SGM Organises International Seminar

Dec 11, 2004 ◄ Back to list

Scholars, eminent social thinkers and members of the public gathered to discuss issues threatening the ecological wellbeing and human survival in the new millennium. They also explored ways in which individuals can do to protect the environment.

This was the third international seminar organised by SGM, following the first in December 2001 on 'Dialogue Among Civilisations: Interpretation and Understanding' and the second in English entitled 'Contemporary Issues in Civilisational Dialogue'.

The seminar, held from December 11 and 12, 2004 at the Wisma Kebudayaan SGM, was officiated by Dato' Sri Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Transport. Dato' Seri also launched 'A Collection of Essays: A Study on Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese' published by SGM.

Invited speakers of the seminar include renowned scholars specialised in the field of ecological health and sustainable development. Professor Ge Jian-xiong, Director of the Institute of Chinese Historical Geography in Fudan University, China spoke on 'A Balancing Act: Human Being the Focus - the Way Forward', Professor Yang Guo-zhen, Director of the Institute of Historical Research in Xiamen University, China delivered his paper on 'Oceanic Civilisation: Its Sustainable Development, Equitable Distribution and Preservation of Its Resources', Dr. Hsiung Ping-chen, Research Fellow of Academia Sinica, Institute of Modern History presented a paper on 'Past and Present: Survival of the Vulnerable' and Dr. Sun Li-chuan, Vice Editor-in-Chief of Cosmos Books Ltd. In Hong Kong talked on 'The Oneness of Man and Nature: The Webs of Life'.

Although the speakers approached the theme through various perspectives, conceived by their respective fields of studies, their conclusion was that the concept of sustainability encompasses not only environment but also poverty, population, health, food security, democracy, human rights and peace.

On the second day, the speakers and participants engaged in further discussion on the theme of the seminar. Questions were raised, sparking a thought-provoking session and a meaningful exchange of ideas and concepts.

The seminar came to a close with the consensus that a sense of urgency and solidarity with our fellow inhabitants of the Earth are essential for the collective survival of the human race. The rampant and widespread destruction of the environment is basically due to a lack of a real sense of responsibility toward future generations. Apart from knowledge, technology and funds, it was brought up that if people are to take environmental issues as their personal concern, and to harmonise their efforts for our common future, education is vital. Only by deepening awareness of individual role and the interconnectedness of man and nature, that we can ever hope to secure a balance between ecological well-being and human survival.