mastering blow piping skills in the orang asli village, Kampung Tonggang, Perak

Helping Malaysians Live Off Nature

What was supposed to be a short 9-month hiatus from work as a fleet manager with a logistics company, and running a professional driver’s training centre in Ireland turned out to be a lifelong affection for Malaysia for Hungarian Adam Kiss.

“I met a Malaysian working as a chef in Wexford and we became good friends through our mutual passion for cars and the various classic car restoration projects that we were involved in together. He always talked about Malaysia and told me about the beautiful nature, delicious food and friendly people. When he had to return to his family for good, I decided to tag along with him. During my stay, I found everything to be just as he had described and I had a memorable holiday,” Kiss explained.

mastering blow piping skills in the orang asli village, Kampung Tonggang, Perak
mastering blow piping skills in the orang asli village, Kampung Tonggang, Perak

Kiss has always been involved in creating a better environment, whereby part of his business was in implementing sustainable eco-proactive driving performance in the long term. So, when he was invited by Fuze-Ecoteer to join their internship programme in a number of conservation projects in Perhentian Islands, Taman Negara and Kampung Tonggang, Perak, it didn’t take him long to accept the offer.

During his tenure with Fuze-Ecoteer, some of the conservation and community activities that Kiss managed or arranged, included setting up rainforest infrared camera trapping to take a census of animal population and species in Gunung Korbu, destroying illegal snares or animal traps found, conducting educational jungle trekking, and creating sustainable revenue to communities through the purchase of traditional crafts.

These projects took Kiss to the deep interiors of Malaysian jungles where he gained first hand knowledge on the difficulty to access clean water. Through these challenging experiences, he developed a keen interest in rainwater and water filtration. Experimenting with different methods and materials, Kiss soon created a rainwater harvesting system that can be customised to suit different needs at various locations. This system is capable of providing portable, clean water just from relying on rainwater or a stream source.

Currently, Kiss is responsible for designing the water/filtration systems of all projects under MCM GreenMan Tiny Home Group. He was also involved in the research and development, logistics, design as well as construction of Malaysia’s first self-sustainable mobile home, known as GreenMan Tiny Home.

Inspired by traditional kampung-style houses, GreenMan Tiny Homes are built by a group of like-minded individuals from around the world using eco-friendly materials and raised above the ground to keep the interior cool in the tropical heat. These houses boast innovative functions, such as solar power, bacterial toilet, and of course, Kiss’ forte, rainwater harvesting. GreenMan Tiny Home is the only transportable, completely off-grid residence in the country.

kokopelli rainwater harvesting system
kokopelli rainwater harvesting system

The first GreenMan Tiny Home, parked at CIDB in Kuala Lumpur at the moment, is undergoing improvements before it is donated to someone in need. In the meantime, the team has recently completed a newer version of the home in Ipoh.

Kiss said, “Ipoh is a good location for our project. We are familiar with the city, so it was easy for us to get around. Besides, rental of the factory, raw materials and labour are significantly lower than in KL. All these factors helped keep our overall cost as low as possible.”

Kiss and his colleagues believe that these self-sustainable homes can be used for disaster relief or as accommodation for workers, refugees and individuals. “What we built is not just a tiny home, we established a modular building system that allows us to create any kind of building up to four storeys high,” he said.

Despite clocking his 3rd year in Malaysia, the 29-year-old Kiss still feels that he has not fully explored the country: “I am travelling a lot as I have on-going projects in several countries, although Kuala Lumpur is my current base. I love the country’s diverse culture. The only downside is the horrendous Malaysian driver attitude. Major changes in driving behaviour are required and individuals should relearn to understand the entire driving system and its regulations.”

playing with the kids at the orang asli settlement in Kampung Tonggang, Perak
playing with the kids at the orang asli settlement in Kampung Tonggang, Perak

On being a Malaysian resident, Kiss added, “I wish to keep contributing to the community, to inspire people to lead a better life, to be conscious about the environment and provide a solution for affordable housing as well as the accessibility to clean water.”

Note: An edited version of this article [Helping Malaysians live off nature] was published on 10th October 2017 in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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