Toilet ideas

A Hong Kong student won a renowned national scientific competition regarded as the Nobel Prize for Chinese teenagers with his invention called "Inedible Cellilosic Ethanol". Chu Hoi-ming of Carmel Pak U Secondary School succeeded in generated electricity from the biofuel ethanol obtained from the fermentation of waste paper.

Asked about the source of inspiration, Chu said it came from the toilet in the school. "I saw lots of hand-drying paper being thrown away in the school toilet and remembered that the paper contains lots of tissues," Chu said. "How good it would be if it can be used to generate electricity, I thought."

Hong Kong people like to label bad ideas as "toilet ideas", but I believe otherwise, and Chu Hoi-ming's victory is a case in point. My personal experience is that countless times I "suddenly" remember something I would otherwise forget or generate some ideas (including ideas for this blog, by the way) when making a trip to the loo. I believe it all has to do with a change of place and posture, after getting stuck, both mentally and physically, in the same place or situation for too long. It might also be that one becomes more quiet and still when "doing business" in the toilet. As Psalm 46:10 says: "Be still and know that I am God."

Chu's "toilet idea" not only enabled him to beat hundreds of gifted students in China, it also won him a handsome HKD50,000 (or is it RMB?) scholarship and direct admission to top universities in China. Not a bad one, huh?

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