Blood Bank: ‘O’ blood group stock is very low

In Singapore, more than 350 units are needed daily to meet the transfusion needs of patients in hospitals. I see the Bloodstock Indicator at Donor Web indicates that stocks of Group A and Group AB are low while that of Group O is very low.

Status as of 26 Nov 2011
Singapore Blood Stocks Indicator 2014 Donorweb

Blood Bank staff use to say the heavy rains and school holidays would inevitably result in an annual dip in blood donations. One year they handed out free umbrellas to encourage donations, so it seems to be an annual problem, just like the Ramadhan effect.

I last donated in October so can only donate next in January 2012. Lots of undergrads, however, should be eligible!

If you’re healthy (no, you can’t donate if you’re sniffling during this monsoon), and are between 16 and 60 years old and weigh at least 45 kilogrammes, you are eligible to donate. If you’re a donor, you know you needs 12 weeks after your last whole blood donation to be eligible to donate once again.

If you have not donated blood before in Singapore, visit (e.g. six weeks symptom-free after visiting a malaria area) or call 6220- 0183 for more information on the blood donation criteria or to make an appointment for blood donation.

Blood donations can be made at:

Bloodbank@HSA (closed on Mondays), located at 11 Outram Road (opposite Outram Park MRT station) – map.
Opening hours are as follows:

  • Tuesdays to Thursdays: 9:00am to 6:30pm
  • Fridays: 9:00am to 8:00pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
  • Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Bloodbank@Woodlands (closed on Tuesdays), located at 900 South Woodlands Drive, Woodlands Civic Centre, #05-07 – map.

Opening hours are as follows:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 12:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Saturdays: 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
  • Closed on Tuesdays and public holidays

Or catch a Bloodmobile
E.g. this week they will be at:

Singapore Bloodmobiles 2014 Donorweb

Where to adopt a family friend

There are thousands of abandoned animals and strays which need a home. Buying a pedigree animal these days means supporting horrific puppy mills, resulting in senseless abuse and suffering.

The Sunday Times ran an adoption story today [pdf] and listed these as sources below for adoptions. The process is an engagement as they’ll need to verify you’re ready to adopt.

  1. ACTION FOR SINGAPORE DOGS – More than 100 dogs of various breeds, from mongrels to crossbreeds and pedigrees. Tel: 6100-2737.
  2. ANIMAL LOVERS LEAGUE – 50 dogs, mainly mongrels. About 10 per cent are purebred dogs such as pomeranians and shih tzus. Tel: 9793-7162. Pets Villa, 61 Pasir Ris Farmway 3. http://
  3. CAT WELFARE SOCIETY – An open adoption board where members of the public can post up cats for adoption. There are four to eight adoption posts a day. E-mail:; mailing address: Orchard Road PO Box 65, Singapore 912303.
  4. GENTLE PAWS AND FRIENDS – 35 dogs of various breeds – mongrels, crossbreeds and a purebred English cocker spaniel. E-mail:, 6 Pasir Ris Farmway 2.
  5. SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS – Currently more than 60 dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters. Mixture of crossbreeds and pedigrees. Tel: 6287-5355 ext 24, 31 Mount Vernon Road S(368054).

Mr Bats, b. Dec 2003 (estim.), found at Geylang Bahru.
Family friend since 21 Feb 2004, via Cat Welfare Society.

Next Gen NBN termination point installed, can I get fibre broadband?

In 2009, an unreliable Singnet line had me try out a six month trial with M1. After a fuss-free six months, I signed a two-year contract for M1’s 100MBps line.

This ended with a rude shock when I got a bill for $116.22 yesterday. Apparently the 2-year, 45% discount is over. What a way to let me know!

So it’s time to cancel or renew.

The current 24-month cable broadband contract with M1 costs $76.70/month. I can’t smell anything close to that speed on wireless so I could settle for M1’s 30MBps ($53.90/mth).

M1 home broadband plans

Meanwhile Singtel’s ADSL 15MBps costs $51.90/month but comes with a 1.5MBps mobile broadband USB modem. And if you almost double that price, they’ll give you a Mac Book Pro as well!

However, last September, I jubilantly noted that my broadband contract would end soon after they installed the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network termination point. Which has happened. And a few months ago, Techgoondu waxed lyrical about M1’s $39/month 100MBps fibre broadband plan – the same plan M1 is currently touting at Sitex:

M1 Fibre Broadband

Very nice, right? So I called M1 customer service and the chap on the phone checks his computer and says that my building is not ready. Seriously? So what is that termination point doing in my home?

Well, I just checked OpenNet and got this response – “Your building is ready for Next Gen NBN services. You can now approach a Retail Service Provider (RSP) to subscribe for Next Gen NBN services. Some of the RSPs include M1, SingTel, StarHub, and SuperInternet.”

Bah, what’s going on? I’ll call again and find out tomorrow.

If NGNBN access is delayed for a month or so, I’ll cancel my line for December. I seem to have to do that every two years because of some nonsense – which I can do since I’m usually on leave all December anyway, reading and licking my wounds from the semester. If it turns out there is a delay of more than a month, I’ll subscribe to M1’s 6-month 30MBps line which will cost me $58.80 (40% discount). Then wait for deliverance.

I’ll call M1 tomorrow and find out what’s what.

Update – a second telephone M1 service officer claimed we can’t install fibre broadband but at a both in town, they sign up immediately for installation in mid-December. The chap at the counter told us the M1 employees we talked to were accessing some old database.

Post-exam activities for undergraduate students

Sent to LSM1103, LSM2251, LSM3261 students in AY2011/12 Sem 1.

Dear students,

I have listed some post-exam activities you might be interested in. These will widen your exposure in a way we can’t achieve in class.

Once you take that first step, you will find yourself amidst motivated individuals and groups who are part of an active natural history community in Singapore.

LSM3261 students have been invited to a post-exam dialogue session in late December or January. Check your email or the module’s IVLE announcement for the link.


Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman

Field assistants for honours students:

Our honours students need help with small mammal work, wild pig and otter surveys, measuring trees and other help in the field. This is a great way for undergraduates to gain exposure to field work and learn about nature areas in Singapore and how science is conducted in the field. This is pretty much how I got started, following a researcher in the field.

The honours students will contact you once you register.

Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve Anniversary Walk
(Sun 04 Dec 2011):

My friends and I, all veteran guides, conduct this pleasant morning walk every year in celebration of the wetland reserve’s anniversary. It is suitable for all ages and we share stories about wildlife, ecological adaptations and our adventures in the field.

There are only 28 places left right now, so sign up soon if you intend to go.

Wildlife exhibitions with Raffles Museum Toddycats

Raffles Museum Toddycats are volunteers on a mission to educate the public about wildlife and ecosystems in Singapore. Since 2002, they have been mounting guided exhibitions with specimens from the Raffles Museum and the Department of Biological Sciences teaching collection at LS Lab 7, much like the LSM1103 Biodiversity and LSM3261 Life Form and Function practicals – except that this is conducted in public spaces like shopping centres!

Each volunteer attends a pre-event training session of about two hours in order to man a station. The next exhibition session is at Geylang East Library on 10 Dec 2011.

LSM3261 students would be great for this – after your first exhibition experience, you can pretty much just turn up to perform at future events, even after graduation! This is being led by Xu Weiting (LSM3261-2008) and Fung Tze Kwan (LSM3261-2009). The exhibition at Geylang East Library exhibition will feature 10-min talks by our current and former Hons and UROPS students and games for kids. It is an important and easy way to contribute to nature education in Singapore.

Nature guiding with Raffles Museum

This is another excellent field programme and is highly recommended – the Raffles Museum Education team will train you to be ready to conduct four guided nature walks for the public per year. This is a great way to become field-savvy and discover biodiversity in Singapore! This field experience is invaluable and it means getting up and close with Singapore’s biodiversity. It is very suitable for the first years.

The International Coastal Cleannup Singapore team has announced a programme for Year-Round cleanups for the beaches at Tanah Merah East in 2012. They are recruiting volunteer Site Buddies interested in managing cleanups three times a year. See:


This group of students address animal welfare issues through student education, surveys, managing strays in NUS and working with local animal welfare groups. They have been responding to emergencies and just rescued a dog from being put down recently and are helping to manage stray cats in NUS.

I am the staff advisor for this group which is led by Ong Say Lin, one of our senior students. Next semester they intend to organise the third animal welfare symposium.

Be informed

  1. Habitatnews, – there are numerous other opportunities to learn from the natural history community; just see Habitatnews, a nature/environment blog I have maintained since 2004.
  2. The NUS Biodiversity Crew, – this blog has carried the news about the activities, research and reflections of staff and students (your lecturers, supervisors, TAs and more) from the Environmental Biology group of the Department of Biological Sciences. I’ve maintained this since 2008.
  3. Ecotax – – This is a mailing list I started in 1998 which highlights technical seminars mostly held during office hours in NUS and elsewhere as well as job opportunities at labs and various relevant agencies. We have an amazing flow of visitors right at our doorstep and there certainly are more opportunities for biodiversity-related careers these days, than ever before.
  4. WildSingapore News by Ria Tan. – the very interested ones amongst you should already be subscribed to this prolific news service, like I am.

“The Illegal Wildlife Trade, why should we care and what can we do about it?” by Simon Purser (Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre), Wed 23 Nov 2011: 7.00pm @ *SCAPE

Simon Purser of Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue & Education Centre (North Sulawesi) will be in town this week and Eco-Singapore has kindly and very quickly organised a talk by him at *SCAPE (Level 4) in Orchard (map) this Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011: 7.00pm. This is an opportunity to talk a wildlife conservationist on the ground and learn about the reality and strategies of conservation in Indonesia.

Please register for the talk here


The Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre  was one of several rescue centres built across Indonesia to support the law enforcement efforts against the illegal wildlife trade. Fighting off funding failures, Tasikoki survives under the Masarang Foundation with support from overseas volunteers, and groups like Orangutan Outreach ( and Primates Helping Primates.  Simon will share his strategies on achieving self-sustainability and how they intend to achieve acceptable levels of animal welfare through volunteer programmes. 

Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre is looking for volunteer coordinators to assist with a variety of projects they are introducing in the coming months, so this is good chance to learn about how you can participate now or in the future in something meaningful.

Thanks to Nor Lastrina Binte Hamid, the Senior Executive (Community Outreach), from Environmental Challenge Organisation (Singapore) for setting this up.

*SCAPE - Contact Us

“What is that?” Young Jocelyne discovers the National Theatre while Ngan Kee waxes lyrical

I pounced on a postcard with glee! Tucked away for keepsake was this invitation from the National Museum of Singapore for their exhibition last June about the swinging 60’s in Singapore entitled Singapore 1960.

On its cover was the old National Theatre in all her glory. Her tenure was short for the theatre was unceremoniously declared unsafe and demolished in 1986.

19-year old Jocelyne’s response when I showed her the postcard was, “What is that?”

I staggered over to Ngan Kee’s corner for a more nostalgic response and the sight of the postcard (and probably Jocelyne’s wondering face) triggered memories. She remembered being brought there for some Teochew opera no less, as the lampost on a date between her uncle and aunt. And being rained on.

Ngan Kee, Jocelyne, National Theatre

Ng Ngan Kee waxes lyrical National Theatre Jocelyne Sze

While Ngan Kee reminsced, my memories flooded back – they were firmly wrapped up around the sounds of the classical Carnatic violin virtuoso, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan (see this YouTube sample of his performance), whose beautiful performance one night in the 1970’s filled me with untold exhilaration. I remember exclaiming to my father, who had been waiting for us outside the theatre, there after work to fetch us. He was smiling for he was able to catch the tunes where he waited as the loudspeakers had been projecting the melodious tunes.

In order to bring balance to The Force, Ngan Kee then decided to orientate Jocelyne to the landscape of the National Theatre, walking her past the Van Kleef Aquarium to the river. As she compared it with present day Singapore, amusingly enough, she struggled to finish the narrative. No longer familiar with the present day environs of Singapore River, Jocelyne chipped in shakily and then we all sighed.

The well uttered refrain must have been bubbling in our minds, ‘Singapore changes so much’.

Heck, I had just come from Central this morning and I could have sworn it was a market and HDB flats when I was Jocelyne’s age.