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I love wildlife. And exploring wild places.
Interests: SCUBA diving, trekking, exploring, traveling
Recent Activity
Jan 3, 2013
Gladys added a favorite at Marc Johns
Sep 16, 2012
Gladys added a favorite at Marc Johns
Sep 16, 2012
Why celebrate World Oceans Day? All human beings depend on the sea, even if they live far inland. The oxygen in our atmosphere is largely accounted for by phytoplankton (marine vegetation) that thrive in the ocean. Phytoplankton also forms the base of the food chain, with which all life forms depend upon. THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANKTON The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, and are a critical part of the biosphere. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as from 2009, 8 June would be designated as “World Oceans Day” (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171). The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. WHY ENGAGE IN COASTAL CLEAN UP? Scientists have been using the same sampling methods since the 1970s — and the same kinds of trawling nets, invented by oceanographer Lanna Cheng — to measure the amount of plastic in the ocean. As such, Miriam Goldstein and her colleagues are able to make historical comparisons, and measure increases in plastic density. Plastics which enter, circulate and accumulate in our... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
Infographic via Marc Gunther A good attempt at grasping the subject matter, but the above infographic simplifies the actual situation. Infographic from Ocean Conservancy's 2012 Data release Now we have a better picture. Infographic from Ocean Conservancy's 2012 Data release Or do we? Micro/Nano-sized plastics. We don't see it. But it's there. And it affects marine organisms. (And terrestrial organisms /ht @sivasothi) Ultimately, it affects us as well; it affects our decendents, our blood line. Would you subject your child to a diet of junk food? You CAN help! See past post on the first YRCC and marine litter. Would love to do more? Sign up for coastal cleanup (28 Apr) Individuals without an organisation, fear not! We will open up registrations nearer to the day itself. Stay-tuned to our page! Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
So I attended a TEDxSingapore event last Tuesday (April 3, 2012). I found out about it through Facebook... through my subscription to Nicky Bay's updates (his photography is awesome). I'm often asked how I find out about events, so there. Anyway, it was held at Max Atria - "an innovative "Green" Convention Centre". I even attended the tour to gain further insights to their concept of "Green" (more on this in a separate post). I've always been fond of TED videos and it was a distant dream to be seated among the audience, listening to the speakers live. And thanks to Organisers - Dave Lim and Olivia Choong, and the TEDxSingapore team, my distant dream materialised. I could hardly contain my excitement when I received the event confirmation via email. The theme was "Inspiring Ideas To The Max" and it sought to celebrate our human spirit and potential. Event curators - Anh and Mo on stage "Our innate drive has propelled us to heights of truly amazing and inspiring human endeavours, achievements and imaginations. How will we continue to strive to better ourselves, to maximise our fullest potential as individuals, as a people and as a species? As we look... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
The people in these two decades (almost), have shaped me tremendously. Especially the ones I’ve met in the past five months - they are like the occasionally breeze that comes along in the middle of a hot and humid day; the kind of breeze that picks you up, that caresses your hair as if they’ve known you all your life, that prompts you to stop in your tracks and take in your surroundings… The kind of breeze that reminds you that you are not alone in this world. And that it is easy to ‘neglect’ those around you who doesn’t give a <expletive> about what you believe in, as you pursue your interests, with your goal constantly in mind. I’ve made many more acquaintances in the past five months than throughout my Secondary school and JC life, combined. I’ve got friends I still keep in touch with, since meeting them in Primary school. But I dare say, the strongest friendships were forged during my upper Sec years - and only with a select few. I treasure them. Al - almost all. Lately, I’ve found myself in a whirlwind of activities. I’m happy that I’ve been given the chance to do... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
Gladys added a favorite at Download The Universe
Feb 22, 2012
Gladys is now following Carl Zimmer
Feb 22, 2012
You're too kind with your words. But thank you, Andy!
The first year-round clean up session at Tanah Merah (site 7) took place yesterday! With 34 of us all geared up and raring to go, the team bagged 340kg *302kg (not inclusive of bulky items) worth of trash and marine debris, along the 250 metres stretch of beach, in a span of 90 minutes! A pity I didn't take more photos. But I'm quite sure the others did! Meet the rest of the team! And posing with CNY deco. Also, browse through Siva's post if you haven't already! In which, he explains succinctly why there is a need for year-round clean up (YRCC) sessions and how this very first YRCC at Tanah Merah was more of a trial to assess the preparedness of newly-recruited organisers. A visibly cleaner shore. Well done, friends! Expectedly, plastic bags/packaging made up a large proportion of the trash collected. Drinking straws were also strewn all over the shore, some half-buried in the sand. Plastic debris is the predominant form of litter in almost all census studies of shore litter around the world. Recreational trash or litter from shore-based activities constitutes about 80% of total marine litter. Doesn't it make sense to claim that if we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
Birdfoot’s Grandpa by Joseph Bruchac The old man must have stopped our car two dozen times to climb out and gather into his hands the small toads blinded by our lights and leaping, live drops of rain. The rain was falling, a mist about his white hair and I kept saying you can’t save them all accept it, get back in, we've got places to go. But, leathery hands full of wet brown life knee deep in summer roadside grass, he just smiled and said they have places to go too. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
Gladys is now following Marc Johns
Jan 29, 2012
Add this event to your Google calendar! Add this event to your Google calendar! Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
Here's a post dedicated to Amanda, and BoyBoy (a female actually) after much procrastination, in view of having recently concluded my volunteering stint with her! Amanda's honours project is a baseline study for NParks' Eco-Link project. The Eco-Link project seeks to address biodiversity-related issues by bridging adjacent plots of forests – BTNR and CCNR, which was previously a continuous patch of forest (before it was fragmented in 1986 to make way for development). The construction of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) subjects sensitive landscape areas to edge effect: Abiotic – involve changes in the microclimatic stresses (e.g. increased light, elevated air and soil temperatures, increased nutrient, increased moisture stress) Biotic (direct) – involve changes in vegetation diversity and wildlife implication (e.g. weed abundance, roadkills) Biotic (indirect) – involve changes in species interactions (e.g. predation, parasitism, pollination and seed dispersal) The BKE also effectively bisected arboreal-terrestrial forest communities, resulting in species isolation (which may promote inbreeding, reducing the fitness and hence survival of a species). Driven by the 5 strategies listed in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), "... NParks will be developing an Eco-Link across the BKE, in the form of an overhead bridge to connect the Bukit... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
In the video, Ric O'Barry reveals the living conditions of cetaceans in Taiji's aquarium and mentions the hypocrisy behind the Japanese whaling administration. From the 'Channel Info': @RichardOBarry is the director of, a campaign conducted by the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute. was formed to put an end to the Japanese drive fishery slaughter of dolphins and stop the capture and live trade of dolphins to zoos and aquariums around the world. The work of Ric and the Dolphin Project team was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove as well as in Animal Planet Channel's Blood Dolphin$ series with @LincolnOBarry. Save Japan Dolphins is active in creating worldwide pressure against the Japanese dolphin slaughter, generating petitions with more than 2 million signatures from 151 countries. The team is also involved in investigations and monitoring at the Cove and in exposing the toxic mercury in Japanese dolphin meat products. Is the act of domesticating and conditioning wildlife still relevant today? Possibly, though most animals generally do not fare well in captivity. (More on the zoo debate) Also, zoos and aquariums often assert captive breeding and re-introduction as a conservation strategy. But is it, really? The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2012 at Through The Backyards;
December has been quite exciting. When I first indicated my interest as a field assistant for NUS Honours students with their final year project, I didn’t know what to expect, or if I were up to the task. I only formally knew what I had to do when the undergrads. themselves contacted me through email; after all, the projects they were embarking on were different and the fieldwork itself had varying degrees of demand and intensity. And since I didn’t have any vacation plans, and had nothing substantial enough in my Google calendar to regard as “Important”, I filled in multiple Google forms and signed myself up for a month of fieldwork! The first undergrad. I tagged along with assisted is currently doing a study on Sus scrofa, the Eurasian wild pig. I’ve seen them only at Chek Jawa. (Excuse the quality, it was really dark and the photo was taken using an iPhone.) Over the course of 4 sessions (minus 3, because the weather forecast is not exactly accurate), we covered Bukit Batok Hillside Park (more of a recce trip), CCNR (Woodcutter’s trail) and explored the Kent Ridge forest patch (beside Science Park II and along South Buona Vista... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2011 at Through The Backyards;
Gladys is now following the budak
Oct 30, 2011
"Wake up." - E. O. Wilson Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action No matter how far innovators stretch themselves, they probably won’t ever fully match Mother Nature’s grand, often deceptively simple, designs. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find inspiration in her globe-spanning oeuvre when looking to solve some engineering hang-ups, as Janine Benyus’ lecture wondrously demonstrates. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2011 at Through The Backyards;
A pity I wasn't there in person, though... But I'm really grateful for the advent of technology! Yay. I attended the symposium virtually, via twitter - the micro-blogging platform. Ivan Kwan (@VaranusSalvator) and David Tan (@g33k5p34k) were live-tweeting the event. Thank you both so much! All tweets were tagged with #biodsg3 , so do check them out if you have time to spare! They're definitely worth the read. Alternatively, you could keep a lookout for a blog post (on Ivan's blog) pertaining to BoSS III as he'll be collating the tweets. ----- "The Next Generation" The half-day symposium consisted of talks and viewing of poster exhibits. It started off in a light-hearted manner with Sivasothi N. reassuring the attendees that the caterer was NParks-approved (and thus, green), before diving in to address pertinent issues such as "ignorance and nature deficiency among youths, who are oblivious and unaware of local biodiversity". "When we take students to Bukit Timah, and we ask who's ever been here, it's the exchange student who raises his hand." - Sivasothi N. D: LOCAL STUDENTS, Y U NO EMBRACE NATURE? While I agree in part, we should also understand that the syllabus set by MOE does not... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2011 at Through The Backyards;
... biodiversity! Taken during a school field trip to bollywoodveggies. Did you know? Singapore is a city-state with a land area of about 710 km2 and the total protected forest cover is ~3% of land area. Some of Singapore’s key indigenous ecosystems include lowland Dipterocarp forest, mangroves, freshwater swamp forest, seagrass beds, mudflats, coral reefs Singapore has established 4 Nature Reserves spanning ~33.26 km2 (i.e. Bukit Timah, Central Catchment, Labrador, Sungei Buloh) which are legally protected under the Trees and Parks Act (2005). Strategic location within the Malesian region and favourable climate account for the rich diversity of flora and fauna found in its varied ecosystems. >880ha of coral reefs have been mapped within Singapore’s national boundary. ~62 species of mammals, ~43 amphibians, ~33 freshwater fish, >200 hard corals, >800 marine fish, >550 molluscs, >450 crustaceans, >68 echinoderms and >31 sea fans and whips have been recorded. (Marine sponges and ascidians are known to have significant diversity, but are at present poorly studied.) >400 bird species (about 167 breeding residents) of which about 73 are presumed extirpated since 1819 79 are considered locally threatened 2,282 native plant species of which 25.6% are thought to have been locally extinct since 1819.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2011 at Through The Backyards;
We fought through a patch of mangroves to get there. :o (Haha jk, it's not that bad.) In fact, I was lucky enough to march through the swarms of mosquitoes, unscathed. Not a single mozzie bite and I didn't apply repellent (another reason to wear longs to such trips). Vast meadow of seagrass! More about P.Semakau. View of refineries from where we stood. Pretty. Prettier if the landscape had folds of mountains instead though. Swimming crab. Almost stepped (but didn't) on this little fella' while returning to the start point, along the transect line. Sean got a fright when I made a sudden noise (I hope it wasn't a scream >_>), thinking that it was a stonefish that alarmed me, but it turned out to be a swimming crab and he got a little disappointed (or so it seemed). Blue jorunna sponge, Neopetrosia sp. A bivalve. Favid coral and a cute little hairy crab. More affectionately known as "teddy-bear crab". Maretia heart urchin skeleton, Maretia ovata Indentations on the upperside of the skeleton shows where tube feet emerge. More Noble volutes, Cymbiola nobilis They were previously abundant but is now considered vulnerable due loss of habitat, overcollection for food and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2011 at Through The Backyards;
Greetings, lost friend. If you look closely, you'll see that it's grasping on a stalk of grass. :D :D So cute amiright. Back where you belong, hurray! Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2010 at Through The Backyards;
[Disclaimer: All photos taken underwater do not belong to me, but instead, Karen Elizabeth Savins, my instructor's wife and my dive buddy!] Recently, I signed up for an Open Water Diver (PADI) course under Freestyle Divers (edit: my instructor went solo!) I wanted a getaway (It was after mid-year exams anyway!) so I brought up SCUBA diving to my mother. It was on impulse and yes, the announcement took her by surprise. It all happened too fast. Basically, I did my theory on a Tuesday evening, pool session the next evening and went on a 3-day 2-night trip on Friday (within the same week!). We left the jetty at Republic Of Singapore Yacht Club at approximately 6.45pm and scheduled to arrive at our destination, which was somewhere in the open sea (I don't have the coordinates!) in Tioman, Malaysia, in the wee hours the following day. 8AM: Everyone onboard was thrilled to finally embark on their first dive of the trip. I guess that adrenaline rush never ceases huh? Hold on to your mask, regulator & weights. Alright, leap! First group down! We're up next! I jumped off the platform, surprisingly without hesitation. So this rock has a name. It's... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2010 at Through The Backyards;
Gladys is now following The Typepad Team
Jul 16, 2010