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  Straits Times 7 Nov 07
Conference didn't live up to its hot theme
Letter from Fanny Lai Hoew Min (Ms)

LAST week, I attended a 'Corporate Social Responsibility' conference at Suntec City, which focused on 'Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility for Better Business'.

The irony was that the air-conditioning at the venue was extremely cold, wasting energy while making the attendees uncomfortable. I observed that most of the delegates were so uncomfortable that they had to put on jackets, sweaters and shawls.

The conference MC mentioned that the organiser had to provide hot water to the delegates without being asked, because too many people had requested it.

On Sunday night, when I was having dinner at a restaurant in VivoCity, I noticed that the aircon was so cold in the barbecue restaurant that the restaurant provided diners with shawls.

I am surprised that this practice, which is normally found in outdoor dining places during autumn and winter time in temperate countries, is being practised in a tropical country.

Why do we have to simulate such an uncomfortable and energy-wasting environment while the world is hot on the topic of reducing global warming?

On many occasions when I request to turn the temperature up, the response I received was that it was a non-adjustable central aircon.

I appeal to owners of commercial properties to go green without the need for rebuilding and buying new and expensive technology. Simply adjust the thermostat a couple of degrees higher, or adopt the recommended setting of 25 deg C. If need be, they could provide individual controllers for adjustment.

This would certainly cut down the utility bill, make the customers feel more comfortable and help reduce global warming.

I also strongly urge the business community to seriously consider going for tropical smart casual attire suitable for our warm climate. Instead of a long-sleeved shirt, suit and tie that are too warm and unnatural for our warm weather, one should consider lighter material, short sleeves and more airy attire that is suitable for the outdoors and a non-aircon environment. This way, as a nation we can collectively reduce our dependency on airconditioning.

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues
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