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Archive for June, 2009

On the 13th of June (Sat), we held a soap-making workshop for members of the public – some had signed up through Fernvale Environmental Day, others by commenting on our blog or emailing us. There were a few groups, such as “Chris and Family”, “Jason and Eva from VFC” and “Project Orion”. As usual, we first gave a presentation on our project before following it with the hands-on; at the end of the workshop, we also took down orders for NaOH and thermometers from the enthusiastic particiapants.

Project GREASE regrets to say that as a result of only 3 people facilitating the workshop this time round, there weren’t alot of opportunities for us to take photos.

Our wonderful workshop participants!

Our wonderful workshop participants!

Chris had commented on our blog on behalf of her 10-member family, and requested to learn soap-making from us.

Jason and Eva are from Victory Family Centre (VFC), and would like to spread the soap-making knowledge they learn to those in Bangladesh. They’ll be flying there to do various construction works, and improve the locals’ quality of life.

Group shot of Project Orion and us at the end of the workshop.

Group shot of Project Orion and us at the end of the workshop.

Project Orion is Voluntary Service Project by a team active in turtle conservation and many other causes they believe in (such as mangrove replantation and repair work for villagers). You can go to the following address to read their blog and find out more about them: http://www.projectorion2009.blogspot.com/ 

(there are tons of pictures in their soap-making workshop post, which is just a click away – http://projectorion2009.blogspot.com/2009/06/pre-event-raffles-girls-school.html :D)

The workshop went smoothly without a hitch and was a success. On another note, Project GREASE sincerely hopes the people we reach out to will in turn spread the soap-making knowledge to others, just as groups such as Project BARAY and Project Orion have done, and Jason and Eva plan to do.

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On this brilliantly bright Sunday morning, 4 Project GREASErs ventured over to Blk 412 of Fernvale Link for our latest outreach event – Fernvale Environmental Day. Huffing and puffing with all our usual booth materials with only half the number of hands to carry them, we arrived to be greeted by a sight only Singaporeans can identify with.

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There, smack in the middle of several HDB housing estates, was the Fernvale Environmental Day we were looking for!

Our booth was conveniently allocated beside a bench, which we inadvertently used as a temporary dumping ground for assorted booth materials. Then it was set-up time!

…in some 15 minutes, our booth was nicely laid out as per any outreach event, and we started skipping around happily while waiting for the event to officially commence. (: fpost_03

We had some time in our hands before the event would officially commence, so we strolled around to learn more about what the other booths had to offer. There were some really interesting displays – for instance, that of a shirt made from 20 plastic bottles (it felt like any normal dry-fit shirt, if you’re wondering), and a warm, (seemingly-)woolly blanket made from 70 plastic bottles. fpost_04

Save the Earth, wooyeah!

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Sharing our project with the public

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A member of the organizing committee interviewing 2 enthusiastic Project GREASE-rs.

After presenting our project to some curious passers-by, the sky started to rumble. Ironically so, since it was only about 30 minutes before that we were forced to move a booth to a shadier site to avoid the noon sun! Just as we were about to gather up our booth materials and head for the void deck, a whole entourage of people ventured over to our booth. The Guest of Honour, Dr. Lam Pin Min, MP who represents Ang Mo Kio GRC, was here to say hello!

In a short span of 5 minutes, a whole comprehensive overview of our project was dished out in a convoluted platter to Dr. Lam, by us ever-zealous Project GREASE-rs.

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Right after the GOH’s departure, the skies started to pour (you can already glimpse the overcast sky in the photos above!), so Project GREASE had no choice but to make a headway for the nearby void deck.

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Lo and behold – a “group” photo, complete with a rainy backdrop, to top it all off.

Fernvale Environmental Day, as were all the various outreach events we’ve had the privilege to be invited to so far, was indeed an insightful eye-opener for us all. All these heartening communal efforts to propagate the message of environmental conservation only serves to further motivate us in bringing fourth our cause, because it goes to show that people do care passionately about environmental issues.

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We arrived at Marsiling RC early in the morning, feeling slightly apprehensive about what was in store for us that day after our exhausting experience in Chong Pang four months back. It did not help either that we were dreadfully short of manpower, and was faced with the feat of conquering 21 blocks amongst 6 of us. Thankfully, though, we managed to rope in several eager and helpful schoolmates who were willing to sacrifice their time to a day’s worth of walking and knocking on doors. Thereafter we set off, with each pair/threes tasked with covering 3-4 blocks.

Can you spot one of our sleepy volunteers?

Can you spot one of our sleepy volunteers?

We were too used to ringing doorbells to even bat an eyelid at doing so anymore :b

We were too used to ringing doorbells to even bat an eyelid at doing so anymore :b

The Marsiling experience was definitely different from the Chong Pang one, especially since the RC did not manage to get any volunteers this time. We had to be more ‘independent’ because there was no one to show us around, knock energetically and confidently on the door and speak Chinese to the residents the way we’d never accomplish, as did the RC volunteers did in Chong Pang. Nevertheless, this insightful experience did hone our interpersonal and persuasive skills, not to mention that we got more practice in verbal Chinese than any oral examination would ever bring 😀

The residents were generally warm and agreeable – an old lady even hobbled into her kitchen and back with a bottle of clean cooking oil which she insisted we take, a small gesture which nevertheless served as an affirmation and inspiration to all surveyors. But we did have our fair share of nasty incidences, of course, with a couple of raised voices, dismissive waves and even slammed doors. But having a natural capacity for humour and joy as we Oiliets always do, we managed to shrug/laugh them off 😀

Marsiling has proved to be extremely responsive and enthusiastic. Project GREASE is proud to announce that a whole day’s worth of aching muscles and sore knuckles has culminated in a grand total of 308 households taking part in GREASE-ycle!@Marsiling, a number which surpassed anything we’d ever hoped for. Of course, this wouldn’t have been made possible without the help of our extremely willing and generous volunteers – Project GREASE would like to extend their gratitude every single person who came down to help us that day. Project GREASE also wishes Marsiling Secondary all the best in taking over GREASE-ycle!!@Marsiling

(Very few pictures in this post, though, sorry – all of us were too busy surveying! (: )

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GREASE-ycle is going very smoothly so far; thus North West CDC has expressed interest in making it a district program! (a program run in 3 different zones) Marsiling RC Zone 8 is the 3rd area to join GREASE-ycle, and Marsiling Secondary School will be in charge of running it. We held a workshop for the students in their green club to impart to them the knowledge of soap making.

Yujia giving an introductory presentation

Yujia giving an introductory presentation

Stirring sodium hydroxide solution

Stirring sodium hydroxide solution

Teachers looking in awe at our soap

Teachers looking in awe at our soap

In action!

In action!

Adding fragrances

Adding fragrances

The students were cooperative, thus the workshop ended half an hour earlier. 🙂 The household participation surveying for Marsiling RC Zone 8 will take place on the 6th of June.

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On the 4th of June, 4 members of Project GREASE journeyed to Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (PLMGS) to conduct a workshop for 29 students and 4 teachers. This soap-making workshop was part of the students’ enrichment class for advanced Math and Science. Although all were Secondary Ones, they proved to be mature beyond their years in terms of following relevant instructions and handling the soap-making apparatus appropriately. The workshop’s success could be attributed to the girls’ co-operation and PLMGS’ willingness to supply Project GREASE with all logistical demands, which we fully appreciated since our last attempts to transport workshop materials to and from workshop venues outside of RGS were by no means a bed of roses.

At 9.30am Talia, Gloria, Yujin and Yu-Jia arrived to a squeaky-clean science lab – with all required apparatus neatly propped up for us on a nearby shelf! Our finishing touches mainly constituted measuring out the oil and water, laying out all materials, and uploading the powerpoint presentation.

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Greeted by a spotless lab!

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Layout out the fragrances

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Speaking of fragrances – check out the impressive range of essential oils PLMGS generously purchased for this endeavour!

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Two students shared a soap-making set-up each, constituting moulds, a beaker of used cooking oil,  a beaker of water, a packet of sodium hydroxide, 2 soap-making guidebooks, a GREASE-ycle flyer, and their very own water bath.

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At 10.45 am sharp, Project GREASE commenced a pre-workshop presentation for 29 pairs of eager eyes and ears (we hope!).

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And then the official hands-on commenced – to which we regret to inform you there are no photo of, as all 4 of us had our hands full throughout the course of the workshop. (: But very fulfilled-ly so.

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Group photo! Before which PLMGS kindly presented Project GREASE with several heartfelt tokens of appreciation.

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