What do I usually do on a Friday nite at about 7pm? Get ready to catch Happy Hour that's for sure. But it looks like for at least the next 4 Friday's, the routine is going to be a little bit different.
When you can show up (on time if not early) for an evening tutorial on coral reef guiding, at Tanjong Pagar (we offer no less temptations) on a Friday nite, you should already know you're on your way.
14 committed inviduals (tutors excluding) made themselves present at the first tutorial of the year and for the Reef Friend's Explore program at Gill Divers last Friday. For starters, they were going to be dealt some rather unfamiliar yet surely essential details on the social movement and expectations management. While I certainly received a few raised eyebrows and questioning glances, Q&As that ran during and after the class reflected that though new to certain topics, the would-be dive guides certainly knew what they were in for and wanted to find their paths to realisation, but there certainly was a need for some warming up as well. Though it sounds cliche, as a dive guide, being outspoken and being able to ask questions when in doubt or simply to challenge opinions is crucial in the learning process. Equally important, as Jeffrey raised in his part of the tutorial, was knowing when to say "I don't know".
A great deal of homework and an even greater deal of initiative is without question, a requirement. A fundamental aspect of being able to sustain your passion and develop it is to feed yourself the information and constantly if not frequently, expose yourself to the issue/s. You have to keep up to date, you have to know what others are doing, and you have to guess what others might do. It's not different from working the strategy of a business plan, that it another acute aspect to recognise - that though the work is voluntary, it is no less deserving of your commitment than your bread-and-butter commitments. In fact, precisely because it is a volunteer effort, even more so should you appropriately invest in that which you have decided you want to become active in.
Those were the points that I was pressed to deliver within 40 mins.
Jeffrey's part of the tutorial was to introduce coral reef ecology and coral reef conservation at large. Going by the amount of discussions that sparked during the class, this was a topic of keen interest and discovery to the participants. Ideas and opinions were tossed about and new or existing prespectives were put on trial.
Amongst the participants exists a remarkable dynamics of business professionals, scientists, divers, nature enthusiasts, or simple people who wanted to have a part in the effort to save, not just coral reefs, but Singapore reefs.
With such a strong force of nature educators and pioneers of the front in the making, the future to me and all the other tutors, looks only brighter than it has ever been before. This is a necessity, to counter the ever escalating pressures on our environment.
It was truly encouraging and personally motivating to meet all of you again, and also some new faces. I hope you will see how important your role is in the movement to safeguard our natural heritage. Imagine a future that knows no local reefs. It's not very hard to imagine, because already we are surrounded by several who are waiting to be enlightened to the fact.
Good luck and see you soon.