From Singapore with Love: Wildlife protection and an alternative to the desperate poisoning of dogs in the Himalaya

Otterman speaks...

Poisoning dogs with rat poison and drowning puppies? The desperate action by Himalayan communities to protect their livestock from dog attacks speaks of another tragedy – attacks on wildlife by dogs and secondary poisoning of wildlife from poisoned dog carcasses.

Sterilisation is a sustainable, and ecologically-sensitive plan of action

So we’re sending some love from Singapore once again via the Himalayan Mutt Project to offer a kinder and and more effective alternative – sterilisation. Chip in to help Debby with her fund-raising efforts at Pozible.

Debby Ng has a been a passionate environmentalist all her life and even as a young teen, took action by writing to the forum page of the Straits Times. After her first dive at Pulau Hantu in 2003, she determinedly chipped away at a keyboard to start blogging, and today The Hantu Blog has matured into a community which has contributed significantly to awareness…

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Hello 2015

“I should start writing” this was what popped up at moments when you were most unguarded, maybe drinking a cup of coffee, waiting for the bus or just walking along a tree-lined path.

“You should start blogging!” said some of my friends.

Things I should do.

1. First publish a quick post – (yes done)

2. Write about the Pandan mangrove cleanup 2014.

3. I’ve been kayaking since my surgery, yes that is worth writing too.

4. I’ve not left field work behind – still doing floral surveys at Gardens by the Bay.

Ok first and quick post now and will come back to visit this very soon.

Need more voices on the Macritchie CRL Line

This is a very important matter which I must write about. I certainly have not felt this way since I heard the announcement about Chek Jawa’s impending reclamation in 2001 (that story turned out to have a good ending, let’s hope this will be too).


This is actually an issue very close to my heart as an educator, a biologist and a Singaporean. This concerns the proposed Cross Island Line. A couple of months ago, LTA proposed a Cross Island Line cutting across the Macritchie rain forest. 


The statement was that there will low impact as they will be drilling underground. However, even with my very limited knowledge of ecology, I immediately saw that there will be disturbance in hydrology, soil compaction, and of course disturbance of species. Just look at the map below posted by Siva. The line cuts through good forest. Underground or not, a major project like a MRT line definitely will impact the environment. 

I just one have question – Is it really necessary for the line to cut through our forest reserve? Especially at this point in time where our decision makers have acknowledged that the population projection of 6.9 million is not a target

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Of course, many people immediately responded.   

Siva wrote a very nice summary of the development of this issue, “Our MacRitchie forest – a place to love and a place to keep, now and for our future”

My colleague and veteran biology teacher, Tan Beng Chiak, set up a Chope for Nature Blog. Good resource for Educators and also for anyone who want to understand the issue further. 


We are now frantically educating the public. Many old guards, knowing the severity of the matter, have offered their time and wisdom to educate the young ones on the value of the forest. Chloe Tan, now does a very good job rallying in rallying volunteers, setting up this Love our MacRitchie Blog, and doing public education. Do visit the blog often to learn about our coming walks!

I certainly hope that this creates enough impact.


The forest is valuable in many ways. First and foremost, it is the last remnant of good forest which houses an unique and irreplaceable array of forest habitats. 


Once you alter it, you are changing a unique ecosystem that was established over hundreds of years. 

This is a decision that should not be made by some, we all have a stake in this, the collective voice of everyone should be heard.

I am sure this collective voice says “No”. 

SAF Day 1 July 2013

Today I had to put on my green uniform and recite the SAF pledge in front of the school. This is a novel experience, standing in front of a hall of school kids and reciting the SAF pledge. I was glad that the 9 of us managed to complete the whole process in a dignified manner.

I am very proud of my SAF experience, nothing earth shaking there but it is personal testament of my growth as a person. I must say that I will be a different person today if not for my army experience. I certainly felt self conscious for I do not want to draw unwanted attention to myself, but I found myself gladly explaining to my colleagues about the new uniform and what I do now in reservist.

Had dinner today with Siva and Adrian after a good walk in the forest. We ended up sharing about our days in the army. I am glad I still go back to serve. I have a couple of years more, but I look forward to each reservist stint. For many reasons, one get to catch up with old friends, the rich conversations you have with people not in your line of work, and of course putting on the uniform allows you to be in touch again with your training. As with all the things we learnt, one needs to be current.

Does going to reservist take time away from my work? It certainly does. Does it disrupt my normal routine? Maybe. Should I do it? Of course! No need any profound reason, no need for special compensation, just doing my part as a Singaporean.


What I wrote so far, going to post it before 2011 ends



One cannot say you fired up the computer anymore. Macs now are so fast that the moment you lift the lid, the screen is there waiting for you, with all the apps you last opened still there. Gone where the days where you sit down and ponder about life while waiting for the progress bar to finish loading and you can still hear the hum and the click of the CPU in the background; and get worried when the clicking gets loud.

I was reading George Clooney’s interview on Equire, one of the preview articles you get for free on the iPad. You really consume a lot of information nowadays from everyone. While I was reading the article, I was thinking to myself, I liked how the words seemed to flow so nicely and how neatly they are arranged. You can almost hear him utter these words in front of you. That is when I realised I should start writing the blog post I have been putting aside for months. Otterman and Adrian has been hitting the lethal combination of Marsedit and Flickr and I better get started before the inertia gets larger.

Notable things to talk about and mention for 2011.

1. My mother: Hope you had gone to some place better and thank you for all you have done. Things will be different but will learn to adjust.

2. Sungei Buloh Anniversary Walk: Finally had the chance to join the group, and it was really fun to share the beauty of the place with an appreciative audience. The usual suspects were spotted, mudskipper, crab, dog faced water snake and crocodile!

3. Penang and Durian Coffee: Finally found time to squeeze a short trip. It was great just to walk around and soak in the sights and taste the great food.

4. The intern: Not mine but was glad how things will turn out.

5. Overseas Service-Learning Trip to Cebu: As with all trips, I learnt again abit of myself and was humbled by the amazing people who dedicated their lives making the lives of others better.

6. The full lunar eclipse: beautiful and magnificent sight.

7. Greeting cards from overseas: simple gesture but touching and brings a smile always.

8. I actually won a photo competition!

9. Books I read: Life Ascending, the ideas suggested makes me want to rewrite all the notes I did for the students.

10. Movies worth mentioning. Invictus.

11. Coffee Mugs – I broke 2 bodum coffee mugs and got back 2


Ok shall post this before I go for the wedding photo assignment. Shall come back with photos and more stuff.


A quick update

Its been almost 4 weeks since she passed away. It was a peaceful departure in the end and I am glad that the suffering has ended.

Was very touched by the concern and well wishes from friends, colleagues, and even neighbors who happened to walk by. The 5 days passed so quickly and before one knows it, one is back to work.

The human mind is pretty resilient and thankfully I can kind of get back into the new routine without much difficulty.

Steve Jobs passed away on 5 Oct 2011. Another life taken away by cancer.