AAA #19

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

How to tell my friends to stop using plastics and disposables without being annoying? 


Hiya! Thank you so much for sending in your question. It is always good to be environmentally conscious and looking out for our planet, especially when multiple articles have been stating that human civilisation will start crumbling by the year 2050! Here are some tips which might help you in successfully convincing your friends to adopt a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle!


Step #1. Do you know the consequences?

This is an easy way to convince people to listen to you. Tell them about the future of our planet and the environment if we do not start becoming more environmentally responsible. Tell them about how Singapore’s landfills will be used up entirely in a couple of years. Show them the facts: scientific articles about the impending irreversible damage to the Earth. Engage their imagination by recommending movies which depict a dystopian future where the ecosystem has disintegrated.

For instance, imagine that being a world in which we would live to see. Birth defects increasing due to pollution, and animals such as polar bears and koalas becoming another picture in a vintage children’s storybook, or a tacky old koala souvenir with the fur barely clinging on. You wouldn’t want those cute little creatures to go extinct, would you?


“P is for polar bear.” 

What’s a polar bear?

“It’s a white bear… which used to roam lands made entirely of ice and snow…”

Lands of ice and snow?   


Step #2. Subtle hints.

Gently encourage them to choose options which are better for the environment, or remind them of such options. Here are some suggestions:

Perhaps, if your friend asks if they should get a drink, suggest that the water cooler is both an environmentally-friendlier option and a healthier one too. (Occasionally, though, we all want a cool drink, so you can always suggest recycling the bottle instead!)

Before heading for lunch, you could remind them to bring their reusable cutlery along, if they own them.  If you’re helping them to buy food, ask if they need straws/cutlery/sauce packets, so that you only take what’s necessary.

Remind them that recycling bins exist, and should definitely be used to dispose that drink can that they just finished. Make recycling bins the new trash can. That is, after washing their recyclables.

Get them a really cute tote bag as a gift, then set an example by using yours when you purchase something with them (Of course, don’t make a habit of buying too many, or you might become the very thing you swore to destroy. The carbon footprint of a tote bag is 172 times that of a plastic bag, and it would sure be a waste if you didn’t use your tote bags to their maximum potential.)

Since we’re on the topic of ‘green’ reusables, while metal straws (complete with multiple straws for bubble tea, bent straws, and a brush) may look cool and trendy, their impact on the environment may be less than desirable, due to the environmental impacts of metal production. An alternative would be bamboo straws, or even simply drinking straight from the cup.

Ultimately, try to get them to make a habit of being environmentally friendly, even if they don’t truly understand or appreciate the reason behind it. Many of these actions are small enough that they can be incorporated into our daily lives without us having to think twice about it.


Step #3. Are you serious?

Finally, if all of these tips do not work, it is clear that your friends are simply not interested in doing their part in saving Planet Earth. Such a shame! It seems like the future appears so far away for them, and they will not be doing anything anytime soon. For friends like them, strict measures must take place. Take away their plastic spoons so that they will have to enjoy their hot soup with a fork. Steal their plastic and metal straws from their cups and tell them the wind blew it away. Forfeit their rights of using plastic bags, and–

Engaging in the above set of actions might establish your reputation as a prankster, but if that’s how it has to be, make sure your environmental cause rings louder than the laughter of disbelief at your transformation.  After all, climate change is certainly no joke.

If all fails, here is our very last piece of advice.


Step #4. Step in.

Acknowledge the fact that it would be hard for your friends to immediately quit using disposable items and plastic goods. Instead, encourage them to recycle, and influence your friends to do so by recycling in front of them. After they have finished a bottled drink, take the bottle from them and put it in the recycling bin after washing it clean. Although it may be troublesome in the beginning, it may not take too long before your friends start heading to the sink to wash their bottles and disposable containers before dropping them into the recycling bins. Make recycling a fashionable trend among your classmates!


“You recycle? That’s so fetch!” (This time, “fetch” may become a thing, you know.)


Even if you’re truly unable to convince your friends to avoid using disposables, it’s good that you are doing your part for the environment. Don’t get discouraged; your good intentions will pay off!


I’m part of the ori comm next year. My promo results aren’t very good and I really need to improve next yr. But since I’m part of ori, I’ll be very busy and I don’t know how to find time to study for March Common Tests (MCTs). Pls help! 

Thank you for sending in your question. Being part of the Orientation committee next year definitely means there’ll be exciting times ahead! To help you be prepared for MCTs, our plan for you comprises  2 phases – consolidating J1 work and catching up with missed assignments in J2.


Phase 1: Consolidate

Being familiar with J1 work will save you time next year by setting a strong foundation for you to learn J2 stuff. With about 1 month of holidays left, we believe that this would be a good time for you to review your J1 work and catch up on areas to improve. Start opening up your files and go through your old lecture notes and tutorials. If you have the time, you can even consider redoing your promo papers, under timed conditions.

Do you have an organiser or journal? Perhaps it’s time for you to open it up and create a study plan that best suits your learning style (there are many articles online to help you with that, but let’s not digress here). In our opinion, about one and a half hours to 2 hours dedicated to studying a subject is sufficient. For each study session, set a few goals for yourself. Such goals could be completing one Physics practice paper, writing out a set of notes for Maclaurin series. Whatever your goals are, keep them realistic and specific.

While you’re studying, you’re bound to face distractions. Perhaps your phone would ring because your friend just sent you a meme via Whatsapp, or you feel the urge to check Instagram…there are just so many distractions out there. To improve your concentration for maximum productivity, try turning off notifications on your phone and maybe consider using apps like Freedom to block out social media websites.

While catching up on J1 content is important, don’t forget to spend time with your family and friends and relax before the J2 grind begins!


Phase 2: Catch Up

Being part of Orientation would mean that you’ll be skipping lots of lectures and tutorials, which is why Phase 2 is all about catching up with new content. Be sure to collect your tutorials and lecture notes from your classmates every other day, rather than at the end of Orientation, so that you will have enough time to revise. Set aside some time each day to at least read the notes. Make full use of the school’s lecture replay system to watch the lectures you’ve missed and take notes. In addition to that, you can consider putting together a question bank to ask your subject tutor during consultations.

During the weekends when you don’t have to partake in orientation activities,you can meet up with your classmates to go through the lesson materials.

Being involved in Orientation is a test of your time management. While it’ll be tiring, once you find your footing, you should be able to manage your studies alongside this commitment. We hope our advice will help you do so. All the best!


Vent your problems to Agony Aunt Agatha here and see you next year in the next issue!

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With great power comes great responsibility.

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