Seashore hunter

Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus), along Changi Beach, 16 Oct 2009. I love watching this tuneful, adaptable bird. They were at Changi beach today too, hunting along the tidal margin of the shoreline.

Read about “The ubiquitous Javan Myna” on the Bird Ecology Study Group.


It’s about time we learn about the life of an old resident of Singapore – “Uncommon Tales of a Common Monkey” by Amanda Tan (Fri 04 Oct 2013: 7.30pm @ SBG)

"Uncommon Tales of a Common Monkey"
By Amanda Tan

Friday 04 Oct 2013: 7.30pm – 9.00pm
@ Function Hall, Singapore Botanic Gardens Botany Centre
(near Tangline Gate; map)
Register if you can, at the event page.

About the talk – The Long-tailed Macaque is Southeast Asia’s most common monkey. It is also Singapore’s most prominent native mammal, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Those who have yet to see these iconic animals in our parks and reserves would have read about them in the local papers – snatching food, scaring off children and raiding homes. But how much do we really know about this highly adaptable and intelligent primate? In this talk, primatologist-in-training at NTU Amanda Tan will share some lesser known facts, from what makes Singapore’s macaques unique, to the recent rediscovery of stone tool use by wild macaques in Thailand.

Sat 28 Sep 2013: 1.00pm – Singapore Futures Sustainability Symposium 2013: “The Population White Paper and the Environment”

Students form the Bachelors in Environmental Studies programme at the National University of Singapore have been working on this before semester began. And it’s finally happening this Saturday!

Singapore Futures Sustainability Symposium 2013:
“The Population White Paper and the Environment”

Saturday 28 Sept 2013: 1.00pm – 6.00pm
All are welcome, just register for free.

At the UTown Auditorium 2, Stephen Riady Centre,
National University of Singapore

Find out more at their webpage and register for free here.

“The Population White Paper has brought about much debate on issues like national identity and economic challenges in Singapore. Less discussed are the implications of risks and trade-offs of a larger population and the build-up of urban infrastructure on the living and urban environment.

The inaugural Singapore Futures Sustainability Symposium aims to introduce an environmental dimension to the population-land use debate.”

The TA and the Undergrad

The small class scenarios which Teaching Assistants (TAs) find themselves in with university undergraduates is an opportune situation in university teaching. Instead of large groups, they are in 1:12 – 1:20 ratios.

How do we make the most of it?

I shared some insights with TAs from Engineering and Science, ending with the reminder that trying their best to be effective communicators does as much for TAs as it does for undergrads.

Thanks to the cheery FTTAs Weiting and Amanda who came amidst moving office, ready to be called upon. That did not happen but they were also my canaries – an early warning system if I went astray.

And they captured the white board for me too and wrangled a curry puff. Yes, no slides again, I need a break from power points.

Navigating a slope

Volunteers had to get down an uneven, eroding slope to reach Kranji East mangrove last Saturday, during the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. As they scrambled down the trash-strewn edge of the mangrove with varying ability, I thought of lost natural environments (and lack of adult supervision) which shaped the stability and locomotor abilities of children of the past.

The mild challenges of less sculpted environments and forest patches in my childhood helped shape my mind and outlook. And that prepared me for work on soft and undulating ground as we mapped our mangroves in the late 1980’s. Running between markers wasn’t necessary, it was pure joy.

Driven by their motivation to relieve the mangrove of its burden, Raffles Museum Toddycats, whom I observed throughout the morning, were game for greater difficulties. And they were careful too.

I think we have a core team to tackle Mandai mangrove next, carefully and sensitively, and move that trash out.




Dan Friess on “Biophysical threats to mangroves” @ Singapore Science Centre, Tue 01 Oct 2013

Click for the psychedelic pdf with all the details.

About the talk –

“In this Café, we shall explore the dark, smelly, mosquito-infested mangrove swamps of Southeast Asia. Until recently, such ecosystems were considered wastelands, even though they directly support the livelihoods of millions of people around the world for fish, fuel, shelter and protection from storms and coastal hazards.”

“Despite being one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, they are being lost in Southeast Asia faster than tropical rainforests or coral reefs. We will explore some of the threats to mangroves, the research we are conducting at NUS to understand and manage them, and, the role you can play in protecting this imperilled ecosystem.”

Hmm…who you calling dark and smelly, eh? Imperiled maybe!

Go down and heckle the speaker you might have been lucky enough to last hear at the Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat Workshop 2013. My co-organiser of that invigorating day, Dan is a passionate speaker and usually coherent when not organizing, chairing. speaking and summarizing a day-long workshop.

Take it away, Dan!

Activating the Kranji East mangrove shuttle!

This Saturday morning, I have an enthusiastic group of Independents and Raffles Museum Toddycats who will tackle the trash load at Kranji East Mangrove. Ivan Khong answered once I hit send email and blinked!

Since we have to move the trash load to an accessible point at the main road, we decided to get a pickup truck. Boy was that a relief! We will shuttle trash from the Trash Collection Point to the Trash Disposal Point via a pickup with a four man loading crew.

With an injured ankle and knee,I sure am glad that I have some 150 healthy people with me!


ICCS Kranji East mangrove cleanup on Sat 21 Sep 2013