Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Litterbugs Beware!

Bishop supports MMDA’s revival of anti-littering law

This was the heading of the newsletter I received today from the EcoWaste Coalition. Yey! I think it's about time. If people start having to take responsibility for their litter, they'll probably take more time in thinking about the amount of trash they produce.

Some years ago, I was on a jeepney (i.e. means of transportation in the Philippines originally made from US military jeeps left over from WW II), when I saw a mom and her young daughter eating peanuts. The kid  was about 6 years old and was trying to hold the peanut shells in one hand while eating with the other hand. The mom, on the other hand, would crack open a peanut, eat the kernel and throw the shell onto the jeepney floor. I guess the mom finally noticed the kid holding on to the shells, they were getting a bit too much for her small hand and she was looking helplessly toward the trash can a few feet away----the mother, took her kid's arm and shook it till the shells dropped to the floor. She snapped at her kid and basically told her daughter that she was stupid for not doing that in the first place. I wanted to scream and rail at the mother right then and there. However, at that time, I was a kid myself, and I didn't feel like I could get in the way of her revolting parenting skills.

That's just one of the littering incidents that happen everyday back home... It probably happens in a lot of other places, but it doesn't make it right. It'll take a while before Filipinos become as disciplined as most people are in Singapore, but baby steps towards a litter-free environment is way better than no steps at all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Traditional Turned Digital

A few years ago if you had asked me to choose between ebooks and "real" books I would've probably chosen the latter. Like millions of other bookworms I have an attachment to the written word, ink & paper, fonts and binding. Yet these days if you ask me what I've been doing on the computer all day, 8 out 10 times, I'd answer that I've been reading ebooks.

I first got into ebooks a few years back when I read some book reviews but didn't have the funds to buy a book. I stumbled onto free ebook sites and began to find books I didn't own. Eventually, my growing addiction to anime brought me to manga and reading online became a habit. Given the chance and the money, I still went on book shopping sprees and continued filling my bookshelves with books. However, I moved to Vietnam in 2008 and acquiring printed books was put to a stop. English language novels aren't that common in bookstores here. In fact, I would have to go to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) to find them and even then my choices would still be limited. There are a few secondhand stores here in Vung Tau that sell old English novels, but they mostly are of the dog-eared romance paperback variety. So that's why I now turn to ebooks when I need my daily book fix.

Ebooks are so easy to obtain these days, I have thousands of them in CDs and in my hard drive. I have started uploading them to a 4shared site in case something ever happens. I have also thought about it and for a greener future, this might be a better option than having them on paper. Less trees to cut.

Sometimes I envy people who mention that they just bought a new book... I still miss the smell of books, old or new. I miss touching the pages and rifling through the book for something specific. But ebooks aren't so bad, after all, it's the text that counts. Or so I keep telling myself.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Daiso Japan Store Haul

I am not a shopper. You can ask my family or friends and they'll tell you the same thing. But today, I was in Now Zone Shopping Mall in Saigon. As I was heading out, I passed by a Daiso Japan Store and I couldn't resist going in. FYI, Daiso Japan Store sells various items for a cheap price. They've got stuff you probably don't even think you'd find or need. In Japan, items cost 100 yen, in the Philippines 88 or 66 pesos, in Viet Nam 35 thousand dong or $1.80. Most of the items are made in other countries but it says on the back of the packaging "Produced for Daiso Japan."

I spent almost $24 on these items.

I bought the following:

  • 2 handy white boards - always useful to have those around when you're a (language) teacher like I am. 
  • 2 pc. set of shoe brushes - made of coconut fiber and useful for removing stubborn dirt.
  • 340mL watering bottle (for dogs) - going to use this for my no 'poo habit, for baking soda and water or ACV rinse

Instead of using disposable body scrubbers, I'm going to switch to washcloth. The fabric is made of cotton threads and milk fiber.

I figure I'll be needing this when I go to HCM and will be using someone else's washing machine. Also, our lint catcher here is quite old and threadbare.

Something to add to my baking soda shampoo mix or ACV rinse. I wasn't sure about the other scents so this'll do for now.

This storage bag is meant for paperbacks but I'm planning to use it for storing my other lightweight items. Dimensions are 16cm x30cm x12cm. If this proves durable, I might buy other sizes next time.

I bought 5 reusable shopping bags. The designs were cute and it took me a while to choose. The third one from the left (black) and the striped bag on the bottom is mine but the other 3 are for friends who I'm trying to introduce to the reusable vs. disposable lifestyle.

If I end up moving to Saigon to work and need stuff for my new apartment, the crew at Daiso will easily become my new best friends. :D

Saigon Daiso Japan Store is located on 3rd floor Business Center Now Zone, No. 253 Nguyen Van Cu Street, District 1, HCMC.

Friday, September 3, 2010

No 'Poo Update

9 days of no 'poo!

I used Pantene shampoo on my hair last Wednesday, 25th of August. At that time I wasn't really planning on going no 'poo, I just figured I'd use less shampoo on my hair.

Day 1: no 'poo and no conditioner - hair was alright, not greasy and not dry, either
Day 2: 'no poo, used Sunsilk conditioner - soft, a little greasy but looked and felt alright
Day 3: 'no poo, Sunsilk conditioner - my scalp felt icky and greasy but my friends didn't say anything so I guess it wasn't that bad. I saw a few white flakes on my hair
Day 4: 'no poo, Sunsilk conditioner - greasy and itchy
Day 5: baking soda, Sunsilk conditoner - bad hair day in the morning so I put on a baseball cap. Was finally able to buy baking soda and ACV, worried about vinegar smell and had to go to class so just used baking soda and water. I just used a bit dissolved in water because i was nervous about it. My hair was still a bit greasy after washing it.
Day 6: baking soda, Sunsilk conditioner - 1 tsp used like paste and 1 tsp dissolved in water. Hair was still a bit greasy but the edges were dry.
Day 7: baking soda, Sunsilk conditioner - same as yesterday but hair felt better. Scalp was clean but stung a bit when I massaged the concoction in.
Day 8: baking soda, Sunsilk conditioner in the morning - my hair felt more like its usual self, not greasy or dry but had fly away edges. It was a bit itchy, though.
baking soda, Bath & Body coconut verbena conditioner in the afternoon - hair was a bit dry at first but became better as the night progressed. See picture below. After a night of dancing and smoky bar air, it looked amazing.

Day 9: B&B coconut verbena conditioner - less itchy than the day before but it wasn't dry or greasy.

I've started telling my friends here in Vietnam about what I'm doing but I don't think I convinced anyone to try it. I've told my sister and she offered to bring me organic shampoo... I think I'll try going no 'poo for 2 months. If there's a bad reaction and my scalp never adjusts then that'll be an option. But think about it... one less plastic bottle for the trash.