Tuesday 30 June 2009

1 of the 50 facts

Honestly speaking, I have never finished reading a book. The closest was Tuesdays with Morrie. But this changed about a month ago when I picked up a book from my sis-in-law’s room. The title of the book was “50 facts that should change the world” by Jessica Williams.

Therein lies much information that will make you think about life and how screwed up we are. This book inspired me to write
Disparities Insanities Inhumanities, most of the stats I quoted in that post are from this book.

Having said that, humans are forgetful selfish creatures. We tend to forget meaningful and heart warming things in life and only care about issues that directly affect us. So put aside the facts about how many people are deprived of food, robbed of their lives, deprived of their rights, etc. Probably that’s why the book is called “50 facts that should change the world” and not “50 facts that will change the world”.

So let’s put on our true selfish nature and talk about 1 fact that directly affects us.

1 of the facts in that book states that people in industrialised countries eat between 6kg and 7kg of food additives every year. We Malaysians may not be living in what is considered as an “industrialised country”, but I am sure our intake of food additives is close enough.

If you look at the ingredient list a typical “Made in Malaysia” type of food produce, you should see things that you are familiar with and then at the end of it, you have the mother of all ingredients… “…dan bahan pewarna dan pengawet yang dibenarkan” (permitted colouring and preservatives). So on average, you may have eaten up to 7kg of these “pewarna dan pengawet yang dibenarkan”.

That’s the Malaysia Boleh type of product.

I am now looking at a product of Singapore and they have some extra-terrestrial-like name in their ingredients such as Sodium Sillicoaluminate, Sodium Casseinate, Stabiliser E340ii, Stabiliser E451i, Emulsifier E 472e, Emulsifier E471 and 7 more names which I can’t pronounce. This will certainly fail the
2nd commandment of 12C 4 HE, but I am sure many of us don’t care.

We might say the Singaporeans are “kiasu” as they must list out everything instead of saving printing cost and just lump everything as “pewarna dan pengawet yang dibenarkan” but at least they know the name of the stuff they are eating. For those who eat Malaysian products, do you even know what you are eating?

That aside, we all know that all sorts of chemicals and additives exist in our food and they are of course, maintained at a “permissible” level. But like the good ‘ol Malay saying… “Sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit” (little by little, soon becomes a hill), the accumulative amount of chemicals and additives that we eat is astonishing. The “bukit” that we are talking about here is a total of 6kg to 7kg a year.

In a world where profits is the number 1 priority, you have no idea what is inside the food that you eat to make them look better, taste better and last longer. All I know is that when I am thirsty, I should reach for water instead of a proclaimed thirst quenching fizzy drink.

But we all know what we should do, whether we will do it is another matter altogether.

1 year ago…
More struggles


Sunshine said...

7kg is a scary amount!

leyaw said...

This is one of the many price that we have to pay in order to move 'forward'. We are too dependent on all type of chemicals in our life that it is unavoidable to have it in food we eat every single day.

Unless if we grow our own food and cook it ourselves. That also depends on the land and water that you used in producing it are free of chemicals in the first place.

How we live our life depends on those who control the economy. To change things the way it is would required really huge amount of determinations from the public.

Btw, have you ever thought about how ridiculous it is that so many people are relying on bottled water for drinking? Especially those imported one which cost many times more than petrol! As if these water will prevent you from getting sick.

Angie Tan said...


It is scary... *sigh*...

Jerine said...

Hey, do you know where to get the book?

pinknpurplelizard said...

I know that they list out the ingredients coz there are certain ppl who are allergic to these certain ingredients. Example some ppl esp children have adverse reactions to certain food colourings (of which some are banned in some countries).

Natural is always best but not everyone can afford organic or natural foodstuff as they're rather expensive.

Anonymous said...

Cna Michael Jackson be the 51st thing to change the world? Just kidding.

Anyway, what about doing a write-up about him? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks. Missing him.

HappySurfer said...

And we all have lived to tell the tale..

Ice said...

Maybe that book intrigued you, that's why you can finish reading it. Those books that I will read from cover to cover must contain money value *LOL I bet you're laughing now :o)

Well, at least you didn't reach out for bottled water like "evian". Some people spend lots of money buying water which equates to normal tap water. If spelt backwards evian is naive! What can I say, all corporates will do anything to earn your money. Humans are not only forgetful but also stupid sometime when I come and think about it.

suituapui said...

"All I know is that when I am thirsty, I should reach for water instead of a proclaimed thirst quenching fizzy drink." .....And how clean is the water? Is it chlorinated? Has it been boiled, filtered or ionised? Is it natural spring mineral water or the result of reverse osmosis...???

Anonymous said...

human r entering into self-n-world destruction mode due to 'comfort' and 'progress'...yeah lets toss to more chemical/GM advancement

ever watch the documentary showing how ppl destroying water - the origin of lifes 4 the sake of $

theres no hope 4 the human race

4 ur info, organic food not really tat organic afterall (info from organic farm owner)

eiling lim said...

well our ingredient listing/labeling laws aren't strict here. there is no control.

TRACE said...

1) I agree that human are forgetful selfish creatures, and we tend to fall into that category...=/
We 'should' be responsible to people around us, to God and to ourselves.
2) I think I should read that book...
3) Oh!~ 7kg...=/ thanks for the facts...we should treat our body better...
To be frank, I hate people who says:"no need to be healthy la, we will eventually die! Enjoy life!"
I dont think we can enjoy life when we end up on the hospital bed during our fourties/fifties suffering from cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease...you name it...=/ spending money on medicines and machines in the hospital...

zewt said...

Sunshine - better eat more fruits... fresh fruits...

leyaw - i think there can be balance... and ways to do things in a better manner. just that the intention to profit is too strong. yeah, imported water... just so damn stupid. and ppl drink it feeling glamour.

Angie Tan - very!

Jerine - i think you can find it in any bookstore... quite famous this book is.

pinknpurplelizard - means ppl here just dont give a damn about allegic ppl... sigh.

anon @ 1/7 1.23pm - just did...

zewt said...

HappySurfer - hahaha... not a good thing.

Ai Shiang - naive! hahahahaha... that's a good one. humans are generally... stupid, including myself.

suituapui - wahhhh... so deep la

anon @ 2/7 9.46am - yeah... we are indeed destroying ourselves... sad but true.

-eiling- - doesnt make a difference even if it's strict.

TRACE - yeah, we will reap what we sew.... they can openly proclaim that cos they have not tasted the bitter seed yet. yes, u should read that book.