The Last Straw

Would you pay $20 to save the planet?

By Alywin Chew      5 April 2021

I’m all for doing our part to save the planet but I must admit that there are certain green movements that baffle me.

Case in point: the reusable straw fad.

Yes, I understand that plastic straws are bad for the environment. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree that it should be mandatory for dining establishments to switch to eco-friendly straws.

But this doesn’t mean I need or want to own a reusable straw.

Seriously, how often do you need to use a straw to drink? I hardly ever do.

Besides, is it really that difficult to drink your beverage using the container it came in?

To be fair, there are certain instances when a straw would come in handy, such as when you want to avoid spillage while drinking on the go. But come on, if you’re really serious about saving the planet, don’t order takeaway.

I once saw a person stick his personal metal straw into his iced latte, which was served in a DISPOSABLE PLASTIC CUP.

Some of you might say that this half-baked attempt at sustainability is better than nothing. I’m inclined to disagree, just like how the Physical Training Instructor always disagreed with those half-baked chin-ups I did.

“No count! No count! Give me a proper pull-up!” he would yell.

“Eh sergeant, tolong lah. Can you count two half-baked attempts as one proper chin-up?” I replied.

“Recruit, how about I combine your two off days into one also?”

I never joked with him again.

I’m also sick and tired of treehuggers preaching to me that I should own a reusable straw. One such person is my millennial cousin Cara, who once tried to sell me a reusable metal straw that comes in an achingly hipster leather pouch.

“TWENTY DOLLARS? Why on earth would anyone pay $20 for an item that he or she would only use once or twice a day?” I scoffed.

“It’s not about the price. It’s about creating a trend that is good for the planet,” she retorted.

“Bah! Here’s an approach I reckon would get more tongues wagging – roll up a one-hundred-dollar note and use it as a straw! Confirm go viral!”

Cara was getting visibly annoyed that I wasn’t impressed by her business idea.

I knew I had to go in for the kill.

“Hey, don’t be discouraged. Your idea may be trash, but it’s recyclable trash! I’m sure you will think of a more sustainable business idea.”

She turned to me, her eyes filled with murderous intent.

“Mother Earth is dying because of people like you,” she said.

“Please, get off your high horse. I’m pretty sure I’ve been much more sustainable than you because of National Service.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t help the planet by serving NS!”

“Of course I do. Do you know how many times I’ve provided nutrients to the grass and the trees? All that human waste certainly didn’t go to waste!”

PS: To my fellow NSmen and NSFs – there’s really no need to buy a metal straw. Unbeknownst to most people, there is one in our field pack. Just look inside the rifle cleaning kit! You’re welcome.

LOL Mondays is an ongoing series of slice-of-life stories from freelance writer and NSman Alywin Chew. Look out for the humorous tales which will be posted every first Monday of the month, to help you drive away your Monday blues!

How do you do your part for the environment? Share your tips with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!


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