Welcoming Speech for Penang Green Idol 2019

Good ­­­­­­­­­­­­­morning ladies and gentleman,

A very warm welcome to all of you! Thank you for spending this wonderful Saturday morning here with us at the opening ceremony of Penang Green Idol 2019 – Poem Recital Competition.

Penang Green Council (PGC) was established by Penang State Government in 2011. We started from a group of 3 and today, we are a team of 18.  We are rapidly growing, expanding our network and building bridges with all stakeholders ranging from NGOs, government departments, communities, schools, private sectors and individuals to address and resolve environmental challenges in Penang.

Annually since 1970, people around the world as well as Malaysians will gather on April 22nd to celebrate the birthday of modern environmental protection movement. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is Protect Our Species. Earth day is a day where people worldwide embrace their responsibility to preserve our planet, today we face a threat that also requires collective action.  Human activity is disrupting the climate, and the challenge of combating climate change is one that will define the contours of our time.  The effects of climate change are already evident in stronger storms, deeper droughts, irregular downpour which caused massive flood, rapidly eroding soil – and as this year Penang is facing hot weather caused by the El-nino effect and the temperature has risen up to 40 degree Celsius.  

No man is an island; we each have a role to play in ensuring that we do not pass down a world beyond repair on to our children.  Everyone must do their part, and as long as we unite to protect the one planet we have, we can leave it in a better shape for future generations.  Together, we can create a powerful movement to help deliver strong global commitments to tackle this threat and save mankind.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Penang Hill Corporation for being our venue sponsor and for all the support given to make today possible. I am very happy to see an overwhelming participation, interest and enthusiasm shown by the youngsters in this competition. The objective of this competition is to nurture critical thinking and enhance young students’ knowledge and awareness on the environment. We hope that this learning platform will encourage youth in active thinking on environmental issues and concerns, critically and constructively.

A total of 90 participants have registered and today, we have 48 of them competing for the Penang Green Idol 2019 title.  Compared to previous years, this year’s competition has a new take on poem recital. We selected “Beauty of Nature” as one of the themes to coincide with Earth Day 2019’s theme and that is one of the reasons we are here today in Penang Hill to witness the beauty of our nature.  Also, in conjunction with the smoking-ban in all food eateries which began on 1 January 2019, we choose “Dangers of Smoking” as the second theme.

We have four categories – Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil for students to participate. In Penang, it is common to see different races speaking in different languages. However, when it comes to environment and sustainability issues, we believe that regardless of difference in language and cultural values, we are always on the same pace. I strongly believe that together, we can make a difference and make Penang a “Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Healthier and Happier” state.

Besides, I will like to take this opportunity to invite all of you to the Penang International Green Conference and Exhibition on 27th – 29th September at Gurney Paragon. This year we aim to drive economic growth and enhance the quality of life through green and smart city planning and execution in Penang. There will be various kinds of activities for the public to learn about green and sustainable solutions for our environment. We want to showcase that being sustainable can be also a fun thing to do!

Last but not least, thank you to my team on the effort and team work in making this event a success! As for all participants, I wish you good luck and all the best! Hope you have a great time today and enjoy the event!

Thank you.

Josephine Tan