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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yuan Yang

The engravement of land in spectacular rice terraces, a feat of ancient agriculture engineering over 1,300 years old. Terraces folded in and out of deep valleys, some of 3,000 layered terraces extend upwards from valleys floor, mirrored stairway to the heaven. Winter, before rice sprout, the water on the rice terraces reflects the sky, cloud and even stars in an ever changing array of colour- this is Yuan Yang, a reflection of heaven.

The creation of rice terrace is a melody of art, the intelligence of water diversion gives hope to life of the secluded valleys. Over years and decades of will and way, the masterpiece of sculptured valleys completed, yielded for self sustain staple food, and created a wonder of magical sight. As soon as the discovery of Yuan Yang, it lured photographers from around the world for decades, the global exposure made the rice terraces became China's 45th UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 22nd, 2013.

Fame Overwhelmed
Yuan Yang might be undergoing the fate of "Disneyfication". I'm afraid it already happening, during my visit to Yuan Yang in December 2013, locals complained about the Government's "re-package" plans- relocation of local tribes to secluded valleys, replacing the town with Central Districts, selling of rice terraces for business purpose...

Culture vs Branding
The intensity of a simulated experience, culture and branding both, work against each other. Stripping away the original character of a particular destination and repackaging in a sanitized and tourist friendly format. The prestige of UNESCO listing might make small town like Yuan Yang suffocated, soon the aspect come into play in rents, prices rise through the roof, forcing out businesses other than those in tourism. The culture will diminish, diluted by mass tourism. It's not easy to keep their values with the dollars flowing in, people will align their decision in this direction. The younger generation of farmer is leaving their rice terraces for a better fortune, what's next for the sculptured valleys?

Fate of great sight world? Short term gain, long term pain.

[Yuan Yang trip led by Steve Chong, check here for his upcoming events.]
++Shot on Nikon D700 + Nikkor 20mm f2.8, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 and Sigma 150mm f2.8++

Drifted like clouds, across these beautiful lands, this is an unfathomable journey and an endless scroll of awesomeness! #yuanyang #yunnan


Saturday, December 14, 2013


The world is running out of time if we wait solely rely on political will to solve the climate crisis.

2015 looms as a critical year when we must act swiftly and strong if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celcius, let alone get back to the 350 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 that scientists say is necessary.

The Rio+20 Earth Summit in June of 2012 was meant to be the starting point for a three year push to 2015, but the summit ended in a whimper rather than a bang and 2015 will eventually follow, unless an international climate movement can generate an unprecedented level of political pressure for climate action.

We need a massive and sustained show of force that disrupts the status quo and captures the public imagination. This ambitious goal is within reach. With a loose collection of organizations, activists, and networks in nearly every country on earth, the climate movement has the necessary potential to facilitate this sort of global groundswell. Now it’s time for us to realize this potential.
Global Power Shift (GPS) began with an international climate leaders summit of mostly young people in Istanbul, Turkey, June 24-30, 2013. The week-long summit was the chance for us to refine skills, create personal bonds and community, share a global vision for change, and strategize how to organize different actions and similar summits back home. Now, in country after country we are organizing national, regional summits.

Depending on the size of the host country, the summits bring together anywhere between hundreds or thousands of activists and partners. The national summits are opportunities to build on or launch national climate campaigns and to empower participants from around the country to return home equipped to lead local action groups. Local groups in turn educate the public about the realities and solutions to climate change, implement solutions projects and campaigns, and recruit for mass global action leading into 2014 and 2015.

Thus, through 2013 and beyond, together, we are creating the global power shift our world needs to effectively confront the climate crisis.

On 10th – 15th December, gather together 25 Malaysian youths, joined by experienced speakers from Malaysia’s UNFCCC climate change negotiator, NGO and community leaders. We aim to empower participants with variety of workshops like Digital Campaigning, Policy & Governance, Understanding Media and Active Activism

Empower participants with variety of workshops: 
  • Digital Campaigning - being the most efficient channel in reaching out to Malaysian audiences, spreading climate change and environment awareness on the internet is vital, tips and tricks in using social media tools, how to effectively tell you story on youtube, facebook, twitter and many more.
  • Policy & Governance understanding the policy is crucial in affecting change in the system, connecting the policies on the United Nations level to the local government implementations, what are the difficulties and how can we leverage and apply influence on the system.
  • Understanding Media mainstream media can be both allies and enemy in environmental campaigns, more often allies, learn what kind of stories do the media wants, what publications do the readers want to read, how to draft a press release
  • Creative Activism  taking meaningful action is not restricted only taking it to the streets, there are many non-violence direct action in the book, and many are shockingly creative and effective, join us to learn more
  • Idola Demokrasi participants first learn how to define the problem. Is the problem really the problem? Or is the so-called problem actually a symptom of an underlying issue? Get to the root! Defining the problem requires interaction, discussion and debate.
  • Theory of Change our aim to shift our wasteful fossil-fuel focused society to efficient renewable centric is easier when we can identify the sector of the society behaviors, once we understand this, we can cater our strategies effectively
  • Storytelling getting personal with our personal naratives and campaign stories, and how to craft a campaign story that will move mountains
  • Roots Camp -  is an open space “unconference” where the agenda is driven by the people who attend. The agenda is set on-site. At the start of each day, attendees fill out cards and post the sessions they’re interested in presenting. Before RootsCamp session, talk to friends about what you’d like to present and see if you can work together on something.

IT'S WRAP for all the PowerShifters! The most "awesomest" participants! There might be information overload but keep the motivation and inspiration you can never go wrong.There are no failures, it was an intense 5-day workshop and all of you came out of it more alive than ever (we hope). Keep calm and Shift Power!

#PowerShiftMsia You've got the power!