Archive for event

It’s Eco Action Day 2009 tomorrow!

The 5th of June has been designated as World Environment Day.

In Singapore, we have the Eco Action Day 2009. So the emphasis is on the simple and concrete steps you can take to help the environment.

Star Bamboo has participated in past years, so I’m helping the organisers to publicise the event:

Eco Action Day

Ever thought of the number of hours you spend in the office and the amount of resources used per day?Simple actions such as the flick of a switch can make a world of difference. Try going green in your office for a day on Eco Action Day with us and see how easy it is!

Eco Action Day is a collaboration between Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and Ricoh to reach out to organizations to join us in saving energy on 5th June, in conjunction with the United Nations’ World Environment Day.
By taking part, organizations pledge conservation activities that they will undertake on this day. The scope of activities is not limited and can be as easy as turning off all the lights in the office during lunch time. Total energy saved is then calculated after this day as evidence that real improvements are possible if companies will make the commitment.

As we spend a large amount of time in the office everyday, the commitment needed by companies and organizations cannot be ignored.

Help fight against climate change. Participate today


“Uniquely Singapore Brands” Fair in Fuzhou, China

Hello everyone!

This blog has been quiet recently and for good reason. We have been busy preparing for an overseas trade show. I just came back to Singapore over the weekend, and have been sorting out the name cards and photos.

Star Bamboo participated in the 11th Cross-Straits Fair for Economy and Trade from 18 to 22 May at the Chinese city of Fuzhou:

11th Cross-Straits Fair for Economy and Trade

As you can guess from its name, the fair is aimed at promoting trade between China and Taiwan. The Taiwanese delegation is the biggest and took up two halls out of five.

For the first time, the Singapore pavilion took up an entire hall too, and named it the “Uniquely Singapore Brands Fair”:

Uniquely Singapore Brands Fair

This is a general fair, so we had a mix of companies from different industries. We ended up between companies selling resort stays, metal pipes, office furniture, and health supplements. Strangely enough, Star Bamboo was categorised under the Lifestyle section.

This time we are showcasing not just our bamboo flooring, but also our bamboo household products and kitchenware. So I suppose the tag just about fits:

Star Bamboo booth

We brought along our bamboo boxes, bamboo namecard holders, bamboo chopping boards, bamboo knife holders, bamboo cutlery, bamboo trays etc. All made from 100% bamboo!

The response from the visitors was overwhelming, with many requests to purchase the items on display. Unfortunately most of them were not for sale as we only brought along one item of each kind:

Visitors at the booth

The first couple of days were busier, thanks to the intense media attention to the event. Early on the first day, I could see reporters and television crew prowling the halls for stories:

Reporters at the fair

One enterprising Singapore company boss shared with me over dinner how he got free publicity.

He marched up to a reporter, and simply said “Go over to that booth, got something that nobody else has!”. When the reporter took the bait and went over later, she initially missed the booth because it was so small and inconspicuous. The boss had to wave his arms and shout “Over here!”. Being interviewed on camera then caught the attention of other reporters, who went over to check out what the fuss was about.

In the end, he managed to get 3 television interviews and one article in the newspapers.

There is a colourful Chinese saying “会哭的宝宝有奶喝”, which translates to “The crying baby gets the milk”. How true indeed.

But most of the media glare was on the VIPs on stage. You can see the masses of reporters from various television stations gathered below for the opening ceremony (I’ve lost count of how many CCTV channels there are in China):

Reporters below the stage

The event was graced by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Manpower:

Lee Yi Shyan speech

SMa is one of the co-organisers for the Singapore Pavilion, along with Singapore’s Consulate-General in Xiamen. The Consul-General is the lady in the photo, Ms Tee Bee Lock. We just call her CG:

CG on stage

After the speeches was the customary walk-about by the VIPs. Here they are passing by our booth:

Lee Yi Shyan walkabout

Before they have the chance to move on, I quickly inserted myself in front of the Minister, shook his hand, and rattled off a short introduction of our company and products.

His first comment was that I look young (thank you!), followed by how innovative and beautiful our eco-friendly bamboo products are.

On the 3rd day of the show when things have quietened down, CG and Mr Poh Choon Ann came by our booth again. Mr Poh is SMa’s Vice President and Chairman of SMa’s China Business Committee, as well as the mission leader. He is also the Chairman and CEO of Poh Tiong Choon Logistics Ltd, a well-known company listed on the Singapore Exchange:

CG and Mr Poh visit

Two of our bamboo products (a bamboo tissue box holder and bamboo box) have caught CG’s eye the other day, and she wanted to buy them before they get snapped up.

I offered to give it to her but she insisted on paying for them. So I simply made up a nominal rate for her.

I also had ample time and opportunity to talk to the other Singapore companies, and learn from their business experiences in China. I’ve been going to China regularly for a few years now, and this is the first time I recall fitting in so quickly.

There was no longer the sense of culture shock. Many things are done differently here, but I am no longer astonished at them.

Interacting with the Chinese employees of Singapore companies after the show closes at 5pm also gave me a different perspective.

China is just so big and full of surprises.

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Earth Hour Singapore on 28 March, 830pm

Earth Hour is here again.

It’s organised by World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) to promote greater awareness on climate change.

All you have to do is to switch off your lights for an hour at 830pm (wherever you are) on 28 March.

Earth Hour 2009

You simply can’t miss it this year, it’s splashed all across our Singapore mass media:


A dark, green, snowball effect: 300 companies, and counting, to switch off their lights

Earth Hour = Happy Hour

Get officially involved

Electric New Paper

Lights out for a good cause

Straits Times (subscription required)

Earth Hour set to be bigger here this year

Highlights of this year’s Earth Hour

Lianhe Zaobao (Mandarin)

这个星期六 让我们熄灯一小时 (Let’s switch off the lights for an hour this Saturday)

The big difference this year is the enthusiastic participation of companies. At last count on the Earth Hour web site, there’re over 530 participating organisations.

(Star Bamboo would have been a participant, the only problem is that we’re already closed on Saturdays. So how do we join in? I would have preferred it to be on a Friday.)

Anyway that’s definitely a big increase over the number of participants last year, which I recall had a rather muted response. In fact, Earth Hour 2008 was so unmemorable for me I almost confused it with Live Earth 2007!

I’ll end with a video message from our very own eco-celebrity, Nadya Hutagalung, who’s leading by example in building her eco-house.

(I’m having trouble embedding the Youtube video, you can check it out here instead.)

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Sustainable Singapore

Have you ever had an idea for make Singapore a greener place, but don’t know who to tell?

Well, the government announced in July the setting up of a web site to garner suggestions from Singaporeans on how to create an eco-friendly Singapore.

The Sustainable Singapore web site isn’t exactly user-friendly, but click on the Live/Play, Work, and Commute tabs at the top, and you’ll access a wealth of information.

The Straits Times reported today over 700 suggestions from the public have been received. Among those are calls to build dedicated bicycle lanes, and install solar panels on HDB housing estates.

If you want to submit your suggestions, don’t wait too long as closing date is end of October.

A quick search on the Internet also unearthed a couple of gems:

1) Green Business Times, an online resource to help Singapore companies go green, published a document with 20 wide-ranging suggestions.

2) The Online Citizen carried a piece by former NTUC Income CEO, Mr Tan Kin Lian, who focused on reducing the need for commuting. This can be achieved by making it easy and practical for people to:

  • Work from home
  • Work near the home
  • Move their homes to be nearer their workplace

Let me just share my thoughts on the above:

Dedicated bicycle lanes

I bought a folding bicycle recently, and have been using it instead of driving my car for short commutes around the neighbourhood.

Last Friday, I even joined a cycling group for some night-cycling. The original plan was to go to Tuas but we decided to head to Fullerton Hotel to catch the fireworks. It was spectacular!

Most of us were wearing helmets, and all bicycles had at least two blinking lights. Some kiasu ones had up to four lights. Unfortunately, most cyclists don’t have lights when cycling at night. They are practically invisible to the typical driver.

There’s been a significant surge in numbers of bicycles on the road in recent years, probably due to their popularity with foreign workers, especially those in the construction sector.

There were a couple of times when vehicles (especially taxis) got a bit too close for comfort, but cycling on the roads is generally OK.

Dedicated bicycle lanes would make riding a much more safer and viable alternative to driving and public transport. This suggestion gets my two thumbs up!

Reduce commuting

This idea is not as crazy as it sounds.

I used to work in the CBD, and it took me about 45 minutes to get to work. It takes me another 45 minutes to get home, so 1.5 hours per day is spent on simply getting around.

People say that Singapore is a small country, it shouldn’t matter where you work.

The problem is not the distance but the terrible congestion during peak hours. On days with rain or traffic accidents, the commuting time easily stretches up to 1 hour per trip.

Now my office is about 10 minutes away, going up to 15 minutes on bad days. I save more than an hour every day, and the reduction in traffic-induced stress is incredible.

By working near my home, my quality of life has improved significantly.

Not everyone will find it to be a feasible idea, but if possible, reduce your commuting.

Green Drinks event on 28 Aug 2008

OK, a plug for Green Drinks! Come get together and chat about your burning green issues in a cosy, relaxed cafe. It takes place on the last Thursday of every month, so the next one is just 3 days away.

This time, we’ll be talking about the Sustainable Singapore initiative. Come join us, you can check our Facebook page for more information.

See you there!

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Bygg Reis Deg – Part 2

So now I continue part 2 of the Norway report (part 1 can be found here).

There’re more leisure photos here. Enjoy!

Murder story 1

The trade show was also a time to learn and absorb new ideas. The above series of booths is a fantastic marketing concept by a flooring company.

It tells the story of a man who bore a deep hatred against his boss. One night, he killed him in a violent struggle. Can you see the knife on the bed with the red blood stains?

So what has this got to do with flooring, you might ask?

According to the eloquent sales manager, the flooring they sell is hardy and could withstand the impact of the struggle. It is also easy to maintain, and stains (including blood stains) wipe off easily.

Murder story 2

Desperate to conceal his crime, the murderer dug a hole beneath the wooden floor.

This engineered wood flooring comes with a click system, which makes it easy for quick assembly and removal. Just what you need when you have a corpse to bury.

Murder story 3

It’s controversial and got many tongues wagging at the show. Success!

Norwegian Idol 2

The organisers also organised a few mini concerts to whip up interest in the general public. This one is by a highly popular contestant at the recent Norway Idol show.

Norwegian Idol 1

She didn’t win but you can see why she is so popular.

Room with a view

Here’s a view from my hotel room. The row of black buildings in front has 3 restaurants, we tried them all. Food is expensive but quality is uniformly excellent.

Best meal of the trip

This is reindeer steak. Tastes like beef and literally melts in your mouth.

I’m in Norway

A quick shot in front of the convention centre. You can see the houses dotting the hillside, such a lovely sight and worlds apart from the urban jungle that is Singapore.

Pot of gold awaiting us

A jaunt to the marina where a gorgeous rainbow awaits us.

Captain of the Seven Seas

Captain of his ship, charting the course to higher profits.

Well, that’s all for now. It’s been a wonderful experience, with new friends and contacts made. We’ll certainly be devoting much more time to the Europe market from now on.

Till next time!

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Charity Gala Screening of Sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth”

Al Gore is the former-VP of USA-turned activist behind the hit documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Now riding the wave of momentum is another film preaching the perils of global climate change: The 11th Hour.

It’s the latest film from the-actor-turned-activist, Leonardo Di Caprio.

The SEC is organising a charity gala première screening to raise awareness, and funds for its volunteer arm. I’ll be there as I think it’s a good cause to support.

Besides, it got a pretty respectable rating of 6.6/10 on IMDb. Should be pretty entertaining.

If you see me, do pop over to say hi!

More information below:

The Singapore Environment Council and Warner Bros. Pictures cordially invite you to attend


The 11th Hour

Date : 23 October 2007 (Tuesday)
Time : 7:30pm (Running time: 93 minutes)
Venue : Shaw Lido, Level 5 Shaw House, 350 Orchard Road
Tickets: Priced at S$30 or S$50

Proceeds of the premiere will go to the Green Volunteers Network (GVN), the volunteer arm of SEC.

The 11th Hour describes the last moment when change is possible. The film explores how humanity has arrived at this moment – how we live, how we impact the earth’s ecosystems, and what we can do to change our course.

The film features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planet.

Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, The 11th Hour is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila Conners Petersen, Chuck Castleberry and Brian Gerber, written and directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners.



For Charity Gala Premiere bookings, kindly RSVP to:

Joe Lim
Singapore Environment Council
T: +65 6337 6062
DID: +65 6468 7681

The SEC is a non-government, non-profit environmental organisation, as well as a registered charity and Institution of Public Character. Help support SEC’s work to protect, preserve and conserve our fragile Earth today. Make a donation at Thank you.


Long-awaited photos from Norway – Bygg Reis Deg 2007

Part 1

Yes I know I’ve been tardy with the photos from our trade show in Norway, but things have been really hectic the past week.

It feels like people in many countries have simultaneously woken up to the wonderful properties of our eco-friendly bamboo flooring.

Anyway, I’ve managed to figure out what “Bygg Reis Deg” really means (No, it’s not “Big Rise Day”).

  • Bygg - Building
  • Reis - To construct
  • Deg - You

So it loosely means “building and construction for you”, an apt name for the largest building materials fair in Norway.

OK, on to the photos!

Huge crowds at Bygg Reis Deg 2007

When I say that Bygg Reis Deg 2007 is the largest show of its kind in Norway, I wasn’t kidding.

Just check out the crowds above at one of the two entrances.

The numbers increased every day, and the grand total at the end of 6 days was well over 60,000.

This is an astonishing figure because the fee is 120NOK (or S$32) for 1-day entry pass. Many trade shows I’ve attended before would struggle to meet this figure even if entry was free. This speaks volume of their passion for building and renovation.

Posing at the booth

This is our lovely booth, with bamboo flooring installed, of course.

“Stjerne Gulv” literally means “Star Floors” in Norwegian, which is a direct translation from Star Bamboo.

Star Bamboo banner translated into Norwegian

“Bambusgulv” = “Bamboo flooring”. Not too hard to guess, but hard to pronounce.

Our regular visitors and customers would probably recognise the cover photo from our web site and brochure. :)

Bamboo poles

Norwegians are very hands-on people – even the bamboo flooring was a DIY job and the standard was comparable to many flooring professionals here in Singapore.

The per capita spending on renovation and construction in Norway is among the highest in the world. Despite a small population of 4.5 million (Singapore’s latest figures show 4.68 million residents), they spend a staggering amount on flooring.

The best is that they are willing to pay for high quality products. This is great because that fits perfectly with our ideals at Star Bamboo.

Sometimes it could be disheartening losing a sale because a higher quality product costs more to manufacture, but I see it as a case of getting the right customer.

One size can’t possibly fit all. We cannot compromise quality to lower costs. So it’s a matter of finding customers who appreciate our quality.

Fascinated about bamboo flooring

This is Sigmund, the Managing Director of our Norwegian partner company, hard at work. Our bamboo flooring has certainly intrigued many visitors.

He’s a natural salesman, it was an eye-opener to see how he put people at ease before he gave them the pitch.

Natural born drummer

This is Sigmund, taking a break (thankfully there weren’t many visitors around at the time).

Norwegians are friendly people. They are at ease making eye contact and smiling, even to strangers at a business event such as this. It was such a contrast with Singaporeans, and left a deep impression on me.

It was a casual and relaxed atmosphere. You could see that our attire was plain jeans and shirts. Many of the builders even turned up in their overalls.

Who’s the lucky winner?

This is Petter, our marketing expert. We had a lucky draw during the trade show, and what else could the prize be but bamboo flooring, of course.

Here, Petter is busy sorting the eligible entries and the winner out of more than 150 participants was later announced over the PA system.

He also single-handedly dismantled the booth and flooring after the show ended. I feel small when I stand next to him and Sigmund.

OK, that concludes part 1 of my Norway report. Part 2 and more photos coming your way soon!

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Blog for the Environment on 15 Oct 2007

I got an email about Blog Action Day back in August, and it’s been sitting in my inbox ever since. Now that October has arrived, I thought it’s time I do something about it.

On 15 Oct, thousands of people will blog about the same issue. Obviously it has got to be a topic that enough people care about. So no prizes for guessing that it’s about the environment.

Every day when I flip through the papers at breakfast, there are inevitably a couple of articles about climate change, or how we are hastening the planet’s demise by refusing to recycle our refuse.

Global warming is obviously a hot topic.

This is great for us because we have been fielding more enquiries than ever before for our bamboo flooring, not just from Singapore, but from Europe, Asia, and beyond.

So I think I might just cheat a little, by posting an article that I was going to write anyway and then changing the timestamp to 15 oct. :)

Click here to find out more about how you can participate!


Greetings from Norway!

Hi I’m blogging from a business hotel in Lillestrom, Norway.

Next door is the conference centre where the largest building and construction fair in Norway will begin tomorrow and last for the next 6 days.

The Bygg Reis Deg fair has a long tradition, having been around since 1954.

The name “bygg reis deg” is a total mystery to me. I tried a Norwegian-English online translator and ended up with “barley depart you”. I asked my Norwegian partner and apparently the word “bygg” meant “construction” in this context.

I feel really positive about this trade show, and hope to be able to share with you the progress over this week.

Also, please note that our Singapore office is closed from 17 to 24 Sep, but we can still be contacted via email.


Event: Interdisciplinary Forum on Global Warming & Climate Change (26 Sep 2007)

We’ve been hearing a lot in the mass media about global warming and how it’s affecting us. Every day we see mounting evidence for climate change caused by human activities.

All those articles are based on what scientists say. So it’s about time that we hear from the perspectives of academics and professors.

I was glad to be invited to a NUS forum on climate change this September. It’s organised by their Student Union and its Students Against the Violation of the Earth (S.A.V.E.) committee.


Great to see young people getting actively involved in raising consciousness on global warming and the things we can do about it.

Date: 26 September 2007, Wednesday (Mid-term break)

Venue: Lecture Theatre 13, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Time: 0900 hrs – 1300 hrs

You can download the full forum programme here.

If you are interested, please drop Ms Tang Swee Ying an email at by 14 September 2007 (Friday).

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