My Paperless Pledge

Not too long ago, I instituted a paperless policy for my office – I have another hat I wear as a start-up and company consultant – where, as far as possible, I’d force my clients to go paperless as well.

There is no reason to get something printed out on paper when the electronic version was and is the original document of authority. For example, an ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) confirmation on a successful registration of a company is sent via email, and there is absolutely no need to print it out to make it any more successful.

Yet, every single audit firm (and their staff) that I know insist on photocopying or printing these things, because they need to verify the document’s authenticity and originality. This is what I will never understand. But since they’re doing a job for clients of mine (and they’re paid by my clients), I can’t do much except charge them 10 cents for every page printed.

Then there was this client who insisted on having paper invoices sent to him even though he had computers and a working email account, because he claimed that IRAS, ACRA and his auditors required him to collect and keep original paper invoices.

So I told him that IRAS and ACRA had no such rule, and “keeping of accurate records” did not mean that they had to be paper records. He disagreed, and terminated our services for another provider who happily gave him as much paper as he liked.

There are so many tools available to SMEs to keep everything accurately and safely stored in the cloud that there really is no excuse these days to keep files and reams of paper in the office. With this year’s introduction of FAST internet bank transfers, posting a cheque to pay for a bill is becoming a mere excuse to pay that bill late(r).

Detractors point to the dangers of online fraud as a reason not to adopt electronic transfers, even if it’s clear that it’s easier to forge a cheque than to escape the various electronic trails that precede and follow an internet banking transaction.

So, I actually made this “Paperless Pledge” a year ago, and despite getting fired by one client, I’m determined to keep this policy intact. I’m glad to even report that I’m looking for ways to terminate my hire-purchase of my office multifunction printer because we now use it so infrequently.

If you’ve got a similar pledge to mine, let me know, and together we can help plant trees instead of killing them. This is just a small choice to make – whether you print something out or not – but it can make a world of difference.

Make a wish and take the Pledge for Change with me and Kleenex Singapore – You can submit your pledges on Kleenex Singapore’s Facebook Pledge App (https://www.facebook.com/kleenexsg/app_283737521804501). For every 20 wishes placed on the Kleenex Wishing Tree, a real tree will be planted.

Why We Must #SayNo2Ivory

I still see ivory ornaments in shops, and quite often in homes of relatives. I suppose one could say these trinkets were beautiful items because when they were once worn naturally by their original owners, they were a magnificent ensemble of size, might and intelligence.

I want to help tell people that elephants MUST die in order to supply the ivory from their tusks. You don’t shear them off like you do wool from sheep. Poachers kill lots of these animals just for their tusks, and apparently in increasing numbers because of the increase in the number of affluent Asians and their appetite for what they think are luxury items.

Please pledge to never buy ivory at www.letelephantsbeelephants.org. And tell others.

Renewable entitlement

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I have to admit to enjoying watching Top Gear even though in this day and age, it really is wrong to enjoy fossil-fuel burning and carbon emitting activity but I suppose just watching is ok and if the world ends just blame the organisers.

Having said that, I boldly propose that the organisers of all motor-racing activity have a carbon-emission cap as one of their race rules – so that this 100% electric sports car, the Electric Lightning, can be one of the entrants.

0-60mph in 4 seconds, 700 bhp and 200 miles on a single charge says its something worth considering if you still like your car to be fast and mean while being eco-conscious. Only thing is, electric cars are a lot quieter, and you’ll have to use the “programmable external engine sound generator” to make it sound like a regular carbon emitting sports car.

And I’m also hoping that Top Gear comes round and starts featuring electrics instead of, as this Guardian article reports, “racing a G-Wiz electric car against a table”.

Green neighbourhood. Not.


Here in Singapore, we send our trash overseas – Photo by Where is Clifford The Big Red Dog?

I asked our apartment block’s cleaner where the recycle bins were and he said there weren’t any. Just chuck everything into the big wheelie bin, he said.

What made me sicker was a friend of ours telling me he saw his neighbourhood’s rubbish truck dump everything from their block’s recycle bins into the same truck as the other regular rubbish.

I would like to think that the private company that collects our trash for a monthly fee has some super-duper system at their trash depot that does the sorting for us, but it is hard to give anyone the benefit of doubt these days.

My flu-induced headache was exacerbated by researching “green cars” over the weekend, trying to find out if the carbon footprint of a CNG car was significantly less than that of a conventional one, and how many CNG dispensing stations there were in the country besides the three in very far flung parts of the island which require a CNG car owner to use up a significant amount of gas just to get to.

The flu medication does stave off some of the gluggy feeling, but it doesn’t stop me from being delirious enough to think about such things as the total square footage of all the rooftops of all the HDB blocks in the country, and how many solar panels can be fitted on them.

I think the good people at HDB and NEA would have thought of it already, with or without the flu. Then again

NEA to reduce energy consumption in households


Here’s an idea for saving energy: turn off the ERP gantries

When I read the headline, I thought, “oh no, they’re gonna use the ERP method of reducing consumption”, and then I read on and found out they’re using the lucky draw method instead.

Much better than my parents’ day when they used coin-operated heaters in their flat in Australia when they were students. No more coins, no more heat, and then they walked ten miles to uni.