Urban Eco-Warriors: Borneo and Singapore
My love/hate affair with Borneo began around 2009 when I watched a documentary called "The Burning Season". It's a fascinating small-budget movie taking you from the palm oil farmer in Indonesia, to the money makers in London, across politicians and multinationals in the USA, ending with a UN conference in Bali.
One of the main characters in the film, orangutan caretaker and fellow Dane, Lone Droscher Nielsen came to our launch of Qi Global in 2009 and later I got to know the director of The Burning Season, Dr. Cathy Henkel. We also hosted the first ever screening of the movie in Singapore in 2010.
Upon an invitation from Cathy, I went to Borneo in 2012 and travelled into the heart of the jungles with her film crew. The outstanding beauty of the land still lingers in my heart. So do the Dayak tribes that hosted us in the long house. I especially recall small, old woman, who looked like she could have been close to a hundred years old.
Her face was full of stories of hardship, pain and commitment.
Commitment to her tribe, history and to Nature. As a teenager, her grandfather tattooed her arms with dragons (Naga) in black that had with time faded to a blue/grey colour. The tattoos serves a a torch or light on one's journey towards eternity. I especially recall her beautiful old wrinkled tattooed hands. For these tribes, tattoos on hands symbolises a person who helps the tribe as healers.
I was inspired to create a symbol to connect modern urban eco-warriors with our indigenous brothers and sisters and their fight to live in harmony with nature. The symbol became the EW sign, with three vertical stripes (fingers) for the "E" and three horizontal stripes (fingers) for the "W". The EW connect us on a spiritual level through ancient history and an actionable level in the quest of fighting against deforestation.
The EW logo was activated at a public outreach installation in Singapore when the film crew arrived on the 6th of July after 100 days in the jungles of Borneo.
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