Power Shift Malaysia was a path of enlightenment for change makers – Amalina Ariffin
It has been a week since we parted ways from the Power Shift Malaysia Camp but I still find myself reminiscing the moments when I was there.
It all began when I saw a friend of mine posting the event on Facebook and I was intrigued by the name itself. A click to the link led to subsequent sites and before I knew it, I was on the computer for over two hours reading and watching videos pertaining to Power Shift and 350. I signed up immediately that night.
I did not know what to expect as I stepped out of Penang International Airport on Thursday, 16th October. I was just hoping that the participant kit provided would be sufficient for me to survive for the next four days. I was rather intimidated when the organisers gave us a long list of materials to read, and I was expecting everyone to be equipped with advanced knowledge on environmental issues and I would not be able to understand. Suddenly paranoia eluded me. “Can I survive with a bunch of hippies out in the woods for the next four days?”
As I arrived at the Penang National Park, I immediately saw the Power Shifters, most were international participants and they have all been very warm and friendly despite their long journeys, coming from different parts of the world in order to participate in this camp. Conversations were struck, and there were several (unsuccessful) attempts by me to speak their native languages and we had hit it off before the programme had started. My mind was at ease, I could definitely get along with this bunch of bright and passionate young environmentalists. And I was right, I have met so many inspirational young figures who are change makers in various fields from various places, and it is apparent from the insights given during talks and personal discussions we have.
Every day I see people wearing shirts bearing support for many social causes, such as soup kitchen, stopping dams from being constructed, charity runs and many more. These amazing people made me feel inadequate, but motivate me to do more to make a difference. An example is Rohit, whom I believe is the next Gandhi, already has two welfare homes in Delhi. Faique is working on water purification system in rural Malaysia. Ethar handles the financial accounts in her organisation, as well as getting involved with UN Volunteers despite only being 20 years old. And those were just to name a few. I was overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the people, and my faith in humanity is restored seeing so many do gooders.
The days at the camp passed by without us noticing. Before we knew it, it was the last day. I had acquired so much knowledge and so many skills during the short period of time, as the talks were delivered in a concise and precise manner we swallowed everything whole, and were left enlightened with a deeper understanding on current issues. We were educated on everything that we need to know, from Climate Change 101 and the types of forests which are losing in a battle against urbanisation to learning about writing letters and campaigning to the media, getting to know our allies and enemies as well as handling ‘the boys in blue’. Some of the participants were more experienced than some others, but it all worked out in the end because we share the common goal; to make this earth a habitable place for mankind.
The end was particularly hard for me because I do not tolerate farewells very well, especially knowing the fact that we might not be able to meet each other anymore in the future considering the fact that most of the participants came from different nations. But I was confident that we will each try to make our world a better place and hopefully our paths will cross in the environmental causes that we are fighting and Mother Nature will bring us together again.
Power Shift Malaysia was not just a camp for hippies, Power Shift Malaysia was a path of enlightenment for change makers.
Written by Amalina Ariffin – Participant of #PowerShiftMsia 2014
Edited by Roxanne Low – Participant of #PowerShiftMsia 2013