When is a footpath a footpath?

There is this car park in Pasir Ris that is heavily utilized by the people fishing at the fishing pond; the residents of the surrounding HDB flats and visitors to the White Sands Shopping Mall. It is especially busy during peak hours in the evening and even more so on Friday and Sunday evenings where parents pick up/dropped off their sons to/from Tekong.

The carpark serves as shortcut to pedestrians from the MRT station to Pasir Ris Drive 1 and beyond. And inevitably everyone walk on the carpark itself notwithstanding that there is a footpath between the row of parked cars and the pond. 
Oh wait, did I just said footpath?Apparently it seems that not all footpath are “footpath”. When I sent the feedback via OneService App, it was to ask that something be done to prevent the rear of the parked vehicles intruding into the footpath and thus forcing pedestrians to walk on the car park among the moving cars. Like what this photo shows.

Simple query and to me a simple conclusion. Just install railings along the footpath or car stopper on the lot. Problem solved. But not so it seems.

A friendly guy from HDB called me and informed that that is not a footpath but a drain cover. And because it is not a footpath, they cannot do anything. Stunned by the answer – I asked him what is the definition of a footpath. Apparently, a footpath is a footpath only if it leads to a HDB block or some building and since this one leads to the park and the road it does not count as a footpath.

So now we know. A path that is clearly a path is not necessarily a footpath. Maybe just like a train breakdown is not a breakdown but a signaling fault and a flooding is not a flood but a ponding!

Nature Lover or just greedy photographer?

Many times when I go on my nature jaunts and take bird photos, I have been irked many times by the irresponsible behaviour of some of the photographers. One time in Sungei Buloh, there was this guy who was playing a taped bird call that was so loud that I can hear it from 50 metres away! Another thing that irked me is when photographers go beyond the trail and venture into the forest. Not only are they causing unnecessary stress to the birds but they are also unfairly denying other photographers of a clear shot. So I was particularly happy to read this report that a photographer was fined $3800 for baiting and trespassing. Co-incidentally I think it is the same guy in my earlier blog post.

Are these people nature/bird lover or just photographer? I like to believe that if they are geniune nature lover, they will naturally know how to behave and act responsibly. In this particular case, I think these people are just photographer interested in getting that trophy photo at all cost. So to do that, they have no qualms and will bait the birds, do stuff like tie the legs of the bird to prevent it from flying and cruel thing like putting styrofoam in fish to bait birds. All for the sake of getting a photo which they can post on some Facebook page. And let face it, after all the effort, the photo is still going to be nothing and pales in comparison to those taken by professional. These photographers are a disgrace to the birding community and brings a bad name to the genuine caring nature lover and photographer. 

I hope that people in the community will speak up whenever they see fellow photographers behaving irresponsibly and unethically. And the admin of the various group like Birds, Insects N Creatures of Asia; Singapore Bird Group; Birds Sighting; Wildlife of Pasir Ris and Vicinity to name  a few, will banned these people and not allow them to post their photos on their page. Collectively, perhaps then such unethical behaviours can be monitored and stamped out.

Noisy Children put down

SINKAPORE — The authorities have put down children that had been running freely around Thoming View and Blocks 666 to 888 Sin Ning Avenue, after receiving complaints about the noise they made.

In response to TOOTDAY’s queries — following reports of the move by the media — the People Vetting Authority of Singapore (PVA) said that it received 20 complaints from residents about the children last year, most of them related to noise.

The children were probably from the nearby HDB area, and TOOTDAY understands the children euthanised were not the elite from the nearby private estates and who have been identified as an endangered species.

“The HDB children were humanely euthanised, as relocation options are not available in land-scarce Sinkapore,” said an PVA spokesperson yesterday.

The spokesperson also noted that the authority “conducts surveillance and control operations to safeguard public health and mitigate nuisance issues”.

It would also carry out checks on private residential premises in response to feedback on the keeping of children, to determine if they are kept in accordance with its guidelines.

Under the PVA’s Humane Act, people are not allowed to have more than 10 residents, including children, in private residential premises.

“PVA will take enforcement action on owners who have more than 10 residents. We will also advise owners on responsible ownership, and to adopt measures that would help mitigate noise nuisances caused by children,” said the spokesperson.

TOOTDAY’s interviews with 10 residents at Sin Ning Avenue yesterday drew a mixed response, with seven lamenting the children’s demise, while three felt that the children were indeed noisy.

Polytechnic student Ai Tachek, 18, said he had been hearing the children’s noise since he was a little boy, but they had never bothered him or his family.

“I don’t have any complaints about them,” he told TOOTDAY as he and several friends tried to take a picture of a shouting child perched on a playground.

Housekeeper Wah Chin Sat, 62, expressed disappointment when told of the news, adding: “It’s so nice to see them, with the little toddlers following them. The kindergarten (even) brings their children here sometimes to play with them.”

Ms Love Kee, who has lived in the area for about 20 years, said neither the children nor their noise bothered her. “I think it’s sometimes quite cute to see them. It’s quite like the kampung days,” said the 36-year-old, who works in the real estate industry.

For taxi driver Tan Gin Nak , 63, the children are “quite interesting” and “make the place more colourful and lively”.

However, 63-year-old Ms Buah Tah Han was among those residents who said they were not fond of the children.

“The noise and they run! I can hear them so noisy early in the morning … and obviously I don’t like them,” said Ms Buah Tah Han, who works in customer service.

Expressing similar sentiments, a 71-year-old resident, who did not want to be named, said: “Early in the morning, (they are) running, sometimes in the afternoon … I think they should be removed, because they disturb the environment. Sometimes, in the evening, they keep on shouting, making a nuisance (of themselves).”

Although the children did not really bother Ms Boh Chap, 40, she still felt that they should be removed.

“It’s sad to know (that the children had been put down), but I think it’s good to actually put some of them down. If not, the population will get bigger and bigger, and it has to be controlled,” said Ms Boh, who also works in customer service.

The National People Board is also mulling over a similar move, but for a different reason: concerns that the children may interbreed with their endangered neighbours, the elite.

“Growth in HDB children populations increases the potential of interbreeding with the elite from the private estate and will adversely affect the conservation of our elite species,” Dr Atas Lim, group director of NPeople National Biodiversity Centre, told The Straight Times.

Dr Ai So Rick, founding president of the People Society (Sinkapore), said that with rapid interbreeding, the elite human will be reduced and be replaced by lower caste.

NPeople will be partnering the local conservation community to strengthen the protection of the elite..

Dr Lim said: “This includes monitoring the overall elite distribution and population size, studying the extent of interbreeding and managing the population of HDB children.”

Though they may look similar, the elite has a number of distinct traits that set it apart from HDB children. The purebred elite have bigger pockets, whereas HDB children mostly have skinny legs. While HDB children sport grubby clothing, elite children do not.

Elite, unlike HDB children, can read and are quieter. Their noise is pitch perfect and tinkled

The authorities said elite children are known to occur only in private estates.

Ms Cull Or, PVA group director of the human management group, said the authority has received requests to manage the HDB children population due to noise pollution.

“To address these, PVA works with NPeople to conduct surveillance and control operations to safeguard public health and mitigate nuisance issues,” she said.

Last year, PVA received reports from residents of Pasai Ris and Thoming about the noise from HDB children. Due to a lack of relocation options in land-scarce Singapore, the children will be humanely euthanised, Ms Or said.

Those Irresponsible Birders

Since I started doing bird and insect photographs, one of my pet peeves is the irresponsible photographers who are not nature or bird lover but are only interested in taking nice photo at all costs.

Hence we have birders who put styrofoam in fish to keep them afloat to lure eagle to catch this fish so that they can take photo of the eagle swopping down on the fish and disregarding that after the eagle eat the fish, it will also eat the styrofoam which it cannot digest.

Then there are other photographers who catch the chicks and tie them down just to make sure they stay still for a nice shot.

But fortunately people who goes to such extreme are rare or at least I hope.

What irks me more are those who lure birds with baits, play loud bird calls and trampled all over the forest scaring the birds and destroying the forest. Like last Saturday at the Singapore Botanic Garden where photographers were out in force to photo the 3 rare birds.

And this guy who don’t seem to know how to read who has climbed over the railings. And that is despite he having a super long lens and the birds just metres away from the boardwalk. 

Just exactly which part of no climbing over does he not understand? Or maybe he crawl underneath? Whatever it is, such selfish act can only block other photographers and scare away the birds. Worse, it may get Nparks pissed off enough to ban photographers from the area!


I been seeing crocodiles and I mean real crocs and not monitor lizard like these people actually saw and mistook for crocodile. And no they are not at the zoo either but out here in “wild” Singapore.

A few years ago, one can hardly sight a crocodile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve but nowadays a visit there is almost guaranteed one or two sightings. And there is no need to wander the whole place. There are usually at least 2 or 3 of them around the main river and can easily be spotted from the bridge. Like these:

And although I haven’t encounter one on the walking path yet, there are some that can be see basking in the sun

While  I happy that there are so many of them now, I wonder what is going to happen if one day some idiotic visitor gets too close and ends up getting injured. I have seen the antics of some people especially from a certain country in Asia and the stupid things they do. I couldn’t care less if they get bitten in the process of getting a selfie with the croc or while throwing things at it to make it move but I will pity the poor croc who will only be protecting itself. 

Hopefully that day will not happen when the crocs have to be relocated or culled for the “safety” of the visitor.

Scammed and Conned Willingly

Take a look at this photo. There are 3 different items in it. A few pieces of stickers, a pen and a baggage tag.

These 3 different items actually have a lot in common.

  1. They are all pirated ripoff of copyright items
  2. Each particular item cost $10.00 each. Grossly overpriced for imitation items
  3. They are all sold by  people who purported to be “students”
  4. They are sold for a “good cause”
  5. A “sucker” bought them even though he knew they are overpriced and may be a scam.

That sucker is me and yes I bought them with my eyes open even though I knew that they are overpriced, not original products and the proceeds may not really be for a good cause. So what drove me a usually practical hard headed man to buy them?

As stated, they were all sold by people who claimed to be student. The pen and the Batman baggage tag were bought from pedlars who went door to door. The stickers were from a young men standing in the middle of Cecil Street. And I bought them because I admire them. It takes a lot of guts and determination to go door to door to sell some stuff that nobody actually needs. It takes a lot of mental power to have door slammed in your face and yet to continue on knocking at the next door. And it takes a lot of will power to stand in the middle of a busy street and try to persuade people to buy the cheap imitation stickers.

I half buy into their story of raising funds for their studies and I like to believe that it is true and it is not a rip off especially that nice boy selling the stickers. This is not the first time I bought the stickers from him. In fact I make it a habit to buy something from him every time I see him never mind that I don’t need the stickers. I just gave them all away to my colleagues for their children. On the most recent purchase, I managed to find out that he is a first year student at Ngee Ann Poly and selling the stickers to raise funds for his studies. The baggage tag and pen were also from 2 youths who claimed to be selling them to raise funds for their studies.

I know I shouldn’t be encouraging people to sell imitation and rip off over priced items but somehow I hope these young people do raise some money for their studies and nothing goes to those syndicate.  And I also like to think that I earn some good karma for helping these young people a wee little bit.