Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Group spreads anti-litter message with high fives

Wednesday May 2, 2012

Group spreads anti-litter message with high fives


KUALA LUMPUR: Shoppers looking for bargains along Bukit Bintang got hugs and high fives instead, thanks to an anti-litter campaign.

President and founder of Waterfall Survivors Joe Yap Wei Lea, 33, said the group wanted to spread the idea of not littering by combining it with hugs and high fives.

“We call it loving ME', we spread the message of loving yourself by loving Mother Earth.

“Though we usually focus on cleaning waterfall areas, we figured since picnickers come from the city, educating the public should begin there,” Yap said.

Hug me: Joe Yap (orange shirt) hugging a passerby at Berjaya Times Square during the “Free Hugs and No Litter” campaign in Bukit Bintang yesterday. — AZMAN GHANI / The Star

She added that littering was a serious problem no matter where it happens as garbage in the city clogs drains and would eventually end up in the rivers and seas.

Waterfall Survivors project consultant Webster Ku, 27, said he got the free hugs idea after hearing a talk by Helping Angels founder Poesy Liang about the concept of “paying it forward”.

“By hugging people and getting them to pay it forward, it becomes a more memorable way to spread the message of keeping our streets clean,” he said, jokingly adding that people should avoid picking up litter and hugging at the same time.

Ku said locals are not always comfortable with being hugged, so they also decided to give high fives.

“Whether it's hugs or high fives, I think we could do with spreading the love in view of all the anger and hate going around recently,” he said.

Volunteer Jasmin Zulkifli, 15, said giving hugs was awkward at first but became easier as she realised people were receptive to the idea.

“It also helps to have a signboard and a shirt saying free hugs,” said the middle school student who was among six volunteers taking part in the walk at Bukit Bintang here yesterday.

Waterfall Survivors would be organising a similar event today at 7pm in front of the McDonalds in SS2, Petaling Jaya. For more information, visit

More Pictures on The Star Gallery

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." -Haida Proverb Waterfalls are beautiful but extremely DANGEROUS. Only attempt with experience guides.Take Nothing but photographs, Leave Nothing but Footprints