Sunday, 28 October 2007

Horseshoe Crab Watch with NSS

Joined super enthusiastic Nature Society members and NIE students at Mandai mudflats (off Kranji) yesterday afternoon (see event) to "rescue horseshoe crabs trapped in discarded nets" and to bring in horseshoe crabs for further study. Managed to find quite a lot of them, some really tiny (less than 2cm wide) and some big spiny ones (almost 20cm wide).. many were embedded in the calf-deep mangrove mud and i sustained multiple shallow cuts on my fingers digging them out :(

The area we were searching was right next to an interesting hindu shrine.. and before we went for our search, we were given a briefing by this lady (Lesley Cartwright-Taylor - shown in the pic below holding the molted shells of horseshoe crabs) who appeared to know quite a bit about them.

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Some interesting things i learnt about horseshoe crabs:
  • they are not really crabs but more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions
  • they have been around for over the last 350 to 400 million years, and have been described as "living fossils" and "remnants of the age of dinosaurs"
  • despite their intimidating appearance, horseshoe crabs are not dangerous
  • a horseshoe crab's tail, while menacing, is not a weapon. Instead, the tail is used to plow the crab through the sand and muck, to act as a rudder, and to right the crab when it accidentally tips over
  • the medical profession uses an extract from the horseshoe crab's blue, copper-based blood to test the purity of medicines and to detect any bacterial contamination as it clots when it comes into contact with bacteria (pretty cool, huh?)
  • and for that ever popular Singaporean/Chinese question on everything and anything that moves... i.e. "can it be eaten?"... check this out ... nonetheless, i am aware that they are a protected species..

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The Value of a Good Getaway

My dad believes that travel is bad for us.

Yes, he really does. And we’re not just talking about the money spent.

A person of routine, including eating the same dishes from the same stall every time he has to buy his lunch or dinner from outside, waking up and sleeping at the same hour (as far as possible) every day, engaging in the same activities in the week (his taichi sessions every wed evening), keeping a meticulous record of his expenditures and daily happenings without fail every evening, buying the same brand of toiletries, biscuits and for a while, even cars (he used to only buy Hondas!)..

And so he hates having the routine broken up by going to a new place and with it, having to eat new things, to see new things and to wake and sleep at a different hour. As I was bugging him today to bring mum traveling cos I know she had been waiting for him for many years to retire so that they can go sightseeing together, he quipped:

“aiyah, what for? whenever we go traveling, we always end up overspending, overeating and everything is in excess. our life is disrupted and when i come back, I always feel that the money wasn’t well spent. Just walking around, seeing things and eating, for what? Can do the same thing in Singapore what”

I suppose he has his point. If that’s all travel is to someone, watching National Geographic and Discovery Channels would certainly be enough and definitely much more comfortable and infinitely safer. Which then set me thinking..

Why do I travel?

Why don’t I just stick to watching Channel 16 (Discovery Travel and Living, in case you don’t know), which incidentally is one of my favourite SCV channels?

but the problem with this channel is, instead of satiating my lust for travel, it tends to evoke it even more! Seeing on screen the sights, sounds and “adventures” of the travel hosts, I wish myself to experience the same, usually as soon as possible, before “things start to change”.. as I always tell my friends.. Quick! See Potala before they shut it cos it’s made of wood and it is going to collapse soon with all that human traffic brought in by the new Qinghai-Tibet railway!! Or.. Lhasa is changing! soon there won't be anyone left prostrating! Or I always share with them that I read from the papers how the amazing rare painted storks that i had seen in the Keoladeo National Park n Rajasthan are no longer visiting the park because their annual migratory flight patterns have been disrupted by global warming or by the droughts that now plague the state (see article).. or how lucky i am to have seen romantic Pichola Lake in Udaipur before it dried up after three continuous years of no monsoon rains visiting the area...

and that is of cos based on my assumption that people care about seeing these things at all! And the fact is, I probably take traveling a tad bit too seriously as compared to many others, who really just want to get away and relax and for whom the company is more important than the actual destination..

and that is certainly entirely valid and good enough reason to travel too…

Oh well, to each his/her own. Guess the best thing is for us to all keep an open mind and encourage each other to do what we want.. :)

onwards to the next destination in Dec! whee!!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Section 377a vs. Section 498

While debate raged fiercely over whether Section 377A (Outrages on decency): It is an offence for any male person, who in public or private, commits an act of gross indecency with another male person. should be repealed, with the main views diverging on whether:

"Homosexuality is something you do"; vs. "Homosexuality is something you are."; and on whether the govt should "lead change" vs. "reflect the view of majority of society"...

the govt went ahead and repealed Section 498 (Enticing or taking away or detaining with a criminal intent a married woman): It is an offence to entice, take away or detain a married woman with the intention of having illicit intercourse with her. (i.e. adultery), on grounds that "it is an archaic offence which is no longer relevant in today’s context."

In contrast, as we all know by now, it was at the same time decided that Section 377A should be retained, with the key reasoning being that the repeal of 377A would run counter to the govt's stand on "the family (being) the basic building block of this society... and by family in Singapore we mean one man, one woman marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit." (PM Lee)...

The fact that one act (i.e. that covered under Section 498 - adultery), which in my opinion would clearly break down the "stable family unit, family values and social fabric," was repealed; while another (i.e. that covered under Section 377A - consensual, private sex between two adults) whose so-called adverse impact on the "stable family unit" is still under great debate and study was nonetheless retained, made the recent changes all the more difficult to comprehend, even for a fairly open-minded and somewhat intelligent person like myself....

i am all for good debate as it helps all of us to have a clearer picture of the diversity of views present... but i am also for consistency in the reasoning used to justify any actions carried out by those in power... and i'm afraid i had difficulty seeing it this time.... :(

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Check out this incredible little boy! my godson! :)

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he already looks like he wants to say something, doesn't he?? haha...

welcome to the world little Dylan! you'll be much loved.. :)

(and check out his sister's pic taken about a year back! will take new pictures of her again soon!)

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Canon Photomarathon 2007 - my (uninspired) entries

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Themes: Passion; Challenge; Playtime!

couldn't bring myself to the right mood to shoot all of yesterday.. morose and unimaginative, i shot no more than 30 shots in total (i'm sure others did hundreds or even thousands!) and handed in all my photo assignments way before time (we're given 3 hours to shoot each theme before the next one is announced).. i'm ashamed of how i let my emotions overwhelm one of my greatest interest and passion.. but i am after all, only human..

*hangs head in shame*

Monday, 15 October 2007

Left Brain or Right Brain?

she spins both ways.. apparently, if you see her going anti-clockwise, you're a predominantly left-brained person...clockwise means u're more right brained.. technically should be able to see both after a bit of effort..

if you really can't, try this - cover her torso including her bottom with a paper or card and just stare at her legs going round and round (plus the shadow). after a while you can suddenly see the switch in direction.. with a bit of practice, you can switch the direction easily..

control! wahahaha...

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Visit to the SPCA

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doing my part to showcase just a small selection of the many dogs there waiting for good homes... all with sweet personalities, very obedient and wagging their tails... :)

Monday, 8 October 2007

A random joke (Not for children below 21)

A male whale and a female whale were swimming off the coast of Japan when they noticed a whaling ship.

The male whale recognized it as the same ship that had harpooned his father many years earlier.

He said to the female whale, "Let's both swim under the ship and blow out of our air hole at the same time and it should cause the ship to turn over and sink."

They tried it and sure enough, the ship turned over and quickly sank.

Soon however, the whales realized the sailors had jumped overboard and were swimming to the safety of shore.

The male was enraged that they were going to get away and told the female, "Let's swim after them and gobble them up before they reach the shore."

At this point, he realized the female was becoming reluctant to follow him.

"Look", she said, "I went along with the blow job, but I absolutely refuse to swallow the seamen."

The average blue whale produces over 400 gallons of sperm when it ejaculates, but only 10% of that actually makes it into his mate. So 360 gallons are spilled into the ocean every time one unloads, and you wonder why the ocean is so salty...

Friday, 5 October 2007

Canon Photo Marathon Asia 2007

i've signed up for the above.

see link

sms or email me if u would like to join me on that day for some sighseeing and shooting.
what a powerful image

how many of us have courage like this?