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Tue 23 Aug 2005

Joseph waxes lyrical about Durians

Category : articles

"Durian seasons come and go. Whenever it knocks on our door, it comes like the proverbial Call of the Wild. Many amongst us answer it with unerring spontaneity. We go trooping off to the forested areas of Mandai, Upper Thomson and Rifle Range Road just to hunt for that prized local durian.

Never mind the early hours of dawn, the bees and the snakes, etc. No undergrowth is too thick either. There is so much fun and energy involved, and of course, there is the Law of the Jungle to boot. "

"All too often, you get to hear stories of squabbles and scuffles between two contentious parties. Imagine having the ill-luck to stumble upon each other and that darling Desiree on the ground at the same time? The prospect of a love-triangle becoming messy is almost certain. As one man found out the painful way, it is quite a 'thorny' affair to have durians hurled at you..."

"Alfred Russel Wallace, the great naturalist, professed in 1869 that 'to eat Durians is a new sensation, worth a voyage to the East to experience'."

Read "A Durian named Desiree." By Joseph Lai, 23 August 2005.

Posted at 10:02AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 23 Aug 2005

26 Aug 2005 - Ho Choon Hiong's "Moving Gods" screening at NUS

Category : events

Raffles Museum Volunteers (Toddycats!)
are proud to present:

A film by Ho Choon Hiong
With a Q&A session with the director.

Date: Friday, 26 August 2005
Time: 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Venue: NUS Lecture Theatre 25

See map.

About the film - A mysterious Taoist Shrine dedicated to a German Girl exists on Pulau Ubin. Once tendered to by the Boyanese, it now attracts gamblers and fortune seekers from all over Asia.

Legend has it that British soldiers arrived to intern a German plantation-owner and his family after war broke out in Europe (WWI). The unfortunate German girl fled her home and fell to her death in the dark. Her remains were interred by locals and a Taoist shrine dedicated to the girl can still be found on Pulau Ubin today.

Director Ho Choon Hiong was drawn to this story during a personal journey through Ubin. He tried to trace the origin of the myth and later directed "MOVING GODS", a feature TV Drama adapted from Lim Jen Erh's play of the same name,

Raffles Museum volunteers watched a recent screening of "Moving Gods" by Mediacorp Arts Central. We loved the story, the mystery, the missing pieces of the puzzle, the typical and interesting images of Ubin, references to heritage conservation, souless beauracratic mentality, and elements of the netherworld. Thus we decided to seek permission to screen it in NUS.

The movie poses intriguing questions - discuss this with the director!

Toddycats! are volunteers of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. They manage Pulau Ubin Stories, a blog project to report and archive heritage information about Pulau Ubin and Pedal Ubin!, and outreach project that introduces visitors to the geography, natural history and legends of Pulau Ubin on bicycle!

Posted at 2:45AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 23 Aug 2005

Johor - "Galloping to seahorse rescue"

Category : malaysia

"Galloping to seahorse rescue." The New Straits Times, 22 Aug 2005.

Johor Baru, Sun - The Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is willing to work with a group of conservationists to save a seagrass bed at Tanjung Kupang which is a habitat of seahorses.

The eight-hectare area is located within the port waters on the eastern side of the Pulai estuary, a place that is earmarked for development.

PTP has asked the Save Our Seahorses (SOS) Action Committee to submit a proposal on ways to protect the area, which is also a feeding ground for sea cows and storks.

SOS consultant marine biologist Choo Chee Kuang, a pioneer researcher on the seahorse population in Johor, said the seagrass bed -- the largest in the country -- should be regarded as a national heritage.

"As a breeding area rich in marine life, it provides an important source of livelihood for the coastal fishing community. Re-planting a seagrass bed of this size may cost close to RM3 million," Choo said. He added that the seagrass bed also helped prevent coastal erosion.

A survey conducted by him indicated only about 400 seahorses left in the Pulai estuary.

Choo was speaking to reporters at Kampung Melayu Arang after a media trip organised by SOS. Present were Malaysian Nature Society chairman Lim Teong Kheng, PTP deputy chief executive Capt Ismail Hashim and Kg Melayu Arang village security and development chairman Mohd Ali Sarno.

Ismail said PTP would have to study the proposal by SOS, adding it was supportive of the group's cause.

But he said other development was also coming up in the area, hence any action taken would have to be in line with the State Government's initiatives.

Mohd Ali claimed fishermen had reported a 50 per cent drop in catches since the area was developed six years ago.

See related news articles at the Save our Seahorses webpage.

Posted at 2:34AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news