CETDEM Organic Farming Project

     
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Interview with KGG Member
Mr. Kenny Ng Khian Ee of Bukit Mertajam

 

Kenny joined as a KGG member in early 2005. He is married with 2 daughters and is doing business in the electronics industry. We were curious to know why he joined CETDEM and has strong interest in organic. Thus we conducted an interview with him while we were in Cameron Highland on 8-9 October 2005.

C: CETDEM
K:Kenny Ng Khian Ee

C: What is your interest?
K: I have wanted to live an organic lifestyle. I wish to volunteer in an organic farm for 3 months and learn about organic farming and go into farming one day. I have been looking for land but without success so far.

C: How and why did you join CETDEM?
K: Last year I realized that I wanted to change my lifestyle to a much simpler one after living a ten-year lifestyle with lots of entertainment. My wife has been consuming organic food for the past 3 years and we thought that it would be good to live an organic life. This led me to search the Internet and found out about CETDEM. I became a volunteer in CETDEM Organic Watch ’05 Exhibition on Organic & Natural Products and got to know Ms. Tan. I am inspired by Ms. Tan’s simple lifestyle and her work that contributes a lot to society.

C: Why do you want to go into organic?
K: Though I know that the organic business cannot help me to earn a lot of money, but I like the simple lifestyle and living close to nature. A life should be in loving, kindness, caring for all living beings in the world. But my life has been self-centered, pursuing money and material wealth. I am still a selfish person though.

C: How organic are you?
K: I have been eating organic vegetables and products seriously for the past 1 year. The main understanding of eating organic food is safety and health reasons, but I have started to be more aware of environmental issues and our lifestyle needs to be “organic” as well. I am trying to carry baskets when buying things to minimise usage of plastic bags. Our toiletries have changed to non-chemical as well.

C: Would you encourage more people to go into organic? If yes, how?
K: Yes. Our Rukun Tetangga (RT) has organized solid and organic recycling programmes. I find that email is a good tool to spread the organic message. I have been emailing organic activities to my friends and business associates and they seem to respond to it, but surprisingly some of them have not even heard the word organic. In my opinion, a lot of people relate organic to health and the consumers mostly are the cancer patients. I find that the awareness on organic lifestyle is not there yet, and I hope there will be a booklet to educate people on what organic lifestyle is.

C: Do you have your own garden and make compost?
K: Yes, I am still learning on how to grow vegetables. I grow mostly herbs. I did make compost from kitchen waste but was not very successful. I did not do it properly and did not stir it. It has maggots but no smell.

C: Are there any organic issues that you strongly want to address?
K: I find public awareness is not there yet. Most people know the harmfulness of chemical agricultural products but do not care. They still happily consume those chemical vegetables and fruits. We need to find out the root cause of the ‘apathy attitude’ and then organise education programmes for them. We need more organic farmers and organic consumers. We need to have more affordable organic products. I often use the word ‘cheaper’ but Ms Tan always corrected me by using the word ‘affordable’. We need well versed organic retailers. We need more people like Ms Tan and Mr Gurmit to champion these issues.

C: What do you think of the organic future?
K: In my opinion, an organic farmer cannot get rich unless he does it on a large scale. I don’t think if I were to start a small organic farm it will face a threat from large exporters like China, Thailand or India, because if we were to really practice the organic way, I believe we will gain trust from the consumers. I hope more people will consume our own local vegetables and care for our environment.

C: What makes you happy?
K: I find money cannot make me happy. I hope I can contribute more to society and wish I would be able to do it one day. That will make me happy. ?

 



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