How did environmental activism begin in Malaysia? Who were the key players back in the 1970s, when the international community was just starting to notice climate change? Does the name Gurmit Singh ring a bell among Malaysians today? If it does, well and good. If it doesn’t, the timely arrival of the autobiographical Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist will give due recognition to one particular man’s labour of love and his service to the environment and the community.
Until now, little is really known about Gurmit Singh himself; much of what we know is based on the reactions to his media image and his campaigns. Here at last is the story of the life of this renowned Malaysian environmentalist, whose brand of take-it-to-the-streets activism has inspired countless individuals across generations. From his childhood as a self-professed bookworm to a vociferous human rights and environmental advocate, this book faithfully records his beginnings, growth, achievements, fears, family life and his dreams.
Born in 1942 to Punjabi parents in Japanese-occupied Malaya, Gurmit went on to found two pioneering NGOs — Environmental Protection Society, Malaysia (EPSM) and Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia (CETDEM). At various national and international fora, Gurmit not only put forward the Malaysian perspective, but also spoke up for the ‘third world’ and the global good.