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Finding the perfect name is never easy. It took us close to four months to finally christian our FYP baby as ‘Food Waste Republic’.
Initially, we wanted to call our project ‘Wasted’. However, it was too similar with Tristram Stuart’s book titled ‘Waste: Uncovering a Global Food Scandal’. Since Stuart’s book largely centres around food wastage in the Western developed countries, we thought of adding an Asian twist to our name and call it ‘Lang Fei!’ (insert Chinese characters). I admit that is too Chinese-centric and isn’t fair to the non-Chinese future audience.
The next shortlisted name is ‘Waste Not, Want Not’. Talk about originality. It’s just a re-hash of UK’s anti-food wastage site ‘Love food, hate waste’. Imitation is the best form of flattery. But no way we’re going to stoop as low as that. We’re going to come up with a nifty name that best describes the food wastage in Singapore.
At our one of consultation sessions with Cherian, another potential name idea popped up. ‘How about The Other Side of Food Paradise,’ suggested Cherian subtly. It was an excellent idea as there is contrast and ‘movement’ to the name. It aptly challenges the notion of Singapore as a food paradise and has this mysterious air to it. But our newfound happiness didn’t last long. This name doesn’t tell anything about food wastage at a single glance. Oh man! Never have I expected thinking of a project name to be this hard. I think it’s easier to name my hamsters than a FYP journalism project.
It was insanely difficult to justify that food wastage is a problem in Singapore. Then, an epiphany came in the form of Estelle’s mom’s wise words. “If you want to find out how much food an individual wastes, why not you collect food waste from door to door?” she said.
So we did. Approaching over 180 households during our December holidays. While our friends were having their holiday or interviewing sources, we were out approaching families and asking to collect their food waste.
Most of the time, people case us strange looks when we said we wanted their food waste. But we got used to it after a while. There were a few times we received offers from families who said we could collect and clear their food waste every day. Talk about being degraded from undergrads to waste collectors. =(
Approaching families and convincing them to participate in our food waste exercise is one problem. Another challenge is to return back to the household, collect and briefly analyse their food waste. It was UTTERLY GROSS. The stench and the sight of food waste could make me puke out what I’d for dinner earlier. Nobody would ever understand the trouble and humiliation we went through to do our FYP. And collecting food waste is just a tiny aspect of the project.
Estelle and me enjoyed better luck in getting households to participate in the household waste exercise. As for Wei Li, doors usually get shut on him as he looks more menacing than a pitiful young girl who is trying to collect food waste for her project. Since Wei Li had a harder time convincing families to give us their food waste, we ended up delegating the work such that Estelle and I would approach families while he would collect, analyse and weigh food waste for us. Yayness! The dirty job goes to the dude for a very good reason. =P
A few days back, Estelle and I interviewed a source who shared with us the scoop of the year. Apparently, the oil recycling industry isn’t as clean as it seems. We were told that most of these companies are mafia-run, which stole and destroyed their competitors’ oil bins. They pay food retailers and collect used [...]