Post-event report: Movie & Chatter on Asia’s Water Woes

On 23rd March, Friday, about 30 members of the public as well as NTUC members came for a very special event.

Moving away from previous movie screenings, this time we were able to feature a very local documentary maker, Jean Loo, and her touching films.

Seeing is believing. You can catch her short films here: http://www.childrenofmekong.org/

In conjunction with World Water Day on 22nd March, the theme of the evening was “Asia’s Water Woes”.

At 7pm, we had a short warm-up activity in which members of the audience were given the chance to guess how much water is needed to produce various types of food. The data came from UN’s World Water Day campaign site: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/

At first, all the participants underestimated the amount of water needed to produce food, and were surprised by the answer. By the time it got to “beef steak”, someone was guessing a “million litres” (actual answer: 7000L). Nevertheless, it was a very lively activity and members of the audience pointed out that the actual figure did depend on the way the food was grown. The feedback we got was that this activity was thought-provoking and persuasive.

The warm-up activity was followed by the screening of the Children Of Mekong short films.

After showing her film, Jean shared about her personal experience in making it.

Following that, Lien Aid, shared some information on their organisation and their work in bringing clean water to rural communities in Asia.

To bring back the story to Singapore, we had Eugene from Waterways Watch Society to share about the situation in Singapore’s waterways. Most of us realised that we had been taking our clean rivers and reservoirs for granted, and it was actually the work of a fleet of cleaners that was helping to keep our waterways clean. In their river patrol work, WWS witnessed how bad the litter situation really is before the cleaners arrive.

Litter situation

Litter situation below a bridge in Singapore


“Unfortunately”, during their school programmes to engage students to pick up the litter, most of the litter would usually have been cleared in advance by the cleaners. Thus the lesson was lost…

The conclusion of the presentation got one of the members of the audience so angry that she jumped up and questioned WWS whether they had been aggressive enough. She demanded a concerted effort by volunteers and film-makers like Jean to expose the litter-bugs and littering problem in Singapore.

Another audience member however pointed out that some people doing Corrective Work Order (CWO) punishment for littering, were actually (perversely) quite proud to do so.

More ideas were thrown up along the way, but in the end, many felt that the discussion should have been better facilitated and controlled. Also, perhaps there were too many different issues being raised, and people could not grasp what was the key message they were supposed to take home.

In future, the facilitation session would need to be better crafted to utilise the content and feelings evoked by the film and presentations to provoke thoughts and action.

Donations collected amounted to $40, of which $15.60 was reimbursed to Nor Lastrina Hamid for food purchased, leading to a balance of $24.40, which was held by Tan Yi Han.