Funny green world

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS -

LOST in the con­fus­ing hall­ways of a large and very com­pli­cated res­i­dence, C. Y. Chong is des­per­ate to find a toi­let. He opens a door at ran­dom and finds him­self in what looks like a lived- in bed­room. A door on the far side next to the bed seems to hold the prom­ise of a bath­room, but Chong is ner­vous of mak­ing a so­cial blun­der.

“What if the owner comes back and finds me do­ing my busi­ness?” he wor­ries. But the situation has be­come crit­i­cal. He moves fast to find relief, all the while con­jur­ing up fears of what will hap­pen if the Her Majesty the Queen walks in? The Queen didn’t walk in, but it wasn’t such a crazy idea. Chong was in Buck­ing­ham Palace, Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Lon­don res­i­dence.

Five min­utes ear­lier, Chong and his col­leagues had been per­son­ally in­structed by His Royal High­ness Prince Philip to turn up for a meet­ing in ex­actly 15 min­utes. HRH in­sisted on punc­tu­al­ity. He had given the group pre­cise di­rec­tions through the cor­ri­dors, but Chong’s ur­gent busi­ness had caused him to lose both the group and his way. He made it, even­tu­ally.

What was he do­ing wan­der­ing around Buck­ing­ham Palace? He was at­tend­ing a World Wildlife Fund meet­ing in the days when Prince Philip was its in­ter­na­tional pres­i­dent.

Life On Planet WWF is a unique au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. It con­sists of a col­lec­tion of very short sto­ries that CASEY Wat­son is a pseu­do­nym for a for­mer Bri­tish schools be­hav­iour man­ager who is now a spe­cial­ist carer fos­ter­ing chil­dren with painful pasts that have made them par­tic­u­larly trou­bled. While she knows about chil­dren with Foetal Al­co­hol Syn­drome, eight- year- old Phillipa, who suf­fers from the syn­drome, is a unique case. “Am I ugly, Mummy?” are the first words Wat­son hears from Flip, as Phillipa calls her­self. Flip’s life so far has been hor­rific but all she cares about are her looks – or so it seems. Wat­son shares in this book how Flip tested the lim­its of fos­ter­ing for her and hus­band Mike. AU­THOR Rod Nordland is, and has been for many years, The New York Times bureau chief in Kabul. In the course of his work, he has seen the stric­tures and, in many cases, the re­count dozens of un­ex­pected, bizarre and amus­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, with anec­dotes about things that hap­pened to Chong in his 20- plus years as finance di­rec­tor of the World Wide Fund for Na­ture, the global con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Chong got the job af­ter ask­ing to be fired from his for­mer em­ploy­ment as se­nior finance man­ager at what was then the sec­ond largest com­puter man­u­fac­turer in the world. He had de­cided to take his sev­er­ance pay and seek greener pas­tures. Just how green, he was soon to find out. At the be­gin­ning, he clearly did not re­alise just what a short step it was from a Swiss of­fice abuse, that Afghani women en­dure in daily life but al­ways stayed un­in­volved, as a jour­nal­ist has to be. Then he heard the tale of Zakia and Ali, a young cou­ple who had fallen in love de­spite tribal and re­li­gious dif­fer­ences, de­spite so­cial mores and vil­lage cus­toms. Nordland be­comes en­tan­gled in their lives when, in at­tempt­ing to cap­ture their story, he helps them go into hid­ing – and they are still hid­ing. This is Nordland’s story about an im­pos­si­ble love that has con­tin­ued in the face of all odds. THIS book is an orig­i­nal col­lec­tion of sto­ries, cen­tred on the theme of loss and iso­la­tion. The char­ac­ters play out frag­mented re­la­tion­ships in var­i­ous Euro­pean cities, with the nar­ra­tives mov­ing all over, from rented room to dark­ened apart­ment, hitch­hiker’s road­side and even to a Barcelona night­club. In­vok­ing Ni­et­zsche Ir­ish au­thor Rob Doyle dwells on the ec­static, the des­per­ate and the un­cer­tain in sto­ries full of booze, sex, books and pas­sion. to a trop­i­cal rain­for­est. He had set­tled in Switzer­land for sev­eral years and wanted to stay on, but he also wanted to find a job that of­fered some­thing dif­fer­ent from his pre­vi­ous em­ploy­ment. He got his wish in ways that he could never have an­tic­i­pated.

His story be­gins on a beau­ti­ful sum­mer’s day. He was cruising the roads near the wa­ters of Lake Geneva in his “petrol- guz­zling Jaguar” when he no­ticed an ugly, grey, box- shaped build­ing, with two flags flap­ping in the wind in front of it. One of those flags had the familiar WWF Panda on it. It piqued Chong’s cu­rios­ity and he wrote to “PAIN is the com­mon lan­guage of the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence,” writes pas­tor and au­thor Jon Weece in his lat­est book. “Most peo­ple I know are flu­ent in suf­fer­ing. They speak it, but they don’t un­der­stand it. One of the ways peo­ple be­gin to heal is to sit across the ta­ble from some­one who can say, ‘ Me too’.” In his book, Weece tries to show that God un­der­stands the pain hu­mankind suf­fers and can help peo­ple han­dle their pain. FROM po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst and au­thor Robert Ka­plan – twice dubbed one of For­eign Pol­icy mag­a­zine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” – comes a love story. It be­gan when a young jour­nal­ist vis­ited Ro­ma­nia in the 1970s and fell for that dark, largely ig­nored part of Europe, de­vel­op­ing a fas­ci­na­tion that con­tin­ued for 30 WWF to see if there might be a job open­ing for him. One thing led to an­other, and be­fore long, he found him­self on a Mon­day morn­ing park­ing his po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect Jag by the ugly grey build­ing and mak­ing his way to a hor­ri­ble lit­tle cu­bi­cle that was to be his of­fice as WWF’s new finance man­ager.

Af­ter three months, he was promoted to finance di­rec­tor, in which po­si­tion he had a lot of what he calls “non- fi­nan­cial ex­pe­ri­ences”.

Chong’s sto­ries range from re­sist­ing a shake­down by cor­rupt im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers in an un­named African coun­try, to point­edly be­ing handed a Mont Blanc pen by United years. Af­ter vis­it­ing the coun­try again three years ago, Ka­plan of­fers this part his­tory, part mem­oir, part trav­el­ogue that looks at how Ro­ma­nia has come to oc­cupy the place it now does – a tourist hotspot as well as a coun­try that is vi­tal in un­der­stand­ing the threat that Rus­sia poses to Europe today. Na­tions di­rec­tor- general Kofi An­nan as a silent com­mand to take notes in a meet­ing with Chi­nese of­fi­cials in Bei­jing. Along the way, he meets wildlife that ranges from in­tel­li­gent for­est ants teach­ing their young how to fol­low the line of march, to mag­nif­i­cent for­est ele­phants gath­er­ing at a wa­ter­hole.

Chong’s rec­ol­lec­tions are as var­ied as they are en­ter­tain­ing. He trav­els the world to help WWF’s na­tional of­fices with their fi­nances, and he cruises high so­ci­ety to raise the funds for con­ser­va­tion. He meets per­son­al­i­ties that range from Bri­tain’s Sir David At­ten­bor­ough – who has brought na­ture into millions of peo­ple’s lives through tele­vi­sion – to New Zealand’s Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary who, with Sherpa Ten­z­ing Nor­gay, was the first to con­quer Mount Ever­est in 1953. Chong also meets beg­gars and witch­doc­tors, and more Euro­pean roy­alty than most of us have ever heard of. All in a good cause: to save the Earth as a liv­ing planet.

Datuk Dr Mikaail Ka­vanagh worked for WWF- Malaysia for 26 years, in­clud­ing 16 as the CEO, hav­ing started as a vol­un­teer in Sarawak. Af­ter re­tir­ing from WWFMalaysia, he spent a fur­ther six years as Spe­cial Ad­vi­sor to the tri- na­tional Heart of Bor­neo pro­gramme on be­half of WWF In­ter­na­tional. He is cur­rently ac­tive in gasi­fy­ing waste biomass to pro­duce green en­ergy and valu­able biochar, as well as ad­vis­ing gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions on bio­di­ver­sity is­sues. IT’S the way of the world to want some­thing for noth­ing – to want to eat ev­ery­thing with­out af­fect­ing health, to want friends’ at­ten­tion with­out think­ing of how much at­ten­tion we pay them. But you can’t get some­thing for noth­ing. And so it goes with prayer, says John El­dredge. In this book, he dis­cusses dif­fer­ent types of ef­fec­tive prayer and how life with God is a partnership, one in which ev­ery­body does some work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.