Simple Life

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A friend email me a worksheet that can calculate the price difference between the old and new petrol price. I expected my petrol cost will increase a minimum RM120 per month.

count petrol increment.xls

After the petrol price hike on 5 June 2008, plus the earlier food crisis, world wide energy crisis & inflation and etc, we can expected Malaysia will enter a high inflation era. I think the best solutions to counter the inflation & conserve the energy and resources are to exercise a simple life style.

I’ve been maintained a simple life style for years and it did not affected my quality of life. The following are some of the ways:

Living / Household

  1. Don’t use air-conditioner. If you can’t avoid, set the temperature at 26oC. Every degree of temperature drop will increase minimum 3% of electricity usage.
  2. Plant some greenery at home to cool down the room temperature and maintain air freshness. I plant them in pottery and maintain a small “garden” in my balcony.
  3. I find the bamboo blind or thick cotton curtain help to cut down direct sun exposure to my apartment and help to maintain cool temperatures effectively. It also set a nice setting to my home.
  4. Turn off the light, TV, radio, computer, home appliance when it’s not in use. The appliance will still using the electricity when it’s in “STAND BY” condition. So switch OFF the main.
  5. Switch off the computer when doing other thing. If it’s just away of 10-15 minutes, turn off the LCD screen or put the computer in “STAND BY” mode.
  6. Avoid using water heater.
  7. Use only energy saving bulb. Although need a bit cost and investment initially, but saving is long run.
  8. Don’t let the water tape run when brushing the teeth.
  9. Unplug the mobile phone as soon as it has finished charging.
  10. I only do the shopping once a week in a single trip. Buy from local pasar-malam or convenient shop if I need to replenish.
  11. Wash my cloths when it’s full load only
  12. Hang out the washing for sun dry instead of using the tumble dryer.
  13. Fill the kettle with only as much water as I need…….


  1. Buy good quality cloths when necessary and not follow the fashion trend.
  2. Footware is very important to me. So it’s worth to invest in a good pair of court shoes and sandal that can use for years.
  3. Send the old clothing to charity regularly.


  1. Eat less meat and more fresh vegetable and fruits. According to research, to produce a kg of beef, we need 11kg of input. Chicken and fish required less input.
  2. Reject fast food that contain high fat, high calories, high preservation and less nutrient.
  3. 70% fullness is sufficient. Eat too much can lead to various health problems.
  4. Don’t waste food. Prepare or order the required amount only.
  5. Buy local fruit and vegetables (or even try growing your own if your home-ground is permitted) and avoid buy fresh fruit and vegetables which are out of season, they may have been flown in.
  6. Don’t buy bottled /canned water or beverage. I always keep a bottle of plain water in my car and handbag. I always bring a big water tumbler to work.
  7. Don’t buy over packaged products.
  8. Avoid take-away, have the meal at the restaurant instead.

Transportation / Travel

This is the area that killed all my good points. When I calculate my carbon footprint 2 years back, I found that my foot print is much higher than average Malaysian and more than 70% are from my car and flights.

  • The average footprint for people in Malaysia is 7 tonnes
  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
  • To combat climate change the worldwide average needs to reduce to 2 tonnes.

Initially I find it’s difficult not to drive my car, or reduce my traveling / vacation frequencies. But after awhile, I found that I can save sometimes to do some reading while ferry with KTM or LRT, so I’m start using public transport if I can.

  1. For short journeys either walk or cycle. Walk to the nearby 7-11, food stall instead of driving.
  2. Don’t use domestic flights (e.g. from Kuala Lumpur to Penang), use a train or a coach.
  3. Travel light. If every traveler travel < 20kg per trip, then the commercial flight company will reduce 2 million of Carbon emission.
  4. Use the bus or a train rather than driving the car. Otherwise, car pool is another option.
  5. When on holiday – hire a bicycle to explore locally rather than a car
  6. When staying in a hotel turn the lights and air-conditioning off when leave the hotel room
  7. Ask the room towels & bed-sheet to be washed less frequent, rather than every day


  1. Reject plastic bags and Styrofoams. Use recyclable tote bag when shopping. I always keep one or two folder-able tote bag in my car and hand-bag, it’s handy and environment.
  2. Recycle as much as I can (I segregate and recycle newspaper, paper waste, plastic, glasses and metal)
  3. Avoid doing activities that will increase in carbon emissions. E.g. Saunas, Health clubs, restaurants and pubs, go-karting etc.
  4. Implement the Reduce, Re-use, Repair and Recycle principles at all time.

So start your simple life today – for yourself and the next generations. You will definitely enjoy every moment of this good life like I do.


Author: huichun

Originate from Taiping, now staying in Kuala Lumpur, Malayisia and working in a management consultancy and training firm. A typical Gemini that like to poke the nose in everything, everywhere. Like to cook, travel, read, share views with others,help the needy.......... Currently the main concerns are Malaysia civil society & politics, world environmental issues and managing a community library in KL.

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