A Happy New Year.