Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dinner with the family

Its the school hols but I have been busy with a couple of things to do. First the CIP trip got postponed, then had a seashore workshop, then a talk for teachers on Web2.0 with Siva and now preparing for a DNA barcoding fieldtrip and labwork in the next 2 days. In between I got proteomics to think about... So this was a nice outing with the wife and kids.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Evening Forest

On Sunday morning, went for a hike from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve summit with Siva, Anand and Aaron from Berkeley who's giving a talk on Museum Databases. We were discussing about how loud the forests in the region gets in the evening. I then remembered that insects in the forests were crepuscular.

The same evening, Jen and I went for a jog along the same HSBC trail in MacRitchie in the early evening. The night began to envelope the sky and we were halfway into the walk. We were inundated with a delightful din of insect and frog chorus as well as clouds of perfumes as we walked along the trees which were obviously vying for pollinator visits...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Seashore students

A bunch of teachers and I conducted a seashore workshop for 22 students. It was a 2-day workshop with both a fieldtrip component and a bioinformatics course on the second day. The students were put into groups and then gave their presentations at the end of the 2 days. Winners received a magnifying glass and 2 bars of chocolates but all left pretty enriched according to their feedback.

To minimise impact on the shore, the students were told to take only photographs and to tread carefully along the coastline. They got to see some carpet anemones, lots of flower crabs and ragworms. Mostly nature did most of the teaching and we were there to make sure they followed some guidelines we had and also not wander off too far.

The tide was good and the waters pretty clear. We could walk ankle deep in water for quite a distance from the shoreline. In the feedback, students mentioned that there should be more of these fieldtrips and that it should span different habitats.

The bioinformatics part on molecular phylogenetics analysis was less well-received perhaps because it paled in comparison to a field trip in the open shore with the sun and sand. They however enjoyed preparing the presentations which

were chockful of pictures they took and spruced up with information from good local websites

Local Marine Life

Here are some snapshots with more photos here


Monday, November 20, 2006

Seashore days

Everytime I go to the beach, and Changi beach in particular, I reminisce about my childhood days spent wandering around the shoreline and rocky shores turning over rocks and looking into the rock pools. My parents used to bring us there and because they were civil servants, got to book the chalets there.

There was a stay at a Punggol bungalow 20 yrs ago I remember vividly. The bungalow was situated right at the shoreline and at hightide the water would reach the walls of the elevated garden. All you had to do was walk down the stairs and you would be wading ankle deep in clear seawater for a long way off the shoreline. My dad taught me how to cast a net, catch crabs with a trap and my late cousin Anissa and I would wade around in search of Portunus pelagicus (flower crab) under a full moon.

My parents brought my elder sis and I to the beach quite often (Nat wasn't born yet). One clear, sweltering afternoon, I saw 3 water-spouts dancing on the surface of the water and another afternoon, sailfish cut the surface with their dorsal fins. I got stung by jellyfish once when my dad decided he'd catch and bring one home in a pail... Of course there would be Curry by the Sea, complete with french loaves and hardboiled eggs.

The beach is an inexpensive place to go to but the time spent there is always special.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chapatosaur... arrrhh!

Josh couldn't find his clay set and was pretty upset so had to use some atta flour instead and toaster... The chapatosaur smelt good to eat after it was toasted.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Project Uthavi - painting

Tues and Wednesday was spent painting the training centre for migrant workers.  The "kiddos" had fun and did a good job with the murals.  As always they were on the ball and things got done.  Damn chikungunya, poor kids have to wait till next june to carry out the project in Gummidipoondi


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chapatis and global warming

Help Solve the Climate Crisis

(from “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore)

  • Neutralize your remaining emissions

  • Don’t waste paper

  • Carry a refillable beverage bottle

  • Modify your diet to eat less meat

  • Buy things that last

  • Pre-cycle — reduce before you buy

  • Vote with your dollars

  • Support an environmental group

  • Telecommute from home

I have more or less excluded meat from my diet and since these are the hols, I have decided to go on a chapati and dahl diet...

I bought some atta flour and boiled some dahl. It was Japanese curry and rice for josh, matt and jen. But they took a bit of my rotis and were hooked instantly. I had to roll more chapatis. Josh and matt were entertained by some dough. Interestingly, atta flour is pretty darn cheap - $1.40 for a large packet.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Every Otter has its day

Here's Otterman pulling Sir David Attenborough on a boat in Sungei Buloh. I celebrated the event and felt it was the culmination of the many years, sweat and toil that Otterman had given to mother nature and enabled several cohorts of biology students to share that love of nature with others.


A wonderful 3 days

On Friday, I attended a talk by Jane Goodall followed by a dialogue session with her. This is the second time I have listened to her. It was even more moving this time.

And I thought, okay that was the highlight of the year. Next day, Otterman calls me to bring some BBC crew to Sungei Buloh. So we meet at the hotel lobby and I see the crew hanging around. Then guess who pops out of the door? None other than Sir David Attenborough himself! We shook hands...

The next day was a Sunday and I decided to go to Sentosa with the family. We were at one of those overly reclaimed beaches and Jen needed to use the toilet. The toilet overlooked some rocky shore which was exposed due to the low tide so Josh and I decided to check it out.

We waded carefully in the ankle-high shallows. We saw carpet anemones, leaf-potter crabs, an octopus, a sea cucumber... I could hardly belief my luck. First the famous naturalists and then next the creatures themselves...


Friday, November 03, 2006

Winds of change

Winds of change

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Holy Basil

The holy basil. Finally got to see Ocimum tenuiflorum in the temple. Its amazing how much it is venerated as a prime herb for healing