MESYM Blog

MESYM was interviewed on radio today!

Jun-E and Leo, co-founders of our beloved MESYM were interviewed on online radio DurianAsean today!

Here’s the podcast (it comes as a youtube video though!):

Or if you’d rather open it in DurianAsean, this is the blog post:

2014 05 21 ASEAN Breakfast Call : Building a One Stop Community for Environmental Conservation and Activism

Thanks to Arlene for the lovely interview, and for naming MESYM as the “One Stop Community for Environmental Conservation and Activism”. It sounds as a catchy name! We had not come up with it ourselves!

We’re hoping to have some more interviews in media soon, and be able to spread the message further. Updates on this topic coming soon…

As a plus, here some backstage pics, enjoy!

 

Hurrah hurrah! MESYM 3.0 and its new features!

After months of development and many sleepless nights, the new website is finally ready! Needless to say, we are stoked. Hurrah!

Although the interface did not change drastically, the system behind MESYM.com was completely rebuilt to support some swanky new features that we thought the community might like. These improvements include:

1. A Volunteering Platform
Now projects and events can specify if they need volunteers. And of course, if you’re interested to volunteer to help save the environment, watch this space as more and more organisations enter their volunteering information. (For organisations: if you offer any volunteering opportunities, please log in to the website to update the information!)

2. Stories
The Stories section was built to let volunteers and event-goers tell stories about the projects and events that they participated in, as to inspire more people to engage in offline action. Write your story and share your pictures with the world!

3. At the tip of your fingers
You may have noticed the handy filtering that happens everywhere on the website, to ensure that information arrives to you as soon as you type them.

4. Mobile-friendliness
Finally we have a website that looks decent in smaller screens like mobile phones and tablets. Try it out!

5. Preview your posts
You are now able to see previews of your posts while awaiting moderation from the admins.

6. A makeover
We’ve moved things around a little bit, so do explore the website to see the cosmetic changes in place. We’ve also changed some of the header names to make things clearer. “Action” has been renamed to “Projects”, and “Articles” to “Discussions”.

There are a couple of missing things at the moment and we’re still working to add them: the comments section is missing for the time being, but it will be back very soon! and we need to translate the website into Malay. If you’d like to help or have any questions, contact us at info@mesym.com.
Lastly, if you like our work, please help by spreading the new MESYM website to as many people as possible! Tell all your friends! The more people we reach out to, the bigger difference we will be able to make.

MESYM Documentary Events Suspended in March and April

We’re temporarily suspending our Documentary Events (including the MESYM Documentary Night and Crossover Series) for the months of March and April.

The main reasons for the hiatus are that we’ll be travelling for more than a month during this period, and we’re busy with many things leading up to the trip.

While we’re MIA in real life, we’ll still be working on the exciting revamp of the website that is almost completed. The new website will be mobile-friendly, much faster, and incorporate a volunteering platform – so stay tuned!

The events will resume in May, when we return from our travels.

The Year That Was: A Round Up

It has been almost a year since Leo and I started this project. We connected with Gene in January 2013 and started building MESYM 2.0, and launched it end of April. Since then, the website has grown slowly but steadily, and so far I’m pretty happy with the progress although there is still much room for improvement.

I thought I’d take stock of the year that was for MESYM, and talk a little about what is going to come in the new year.

Facts and Figures

I did a quick inventory check and these are some figures that I collected, on items that have been published on the MESYM website:

  • 178 Events
  • 106 Organisational Profiles, 77 Individual Profiles
  • 32 Actions
  • 35 Announcements
  • 16 Features, 74 Articles (not including archived MESYM 1.0 articles)

We’ve exhibited in some events like Rockin’ 4 The Reef, World Environment Day at Kota Damansara Community Forest, and Malaysia Day. We’ve also organised two crowdsourcing meetings to map out actions and events, and brainstorm.

But I guess the most noteworthy is the documentary events that we ran, and continue to run:

Our Documentary Events

MESY Documentary Night #1: Dirt! The Movie

MESYM Documentary Night #1: Dirt! The Movie

Here are the MESYM Documentary Night films that we have shown in the past year:

  1. April: Dirt! The Movie
  2. May: Home
  3. June: Do The Math + Story of Stuff
  4. July: Wira Rimba + On Borrowed Time (Discussants: Elizabeth John of TRAFFIC, WWF)
  5. August: Green The Film + PEKA’s deforestation video (Discussant: Kevin Lawrence of PEKA)
  6. September: Pandora’s Promise (Discussants: Dr. Ronald McCoy, Matthias Gelber)
  7. October: Cross Currents: A Documentary on the Environments in Asia (Discussants: Justine Vaz of KDCF, Dr. Hezri Adnan)
  8. November: The World According to Monsanto
  9. December: Blue Gold: World Water Wars (Discussant: Dr. Lee Jin)
  10. Upcoming in January: More Than Honey (Discussant: Abu Hassan Jalil)

And from October we started our second monthly event, called the MESYM Crossover Documentary Series

  1. October: Wasteland
  2. November: Obey
  3. December: Urbanized (Discussants: the #BetterCities team)

Some Thoughts

To be honest I initiated the project with the naive idea that once we put a platform in place, people would be using it without much need of persuasion from our part. How wrong I was! It is a constant struggle to get people to participate. If anything, the building of the platform is only a very small part of the actual work. The rest of the time and energy is spent on emails (and waiting for email replies), social media, connecting with people, thinking of how to connect with more people, generating content, looking for more content… there is never really a slow moment. To juggle this with other priorities in life (such as a full time job) is challenging.

To build an online community is very different from building a directory, though it is also much more rewarding and sustainable. We continue to work to amplify good work of others, though I would only consider us to be successful when we are able to support a vibrant community that uses MESYM as their primary platform to do good environmental actions.

The New Year

So the new year is going to be a very exciting year for MESYM. For one, we are going to launch MESYM 3.0 early this year, and it will incorporate a volunteering platform. Also, the entire platform will be overhauled to be more efficient and user-friendly. We’ve noticed that the site is rather slow in loading, and with the launching of the upgrade, we hope to provide a better user experience.

Secondly, now that things are a little more stable, we are going to start to generate income for MESYM. We’re looking at several different avenues like sponsorship, or grants, or competitions. We have some ideas of where and how, but the problem that we have right now is to produce the paperwork that we will need for these. So that is the plan for now – get money, invest money back into the website and its expansion.

To Everyone

Thanks for the support so far. MESYM is growing, we’re learning on the job, and it isn’t easy. However, it is the feedback (positive or negative) that we get from the community that keeps us growing. So if you have any advice or comments, we would be glad to hear from you. Happy new year to all, and collectively let’s make a real difference in Year 2014!

Introducing the MESYM Crossover Documentary Series

The goal of MESYM is to support people and organizations to work together, to push for the betterment of the environment. For this, we have been organizing MESYM Documentary Nights to create environmental awareness. We watch a documentary featuring an issue, discuss why it happens, how to solve it, and what we can all do about it.

The monthly MESYM Documentary Nights have been held for more than half a year, and we have received good feedback from the community. At this point, we think that it is time to reach out to other realms.

Environmental issues are generally not highly prioritized by Malaysians in general. However, what is not perceived is that many of the issues that we are concerned about (economics, politics, capitalism, democracy, mass media… to name a few) are actually linked to environmental issues, whether directly or indirectly.

Also, environmental issues that we encounter are also very much impacted by these matters. In many cases, the environmental problems are a consequence of bad political decisions, biased media representation, rampant capitalism and so on. Only through exploring these other topics can we penetrate deeper into the crux of the matter.

Here are some examples of the connections between environmental issues and broader topics:

  • Lynas (Politics / Economics)
  • Tasik Chini (Economics / Civil rights)
  • Climate change (Capitalism / Mass media)
  • Mass deforestation (Economics / Democracy)

This is why we decided to hold a second documentary night, creating “crossovers”, of environmental issues and one other issue that will be the focus of the documentary. With the new MESYM Crossover Documentary Series, we choose and explore a topic, and from there discuss its linkages with the environment.

With this new series, we hope to achieve the following:

  • To inspire a multi-faceted view on environmental issues, embedded in a wider context
  • To mingle and connect with other circles or communities in Malaysia (economic, political, civil rights, etc), to work together with them, so that we can create a bigger movement towards attaining a common goal.

The MESYM Crossover Documentary Series will be held on the last Sunday of each month at Merdekarya. Everyone is welcome to join us, admission is free, just buy a drink! For our first event, the crossover topic is The Arts. We will screen Waste Land, a social documentary based around the lives of garbage pickers in Rio de Janeiro.

We hope to see you there, and bring your friends!

p/s. To be clear, we’re still holding our MESYM Documentary Nights on the 2nd Tuesday of every month – now we have two documentaries per month 🙂

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Welcome to MESYM!
Connecting the green dots

MESYM.com is a crowd-sourced platform and a living database for environmental movements in Malaysia. There are many good actions being done out there. Our goal is to bring them together. We connect the green dots.