The “See Dugong” team had a great outing and a fruitful session, surviving the heat and talking to the crowds non-stop but we were supported and revived by the company of our peers in the many booths at Envirofest’08 and the ice cream!
And it was all thanks to Wen Hua and her team from Kolam Ayer Youth Executive Committee!
For a list of blog posts and photos from Envirofest’08, see Habitatnews.
Now for some observations off the top of my head:
- Everything we displayed and talked about was news to the heartlanders, so it was very exciting to be able to share our stories. Hmm..wait a minute! Don’t we get the same reaction from undergraduates when we exhibit in NUS?
- The “See Dugong!” mascot is a head turner – as I carried it from the carpark to the booth, heads turned in our direction and mouths were agape. We should do this as one-man mobile teams in the heartlands. But we’d probably be mistaken for snakeoil salesmen and end up creating a demand, uh-oh!
- Several old men come up to ask if the snake in the bottles are tonics for sale. Sorry, ah uncle, they are in poisoned industrial alcohol and we hope to keep them for centuries – in a museum!
- At least no one tried to pick up any of the Toddycats. Can’t say the same of ahem, some other volunteer at another booth!
- Louis of ACRES reminded me not to dismiss market vendors – he has seen captive animals even in the past year, including snakes, in the ‘performances’. Take a closer look, he urged. And call the authorities. The guy in Toa Payoh was harmless though (yes he was scrutinised).
- I missed the videos that we all contributed to Vegetarian Society who had the giant television at Tampines in 2005 and Envirofest’06. Hey where were they this year?
- An LCD screen might have been helpful in pointing out webpage resources like organisation sites and event listings – Debby of Hantu Bloggers did pick up a wireless signal on her MacBook and used it to show her website.
- We could screen some of the videos we participated in to highlight Singapore’s nature and green issues. We did that successfully in Museum Fest 2002. It would also give the guides a respite from talking non-stop.
- I miss the activities we created for Envirofest’06 – again also respite from talking non-stop. The audience loves to be challenged so we must revive that. Got to find that white board though, its gone MIA!
- Our posters were felled by the wind multiple times and their corners were well beaten up. Adds to a rustic look and muses the public, but its nice not to have to pick them up yet again!
- It was really, really hot that weekend, thanks goodness for water Hamsa bought and the nearby supply of ice-cream! I think we were lucky, though; the other wing was warmer and experienced little wind!
- The Sunday 1pm – 5pm shift was the quietest time of the two days according to Hamsa, the See Dugongs Project Manager who ran shop the entire stretch.
- Luckily we had three shifts with enough people per session – even then voices were frayed after some time. And it was nice to see the fresh voices belt it out at the beginning of their shifts!
- Never ever believe we’ll keep specimens overnight at any location – we always chicken out. Sure enough we packed up and brought all the specimens back to the museum for safekeeping for the night.
- Its amazing how much we can stuff into a single car or taxi, A-frames and all. And nice taxi drivers make it all pleasant!
- Our A-frames fell apart even as we brought them back to the museum! Maybe the mechanical engineer Toddycats can try fixing them up for the umpteemth time. But seriously folks, we need something sturdier!
- The ice cream man next to our booth dealt us much larger ice-cream bricks than his miserly competitor – we discovered as much on Sunday evening, hmph! Thankfully most of our business had been given to the generous ice-cream man.
- Besides ice-cream for Toddyats, I finally bought the vertebrate book from NSS and a t-shirt from Cat Welfare Society. The rest of my cash went to a donation appeal by some persistent, humourless kid.
- My cycling gear was quite the hit when I returned on Saturday afternoon. This crowd is certainly very appreciative of the green transport mode I had adopted that sunny day. It was very encouraging!
- What did I do while Toddycats toiled? Why catch up and plot of course! Exhibitions of this nature have always been the best time to network and plan, and Envirofest itself was the main topic of discussions that I had with various other groups.
- Unable to cope with numerous festivals and exhibition requests, I would like at least one major predictable festival that the community can plan, prepare for and collaborate on. And collectively offer activities to the public in the weeks after Envirofest. Everyone I talked to was game, so Wenhua, call for a post-Envirofest debrief!
- I received comfirmation from Waterways Watch Society about lowered water levels in Kallang for the coastal cleanup; so its on! Sure beats email.
- Stella (manpower) scheduled my interviews with new volunteers at Envirofest’08. I suggested to NParks they arrange for poster-pickup during Envirofest as well. We’re there for two days, may as well schedule in meetings.
- I was encouraged by the passion, patience and dedication the Toddycats displayed as they informed and educated the public at Envirofest’08; well done y’all!
The enthusiastic crew at Envirofest:
- Saturday, 11-2pm: Xiuli, Kenneth, Yin Fong, Mangai, Marcus, Dewi, Dongrong & Hamsa.
- Saturday, 2-5pm: Xiuli, Cedric, Yin Fong, Anand, Hamsa.
- Saturday, 5-8pm: Janice, Oiyee, Andy Dinesh, Hamsa.
- Sunday, 11-2pm: Kenneth, Ya Wen, Alan, Hamsa.
- Sunday, 2-5pm: Xiuli, Ya Wen, Ying Fong, Alan, Kaixin, Chee Kong, Hamsa.
- Sunday, 5-8pm: Anand, Xiuli, Yin Fong, Joelle, Hamsa.
– N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman