| Part 2 | Jungle Camp Cook Sutari shares tips
Just like Nature, that meeting of needs was the start of a symbiotic,
mutually rewarding and enduring relationship. Dr Ho Hua Chew, Lim
Kim Keang, Lim Kim Seng and Subaraj took me under their wing.' I ended
up being their guide... and camp cook.
Today, after countless field trips both near and far, Sutari counts
these birding veterans among his best buddies. From them he learned
to recognise birds, their calls, their life cycle, habits and habitat.
And, as he learned about birds, the hitherto heedless adventurer began
to see Nature in quite a different light.
It dawned on him, as he saw the loggers and developers decimate the
forests and fill in the wetlands, that the birdsindeed all creatures
and tribal peopleswere losing their homes and facing extinction.
It hit home most painfully right in Singapore as he saw the nature
places of his scouting days disappear, one by one. The heedless adventurer
had finally turned ardent conservationist.
Who knows: as bird species disappear, we may have to rely on the cassette
tapes that Sutari has been making of bird calls. Or only admire the
beauty of the White-bellied Woodpecker, Beach Thick-knee, Malaysian
Plover, Great-billed Heron and Ruddy Kingfisher in the realistic drawings
of birds Sutari the artist has rendered. He is also resident artist
of the Singapore AVIFAUNA newsletter of the NSS Bird Group.
But the feather in the cap of this adventurer-turned-conservationist
has to be the bird book he worked on for 13 months with Clive Briffett
Sutari beams as he shows the book, The Birds of Singapore he
illustrated and shares top billing as co-author!
Another feather in his capand this time he shares the credits
with Dr Ho Hua Chewis their discovery of the Plain-pouched
Hornbill colony in Upper Perak, close to the border it shares
with Thailand. The pair had gone up to this untouched rainforest to
verify a report that this rare hornbill had a colony there. Naturally
they were thrilled to confirm the sighting and have written a report
on it. (This tract of dense jungle had been untouched only because
it was a communist hideout and the curfew had been lifted only 10
Sutari is eager
to talk about his relatively new other passion. From looking down
to see where to put his feet as he hikes up a steep cliff-face to
peering into tree tops in search of some rare bird, the unstoppable
Sutari is nowadays often seen looking heavenwardsinto the night
sky, seeing stars. So keen is Sutari on astronomy that four years
ago, he helped three other members of The Astronomical Society of
Singapore (of which he has been a member since 1992) build a 40.6
cm handmade DobsonianMalaysia's largest telescope four years
ago... He had put his draughtsmanship to new use and he and his team
were warmly congratulated by the Director-General of Malaysia's Space
Science Studies Division.
Champions of the 1994 Fraser's
Hill Bird Race, Sutari flanked by
team-mates Shamla and Subaraj
Sutari with his gang of
birdwatchers in Upper Pierce
Sutari's bird illustrations for
"Birds of Singapore"
a book with co-author
and friend Clive Briffett
Sutari, with reverence,
counting the number of
Photo by Jimmy Chew
With friends by their homemade
40.6 cm Dobsonian
A passion for the stars is not so strange. Many a nature lover, having found
fun, joy, peace and kinship as they explore forests and rivers, wetlands
and oceans in the light of day, would when night falls, invariably turn
their eyes towards a sky full of stars unobscured by city smog and lights.
And they beginlike Sutarito wonder and ponder if our kinship
with all of Nature begins and ends with the Stars.
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