Category Archives: events

Showing our love for the environment @ NUS PEACE Animal Day 2019

The NUS Toddycats roadshow team was back at NUS UTown SRC again on Wed 20 Feb 2019, at the invitation of NUS PEACE which includes the various projects, NUS Cat Cafe, NUS Paw Friends (feat Mutts & Mittens), NUS Therapy Dogs and VEGE team.

The NUS Toddycats booth, all ready to welcome guests with our museum specimens, photo props and friendly guides, Lixin and Wan Wen.

The museum specimens, together with the stories allowed the audience to better understand how plastics that we use in our daily lives can be such a big threat to our marine wildlife. After listening to the plight of our marine environment and marine life, many were game to do take a pledge, a small step to making a difference to the environment.

This awesome exchange student already attended a Sembawang Beach coastal cleanup and asked how to contribute MORE!
We love reading all the pledges penned down by the public, including these, by the NUS Pawfriends and Mutts& Mittens team!
We hope that every one will try to complete ALL
the pledge items, just like this role model!

We had a blast talking to everyone who stopped by, and were glad for the many who penned a pledge to demonstrate their love for nature and the environment in Singapore.

Thanks to NUS PEACE for the great experience amidst many passionate and active volunteers who were busy raising awareness for animal welfare, animal shelters and promoting a cruelty-free diet. And our furry friends who visited with us. Well done NUS PEACE!

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The Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk 2019

Sat 9th Feb 2019 – some 70 members of the public with a special passion for heritage gathered before dawn to commemorate the Battle of Pasir Panjang. Fought through the ridge 77 years ago, it would be the last two days before Singapore fell on 15th Feb 2019.

We traced the steps of the Malay Regiment as they held off the Imperial Japanese Army, and then were forced into a desperate and retreating battle. We began, as they did, at the junction of Ayer Rajah Road and Reformatory Road – what is today Ayer Rajah Expressway and Clementi Road.

We remembered the observations of Penrod Dean before we set off:

The Malays started to fight the Japanese on Reformatory Road,” said Lt. Penrod V. Dean of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. “They had dug slit trenches but they didn’t have a lot of weapons. They started fighting the Japanese just with rifles virtually. And when the Japanese broke through them, the Malays took to them with bayonets, they put bayonets on the rifles and with a bayonet charge they drove the Japanese back across Reformatory Road.”

“They were very brave people. They fought very hard, but for every Malay soldier there was about 10 or 12 Japanese soldiers. So it was inevitable what was going to happen.” [link]

After the 7.00am briefing amidst a grove of Gelam trees next to the NUS University Cultural Centre, we made our way up the ridge, onto Kent Ridge Road, past The Gap into Kent Ridge Park and finally Bukit Chandu.

Along the way, we shared stories of the battle, interweaved with the history, geography and biology of the ridge. This year – also the 200th anniversary of modern Singapore’s founding – the recurring theme was a biologist view of human behaviour: from expanding civilisations to colonialism, World War 2 and beyond: the exploitation and manipulation of humanity by a minority of their own kind.

But importantly, we took heart by remembering these men who had been banded together, who faced impossible odds, fought on these grounds beyond the call of king or country, neither for creed nor ethnicity but simply for each other.

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We begin the walk amidst the grove of gem trees, at NUS’ University
Cultural Centre, where the Battle of Pasir Panjang began.
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A series of markers for the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail pepper the route
and provide highlights about historical points along the way.
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Veteran guide, Oi Yee, who walked the ridge in the 1950’s, shares tales about the botany and uses of Simpoh Air and Resam from kampung days.
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Following the guides up to point 270 on the maintenance trail.
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Sivasothi aka Otterman explain the events leading to the renaming
of the ridge after the Duchess of Kent in 1954, during the Emergency.
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Just before Bukit Chandu, the group listens to a heartfelt account about
the last stand of Lt Adnan bin Saidi and his men of The Malay Regiment.
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Ever changing landscape: The point blocks at Normanton Park, where the Normanton Oil Depot was located. This will be lost to redevelopment soon.

For more about the heritage of Pasir Panjang, see the webpage and blog.

Photos:

HOWL 23 (14 Dec 2018) – And happy birthday Otterman!

HOWL23 was hosted by: Theresa Su, Tang Yong Jen, Lesley Chng on 14 Dec 2018.

HOWL 23 was full of fun and games as we celebrated our dear Otterman’s birthday! This session, hosted by the one and only TTYL (Toddycats Theresa, Lesley and Yong Jen), was packed with food, laughter and games of all sorts, as we relaxed (for once) and enjoyed the fellowship.

Starting off with a game called “5 Second Rule”, the Toddycats were split into the Toddycats Lions (the older Toddycats who roared!) and the younger group of mostly undergrads. Each player had to come up with three items in a given category – all within 5 seconds! Pitting experience with fast wits, just imagine how stressful it was!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Time’s up! Yong Jen leads “5 Second Rule” [photo by Lesley Chng]

Next was “Don’t Say It!”. We talked to each other enthusiastically, and had to be tricked by our companions into uttering the unknown word stuck to our foreheads – the room exploded in conversation with people with post-its on their heads, trying to trick each other into uttering their forbidden words!

Yong Jen prepping his stash of post-its [photo by Otterman]
Don’t Say It! [photo by Lesley Chng]

After the mass games, Toddycats broke up into small groups to play card games brought by our volunteers – some we had never heard of before! It was delightful to hear the room fill with laughter as decks of Monopoly Deal, Limpeh Says and Organ Attack were drawn.

Happy faces of Toddycats playing card games [ohoto by Theresa Su]

Then came the most important part of the session. How could we forget our dear Otterman’s birthday? Since everyone loves ice cream so much, we just put the candle into a tub of ice cream and that was our ice cream ‘cake’.

Ice Cream! [Photo by Xu Weiting]
Siva makes his birthday wish [photo by Xu Weiting]

With that, we concluded HOWL 23. It was great fun to relax with a lovely bonding session of smiles and joy!

Join us for an exhilarating experience – plant a tree (or three) at Chestnut Nature Park, Sat 19 May 2018

The Friends of Chestnut Nature Park (FoC) are happy to invite you to wield a changkul and plant trees at Chestnut Nature Park!

Chestnut Nature Park is a green buffer to our precious green lung and biodiversity core, the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. With active contribution by members of the wider community, Friends of Chestnut Nature Park hopes that Chestnut Nature Park will fulfil its potential both as nature reserve buffer and a vibrant and sustainable recreational space enjoyed by mountain bikers, hikers, heritage and nature lovers alike.

Besides, who doesn’t love to plant trees! The forest at Chestnut Nature Park is recovering from a history of use and this can take centuries. We hope to offer a boost to restoration and thanks to NParks, we have this wonderful opportunity to enhance the habitat!

We are happy to invite you to join us on this wonderful privilege!

Anyone can join us including members of the public, just sign up at Eventbrite.

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Wed 22 Nov 2017: 7.30pm @ LKCNHM – Reuben Clements on “RIMBA: Using science to deliver conservation solutions for Peninsular Malaysia”

Reuben's RIMBA talk

What does it mean to be a conservation scientist?

Join us for a night of insight by Dr Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, co-founder of RIMBA, a Malaysian non-governmental organisation, as he shares about translating scientific research into tangible outputs for the greater good of threatened species.

Wed 22 Nov 2017: 7:30 pm @ LKCNHM Learning Lab
2 Conservatory Drive, S(117377) [map]
National University of Singapore

Register for this talk at this link.

See you there!

RIMBA talk poster

Highlights of the July Love MacRitchie Walk

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Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

On 8 Jul 2017, 16 participants joined three Toddycats on a Love MacRitchie Walk along Venus Loop. While discussing the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line, the keen-eyed participants kept a lookout for creatures along the forest trail. Even the most well-camouflaged animals revealed themselves! What seemed like a woody stump turned out to be a Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) trying to take a snooze! There was also a really hairy caterpillar that seemed to blend into the tree trunk if you looked at it from the top. In the tree canopy, we would not have spotted the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus) if it had not been dropping starfruit bits as it feasted. It looked so much like a leaf!

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Caterpillar. Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittunus cyanurus). Photo by Benjamin Lim.

There were also some brilliantly coloured creatures that never fail to catch our eyes. Before we even hit the trail, a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) was gorging on a breakfast of Senduduk (Melastoma malabathricum) fruits. It must have been so hungry because it didn’t mind all the people standing barely a metre or two away, snapping away with their smartphones! Nearby, a beautiful turquoise coloured Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon) was sipping nectar from the Red Leea (Leea rubra).

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Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon). Photo by Joyce Wong.

Recently, an unfortunate incident occured in the vicinity of Windsor Nauture Park, where a wild boar (Sus scrofa) injured a woman who was walking her dog. NParks has erected advisory signs around the park, and everyone should read them as earnestly as this young participant did! The signs read: “Wild boars have been seen in the area. If you encounter a wild boar, move calmly away from it. Do not use flash photography as it may upset the animal. Do not feed it as it is illegal to feed wild animals.”

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Wild boar advisory by NParks. Photo by Chloe Tan.

The little ones who joined the walk had lots of fun trudging along the dirt trail and letting their imagination run wild!

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Waiting to be teleported to another realm. Photo by Chloe Tan.

Everybody learned new things on this fun-filled walk. We shared our passion for nature in different ways, be it through photography, nature education or simply loving the great outdoors. Let us do what we can to help conserve Singapore’s Nature Reserves for the generations to come!

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Group 1 with their guide, Amanda Lek (front row, first from left). Photo by Amanda Lek.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire Jonquieres (second from left). Photo by Joyce Wong.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe Tan (back row, right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook.

Highlights of the June Love MacRitchie Walk

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A pleasant walk through the shady forest. Photo by Jensen Seah.

It had been a week of scorching hot weather so a walk through the shady forest was a much welcomed respite from the urban heat. Three Toddycats and 18 participants turned up at Venus Loop on 11 Jun 2017 to observe the wildlife in MacRitchie Forest and discuss the conservation issues surrounding the proposed Cross Island MRT Line.

The animals in the forest were going about their usual activities and we got to observe them really up close! There was a jumping spider was hopping around a plant, probably hunting for its breakfast. We got to see its huge pair of forward-facing eyes that helps it judge distance better so it can accurately pounce on its prey. A Common Flashwing damselfly (Vestalis amethystina) was basking on a sunny spot at our eye level, its purple wings shimmering beautifully. One group also spotted a headless Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta)! We wonder who the gruesome predator was.

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Jumping spider. Photo by Jensen Seah.

 

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Common Flashwing (V. amethystina). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (C. aurulenta). Photo by Joleen Chan.

The birds also came out to play. A Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) came unusually close to the trail, prancing about the foliage. There was a Greater-racket Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) that was singing at the top of its funky metallic voice too!

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Dark-necked Tailorbird (O. atrogularis). Photo by Jensen Seah.

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Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (D. paradiseus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Some of us saw a leaf-like object glide across the trail and perch on a dead tree trunk. Upon a closer look, it turned out to be a Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (Draco melanopogon)! A handsome male was showing off its black throat flap, possibly in an attempt to get the attention of a female that was on the same trunk. Nearby, a Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) was very busy collecting nesting materials.

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Black-bearded Gliding Lizard (D. melanopogon). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Plantain Squirrel (C. notatus). Photo by Chloe Tan.

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Tak Wei from BES Drongos does some sharing. Photo by Joleen Chan.

On this walk, we felt with our own skin the profound importance of forests in climate regulation. Our biggest lesson of the day was that we depend on the forests of our Nature Reserves as much as the animals do! A big thank you to the guides and participants for the lovely morning adventure!

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Group 1 with their guide, Joleen (on right). Photo by Joleen Chan.

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Group 2 with their guide, Claire (on right). Photo by Claire Jonquieres.

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Group 3 with their guide, Chloe (third from right). Photo by Chloe Tan.

Find out more about the Love MacRitchie movement here. See more photos of the walk on Facebook or Flickr.