Cat on my stomach (lucky it’s ample)

I like the way Mr Bats drops in on my stomach for a pre-dinner chat. Thankfully it’s ample so it’s like sitting on a cushion. Despite the need to hammer the keyboard, I embrace the moment.

Mr Bats was born in Dec 2003 (estim.) so he’s nine years old now. He originates from Geylang Bahru and escaped the hysterical roundup and killing of cats during SARS thanks to Cat Welfare Society.

He’s the most emotional cat of the three boys and likes to snuggle up the most, so I can’t be overseas too long at any one time without worrying about him. What a dog!

Durian at Pulau Ubin, yum-yum!

A couple of Sundays ago, I found myself eating durians during a ride at Pulau Ubin.

Zendogs were on a ride to welcome Leong Wai back on her brief visit to Singapore. It was a nice addition to the day which had three makan sessions for Wai to sample a diversity of local fare.

I can’t say I am a hardcore durian fan, unlike Ladybug who once forced her Pedal Ubin ride participants to follow her on a hunt in the bush for durian fruit. Bit the fruit does impress me, especialy the slightly bitter ones. And any fruit we pick off the ground is especially lovely!

Ladybug wasn’t on this ride so this photo is for her to see, yum-yum!

2013-01-13 11.35.28

Thanks to Kai Meng for finding the fruit, opening it with the new Alien tool Alvin gave me, and Kenneth Pinto for the photos!

Photos from the ride:

Dengue cases exceed 2010-2012 peak: take precautions!

Checking for Dengue clusters in Singapore is a routine exercise when semester begins. As we begin to take students to the field, this is one of the many thing we have to check. Urban areas pose a higher threat than normal during outbreaks while the forest is relatively safe!

We replenish insect repellent stocks and warn students if need be. It’s part of urban living in Singapore, but when dengue case numbers begin to rise, its important to re-emphasise precautions.

Right now, the number of cases reported on the Singapore government’s Dengue Webpage at is higher than it has ever been since 2010. So its time to pay extra attention once again.

iPhone app Denguelah is one of my essential field trip apps. It has a handy map and location data from NEA and you can set alerts for areas you frequent and your immediate vicinity.

My alerts are set for areas we need to bypass on the way to the field – including NUS. If you have used Weatherlah, its much the same. But I still check as well. With a smart phone, all this is very easy to do now.

My research students should know all of this but I’ll check that they are alert. It’d be hell for them to be writing their thesis whilst having dengue!

Fixing missing Skitch images

When Evernote took over Skitch, they nuked our private images – even if used in blog posts. So I will be seeing missing images in my 10 blogs. This means looking for relevant images in the local drives of any of the macs from which I uploaded Skitch images with whilst blogging. Bah!

Cycling in Singapore: Rent a bicycle and ride along Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon (North-Eastern Riverine Loop)
This has been fixed

Once I find the image, I use Skitch 1.0.12 to open it and share on Flickr, then grab the html to reinsert in the blog post. I use MarsEdit for my blog so its not too painful.

I’m not the only upset user – TUAW took Skitch to task. A Skitch founder eventually expressed remorse for trashing legacy users who had ingrained its use in their workflows. And it was promised that Skitch 2.0 would attract legacy users back.

What would have best for users was to leave a good thing alone, we’d easily have paid. But this is the problem about embracing any beta tool for some long running project. If successful and developers move on, you could be left with just a sinking feeling.

Flickr, on the other hand, has been criticised for lack of innovation. But we know this tool well and it might just outlast others to be the lasting repository for images! I’ve paid up for Flickr Pro for many years now and have been happy.

Posterous saw a similar tale. Posterous sold out to Twitter and late last year, seemed to be going to seed.

Alrighty, on that note, I’d better migrate Zendogs 2 to WordPress. Thankfully with an import tool, this should be easy. Watch out for

Pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Portal

National Library Board (NLB) asked is I would pledge the Cycling in Singapore blog to the Singapore Memory Project (SMP). They are tying to “collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.”

So you needn’t rewrite your blog posts or resubmit them to SMP, they will figure out how to extract relevant content. The definitions are vague so they rather err on the side of caution.

It’s al explained here:

My friend Ivan Chew had told me in December last year to please pledge as many of your blogs as I could, so just now I submitted these, which I manage:

  1. Cycling in Singapore (with Chu Wa and Paul Barter) –
  2. Habitatnews –
  3. Otterman speaks… –
  4. News from the International Coastal Cleanup Sinapore –
  5. Raffles Museum Toddycats! –
  6. The Biodiversity Crew –
  7. The Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium –
  8. Aboard the Swedish Ship, Götheborg –
  9. Mac Meetup Singapore –
  10. The Biology Refugia (with Brandon Seah) –

Okay job done!

They had explained,

“The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.”

If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, you can fill up their response form here:

Holy cow! The 2030 Central Line cuts through the forest!

Although my note about the Land Transport Authority’s announcement about new MRT lines last week was dispassionate, I was really breathless.

Why? Well, their plans included a 50km east-west line which right through the forest, and obvious even in the smallest map! Alert friends saw the blog post on Facebook and asked the same question.

This was an area we thought was inviolate, a nature reserve.

I thought. oh, surely this was not what it seemed to be. I asked a few people and then was away cycling in KL. Back home, no one knew anything, so we’ll just have to ask LTA. Perhaps they are so experienced with underground drilling that the concerns we have will be all explained away.

Without biologists on their team or an EIA, though, I’ll still have questions.

Meanwhile, I thought I should explain to others what I was concerned about. So I revived Habitatnews and illustrated, with the help of a few maps, that “LTA’s proposed Cross Island Line (CRL) cuts through the Central Catchment Forest Reserve”.

The red indicates the path of CRL through CCNR,
derived from singeo’s overlay of the LTA map on Google Earth

Ladybug saw the map I was preparing and said in disbelief, “no lah, they are going around, this is just a concept”.

One hopes indeed.

Direct link to the large map here.

Cycling in KL with OCBC Cycle Malaysia!

I’m heading to KL this morning with fellow Zendog Kevin Lim, at the invitation of OCBC Singapore to ride The Challenge in OCBC Cycle Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. I used to know these streets well, in the 90’s and will be glad to revisit on a bicycle!

It is the second time the event has been held there, and with the mayor’s support, streets are closed long enough for us to get great view of the city.

OCBC CYcle Malaysia: The Challenge

We will bus up in the morning and the deluge that has unleashed will mean the bicycles will be well washed! So I better bring lube and a cloth to prevent creaky chains.

We’ll be in KL by 2pm after a lunch stop and will be looking forward to watch The Criterium, where pros will whizz away on 1.7km circuit.

Registration for next year is already open, and I’d love to make this an annual pilgrimage to rub shoulders with Malaysians discovering the joy of cycling on open roads!