Category Archives: fun and laughter

Toddycats Changi Retreat 2015: a sumptuous, all-vegetarian, zero-food-waste BBQ!

It’s been 7 years since the Toddycats Appreciation Dinner in 2008, but we finally managed to get all our volunteers together over 24 and 25 July 2015 (Friday and Saturday) for a Toddycats Retreat @ Changi Fairy Point Bungalow!

We’ve been working hard in the past few years, conducting nature-guided walks for the public, coordinating many coastal and mangrove cleanups, and being involved in numerous other outreach initiatives such as Ubin Day and Festival of Biodiversity. Many of us work together in such events, yet don’t actually know each other very well. This gathering session gave us the opportunity to reconnect and learn more about each other, beyond that burning passion for conservation! The retreat was also a chance for us to thank all our passionate Toddycats for the work everyone has contributed to over the past few years.

With the help of Alvin, we managed to grab Changi Fairy Point Bungalow 2 – a nice location with a relaxing atmosphere, and the Changi Point Boardwalk a stone’s throw away. A couple of us reached the bungalow around 3pm, and started prepping for our all-vegetarian BBQ.

Despite unconventional decision of having all-veggie BBQ, we decided it would be a good chance to show that being vegetarian didn’t necessarily require us to cut back on good food. Before Friday night, Sankar, Joelle and I raided online recipe journals for meat-free BBQ options, and prepped pasta salad, corn salsa, lentil bean burgers, grilled tofu, raita, and loads more! Vegetarianism does have many environmental benefits, and many of us – if not already vegetarian, do take necessary measures to reduce meat intake.

 11760165_10153378759357752_6321812120006799842_n DSCF7626
DSCF7592 DSCF7629
Photos from Sumita and Adriane

We also brought our own lunchbox/plates, cutlery and tumbler, to reduce the amount of waste generated!

L1008358Photo taken by Chao Xiang
DSCF7644After a fulfilling dinner, we headed inside to relax.

The night was not yet over, and though a couple of us had to leave earlier, the rest headed out to Changi Point Boardwalk for a nightwalk! The boardwalk was teeming with life, and we even witnessed a flat-tailed house gecko carcass (Hemidactylus platyurus) being carried by an army of weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) for their supper.

hemidactylus platyurus
Photo taken by David
tiger beetle
Photo taken by David
2015-07-24 23.28.54 2015-07-24 23.30.34

These tireless Toddycats proceeded to play even more games when we got back from the nightwalk, and Marcus – who had been busy with the whale carcass salvage, joined us! Junius had brought along many boardgames – which kept us all up until 3am, when everyone finally decided to wrap up the night.

L1008442Photo taken by Chao Xiang

By 10.30am the next morning, we had cleared up the bungalow, and many of us headed back into the field for Toddycat-duties with ICCS 2015 on-site recces happening around the island. It was a truly enjoyable night with everyone, and we look forward to the next Toddycats Retreat!


HOWL at the Moon 12 – A Gathering of Toddycats!

Although the moon was only in its Waning Crescent phase, the time was nigh for the Toddycats to gather and HOWL! So, on the 16th of February, 40 Toddycats came together to catch up, meet new people and get updated on the latest happenings.

Chaired by Joelle and Alvin, HOWL 12 started off with everyone’s favourite – food! Everyone gathered outside the DBS Conference Room for a bite (or many bites) of pizza before starting HOWL proper with a happy stomach. New faces were introduced and everyone (old and new) swiftly warmed up to each other!

Toddycats were updated on recent events by the interns including the revival of the Kent Ridge Heritage Walks (Sankar), Himalayan Mutt Project (Lynn), as well as the upcoming World Water Day Coastal Clean up (Becky).

Sumita gave us a wonderful report on Ubin Day in 2014 and shared with us the tears and laughter of being a WILD Intern who enthusiastically helped lay the foundations for Ubin Day!

We had updates from Chloe Tan on the Love MacRitchie Walks, again reminding us about the importance of MacRitchie and how precious our forest patches are. We don’t mind walking a bit more if the Cross Island Line can be realigned to avoid the fragile forest! This brought about a discussion on ways to engage the public without bringing them to nature parks, a topic we should always keep in mind!

Following Chloe’s report, Weiting gave us a very detailed splendid report on the Bukit Timah closure; showing us the importance of the Bukit Timah closure and its impact on the various group of people. Weiting’s report further shows the importance of social media in disseminating information – the power of Facebook!

Finally, with Joelle keeping a close watch on the time, we ended off a joyous HOWL with the formation of BOSS 4 sub-committees! A major event happening this July, do keep an eye out for our FOURTH Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium!

All photos of HOWL can be found in our flickr album!


Engaging youth through NUS Toddycats, volunteers with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, as part of SG50 celebrations.

Toddycats at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013!

Adrian Loo leads a bunch of us in organising a second hand stall each year to help raise funds for Assisi Hospice which ‘helps people facing death to live life with dignity and to the fullest’.

We bring our enthusiasm, event organising and guiding skills to the fair each year and planning begins early in the year.

After several months, the day has finally arrived! Toddycats are down there in various roles, helping out and buying interesting items from the “Adrian Loo & friends” stall.

See who’s been busy this morning and join them at 490 Thomson Road (SJI International) – for more details, see Otterman speaks…

Lim Chen Kee's sucker buy at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Lim Chen Kee, buying cooking pots!

Lim Chen Kee's sucker buy (2) at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Chen Kee also bought this tea pot!

Adrian Loo @ Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Adrian bought a Polar Watch

Joelle Lai's sucker buy at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Joelle Lai buys a mug!

Kenneth at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Kenneth Pinto’s books are well received by Ivan Chew!

Kok Oi Yee at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013
Kok Oi Yee, hard as work as always!

Ng Kai Scene at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013!
Fiery red Ng Kai Scene helping to sell books

Anand and Adrian at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013!
Anand Balan comes to do shopping!

Wendy Sim and Quek Kiah Shen with Lim Chen Kee at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013!
Wendy Sim and Quek Kiah Shen come to makan!
Here with Lim Chen Kee.

Teo Kah Ming at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day 2013!
Teo Kah Ming manning the book store!

Thanks to Kenneth and Adrian for the photos!

Postscript – Adrian writes,

Thanks to all Toddycats for helping out at the Assisi Hospice Fun Day! This year we wouldn’t have managed if you hasn’t come forward. Thanks Siva, your social capital was as always essential for the manpower.

I saw guiding skills come in handy and engagement – else we would have been quieter. Kai Scene actually went out of the stall and drew people to look at items. It’s a useful skill to have in being able to engage with anyone. Well done Toddycats!

Local biodiversity and dinosaurs go to Geylang East Public Library!

A month after our successful exhibition at the Yishun Pond Rejuventated, the Raffles Museum Toddycats has once again set up another exhibition at the Geylang East Public Library on 10 Dec 2011. It was really great to see experienced and new Toddycats sharing stories and working together to make this event a memorable one! Everyone was enthusiastic, all smiles and ready to welcome the visitors when the library opened at 10am.

Wild Carnivores at the Library - Toddycats volunteers all ready to start the show!

This time, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research kindly allowed the showcase of a real dinosaur vertebra from 150 million years ago! There were even paper crafts of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals from XinHeritage that helped children and adults to visualise the entire dinosaur skeleton.

Papercraft dinosaurs and dinosaurs books surrounded a real diplodocus vertebra fossil

Dinosaurs always get people of all ages excited; we used this opportunity to spread the excitement of the arrival of the three whole diplodocid skeletons (Apollo, Prince and Twinky), which will be the centerpiece of the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum in 2014.

Happy volunteers with the dinosaur bones (Photo by Boh Zuze)

Reading all about the Diplodocus dinosaurs and how they live

Even the young ones were clearly thrilled by the sight of dinosaur papercrafts!

Besides the dinosaur bone showcase, there were many other specimens (eg. skulls, skeletons and many of our iconic local biodiversity specimens) on display! We also had a station with interactive games to play and for kids to understand various ecological concepts.

Toddycat Brandon Ang introduced visitors to our iconic dugong, small clawed otter and mangroves animals which fascinated many visitors!

Toddycat Joycelin uses a library book on snakes to educate the kids! They even got to view the snake skeleton prepared by Toddycat veteran Kok Oi Yee!

Toddycat Eunice Soh explains and shows to a family the position and function of the keel in the skeleton and how it helps the pigeon to be a good flier.

An elated kid who finally beats Toddycat Marcus Tay in getting a higher dice roll at snakes & ladders

Throughout the day, there were also talks scheduled, with prizes to be won if one gave the correct answers to the questions asked by the presenter –

  • 11am – Marcus Chua on “The Secrets of Ubin’s wildlife”
  • 12pm – Amanda Tan Hui-Ning on “The Adventures of the Red Jungle Fowl”
  • 2pm – Meryl Theng on “Singapore’s River Otters”.
  • 3pm – Me (Weiting Xu) on “Stalking the Civets of Siglap”
  • 4pm – Ong Say Lin on “The return of the Wild Pig”
  • 5pm – Fung Tze Kwan on “The fruit-loving Common Palm Civet”

Most of the talks were well-attended and many kids listened attentively in hopes of winning the pretty jigsaw puzzle prize which features our local biodiversity.

Marcus' talk introduced many people to the wildlife of Pulau Ubin!

Meryl captivates the attention of the crowd with stories and images of the smooth-coated otters in Singapore waters.

A happy kid gives the right answer and gets a prize from SayLin!

At the end of the day,we reached out to an estimated total of 130 individuals (adults and children). Although this number was not high, each individual had personalised attention from the guides and many of them stayed for 20 – 3o minutes,  thoroughly combing through each of the stations to learn more about our local biodiversity. Even some of the kids, whose curiosities were piqued, borrowed related books! We also received public feedback to bring the same exhibition to other public libraries around Singapore! This is very encouraging for Toddycats’ first attempt at a public library, and we really hope that we can reach out to other local branches.

The event would not have been a success without the help of Junius Soh, Janice Lee & Ong Saylin to help with transportation, thanks to Kelvin Lim (RMBR) for helping us with the specimens preparation, Hazelina Yeo and staff of RMBR for helping us with the dinosaur bone showcase! Besides transportation, we want to express gratitude to the photographers, Foo Fang Chee, Boh Zuze and Kenneth Pinto for capturing the priceless interaction between the guides and people. Lastly, the volunteers who helped to made a difference, many of you took time and effort to prepare for this event and all your hard work is greatly appreciated – Jocelyne Sze, Cheong Shu Min, Nandini Srinivasan, Lim Huan Hock, Marcus Chua, Ong Saylin, Meryl Theng, Tan Hui-Ning Amanda, Eunice Soh, Yang Yi Yong, Joycelin Teo, Lee Benjamin, Lee Kai Xin, Letchumi d/o Mani, Marcus Tay, Vivien Lee, Kong Ching Wan, Wong Jinfa, Foo Maosheng, Pang Wei Han, Kok Oi Yee, Ivan Kwan, Lim Kim Yong, Brandon Ang, Deanna Lye, David Tan, Jeremy Ng, Wu Bokai & Zestin Soh.

Our guides shared stories and helped connect the kids and adults with nature during their stay at the library exhibition. A positive atmosphere with lots of laughter and smiles was established, and many left with a twinkle in their eyes and joy on their faces. Hopefully, the specimens and the dinosaur vertebra will help to inspire our next generation of biologists (and paleontologists)!

Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network with Jungle Fowls

Some of the Pedal Ubin guides enjoyed a day of leisure cycling last Saturday with no responsibilities. The result? Two accidents!!

Photos here.

Cheng Puay blogged about his crash even before I did to get his side of the story in first! Joelle crashed into a nine-year old kid on her way to the ride. The kid apologised as much as she did and she now bears some impressive scars!

Most of the riders – Kaixin, Cheng Puay, Yew Jern and Ivan rented bikes from Mr Bikes Enterprise at Changi Village at the cost of $10. Airani, Joelle and myself rode down to join the rest. Kaixin is game for more rides so expect more news about leisure rides soon!