We need unmanaged outdoor spaces to stave off namby-pambiness

We need outdoor spaces children and adults alike can access. To use and to learn to look after ourselves. Without plaintive bleats about someone else being responsible for us. Google for advise, consult your outdoorsy friends and get to it.

Rediscover yourself and nature. Children will be calmer, learn more and we adults will be less disgruntled and happier. I am convinced it helps me maintain my sanity!

It’s not to late to stave off namby pambiness!

This is all the more important as we get more urbanised. We hot house ourselves indoors staring at device screens and become self-centred. And then demand for sterilised neighbourhoods.

It’s not a Uniquely Singapore problem of course.

George Monbiot realised “Children aren’t feral enough,” having just rock-pooled with 10-year-old Londoners for a week in Wales. He thinks it was worth three months in a classroom.

In LSM1103 Biodiversity at the National University of Singapore, the team of TAs, admin and lab staff realise students cannot live by specimens and pictures alone. So we go to great pains to give them a baptism every year at Changi Beach.

Beach seine

We managed to expose 500+ undergraduates to the beach for a mere two hours every year. Still, we feel fairly pleased with ourselves for accomplishing this much within the module’s 2.00pm – 6.00pm time slot.

And this is happening because everyone involved feels it is important.

There are occasional glimmers of theoretical thoughts by people who look at numbers of some sort. And thoughts of shutting this down have been entertained. I stay hyper-alert to extinguish those – stamp, stamp, stamp!

More importantly, how do we increase the frequency of this sort of experience in our modules?

NUS to CHangi
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