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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2nd : mottainai!

Mottainai’s the word


Children at a kindergarten were taught the meaning and power of a Japanese word which has now become a universal term.
“WHAT does mottainai mean?” asks the sprightly, bespectacled grandmother.
“Do not waste!” the 40 children shout across the room stretching their vocal chords to the fullest, as Grandma Mottainai gives them the thumbs up while flashing them a smile.
Mottainai which means “do not waste” or “what a waste” in Japanese was the key word and the preschoolers of Beaconhouse, Subang Jaya, had their fair share of stories and songs on mottainai from the old lady and a team from Panasonic Malaysia which is helping to promote the catch word.
Preschoolers and teachers surrounding Grandma Mottainai as she stresses the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.
In fact, by the end of the day, it was the children who surprised and impressed Grandma Mottainai and the other adults, by giving their own candid yet innocent interpretations of the word.
Mottainai was first promoted by Kenyan environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Prof Wangari Maathai. It also encompasses the “three Rs” in English - reduce, reuse and recycle and another “R” for respect.
Since it carries a powerful meaning, Panasonic has decided to embark on a campaign to introduce the phrase to Malaysians.
“We have allocated RM3mil on ‘eco projects’, because we want to contribute in our own way to Malaysian society,” said the company’s managing director Tony Endoh.
Its corporate communications and branding general manager Azizah Wahid said that mottainai was a universal phrase now that the company wanted to “popularise” to Malaysians.
Although the company initiated its campaign in a kindergarten, there are also plans to hold a community forum in Subang Jaya and getting orphanages and families in the community to participate.
“We are also looking into the possibility of a summer camp so that more children from different schools could join in, and be exposed to the mottainai concept,” said Azizah.
Young artists: Five-yearolds painting their recycled “bowl” under the supervision of their teacher
The preschoolers also had a chance to listen to mottainai stories revolving around clothing, water, and paper.
Grandma Mottainai also taught them how to sing a song involving the 3Rs, accompanied by hand actions which drew much laughter. The children later painted paper bowls they had previously made out of recycled paper.
The school’s head Lily Pok said that the children had been enlightened and entertained with the stories and songs .
Asked to share her experience, six-year-old Alyssa Adam Nasir excitedly said: “I did so many things today! And I learned how to save water, which is by using only one cup of water when I brush my teeth.”
She added that while mottainai was practised at home, it was not forgotten in the classroom. “In class, we also use recycled paper to make paper aeroplanes.”
Her classmate, Ameer Sufian, shared his understanding of the mottainai concept, “I recycle paper at home, and I reuse my clothes by washing them, and wearing them again.”
While many shared their stories about how they could reduce wastage, there were also moments of honesty. Five-year-old Nikita Rose Dasberg admitted that “even though I know it is mottainai to waste food, I sometimes do so because I have a stomach ache.”
However, she was quick to add, “When I colour or draw wrongly, I don’t throw away my paper. I erase it and do it again, and then when I’m done, I give them to my mum and dad.”
Genuine, and straight to the point, we must agree that these little tots can help us make a difference.
mottainai! let's save our environment. environment itself not just trees, animal, rivers and ocean, but it's ourselves! also including our surroundings. such as room, toilet and class. ^-^ a good reminder for me too. till then.
source : The Star Online

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