Sungei Tampines

Sungei Tampines used to be a bare concrete canal or storm rain as the authorities called it. This was how it looked like in 2012.

Then the Public Utilities Board’s ABC program came and Sungei Tampines was transformed into a beautiful little “river”.

But then recently I noticed something strange. The creepers on the fair bank (photo left) has been removed leaving the bare concrete bank again. I was shocked!

I promptly send off a query via the One Singapore app and a few days later, someone from the PUB contacted me to explain the reason. And my suspicion was correct. The cause was this.

Stink Bug! There seems to be a major infestation of them. I first spotted them sometime late last year and recently in February noticed that they were all over the railings. In fact, I actually reported this via the One Singapore App as well. 

The eggs are everywhere. On the plants and on the railings.

So I supposed its inevitably that the authorities took the easy way out and remove the source of the infestation which they claimed is the creepers. And they have informed that they are planting new slower growing creepers as a replacement although I yet to see them.  Oh well, I suppose I just have to wait……….

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!

Illegal Fishing at Sungei Tampines

This morning while out running at Pasir Ris Park, observed a man kayaking on Sungei Tampines. Noticed he stopped his kayak somewhere on the left bank near the river mouth and he pulled up a drift net. Went over to take a look. There were 3 men who appeared to have cleared a small patch of the vegetation and set up a rest corner and launch area for their fishing. There were 2 drift nets hung up to dry between the trees. Scattered around were some chairs, boxes and even a hammock.

Drift nets not only catches fish indiscriminately but will also trap the many birds that thrive in Pasir Ris Park that feeds on the fish in the rivers such as the heron, egrets and kingfishers. Even the water monitor lizard and otters can be trapped  in the almost invisible net and will drown.

This is Sungei Tampines flowing out to the sea looking from the bridge between Park A & Park B

Noticed the yellow kayak on the left of the photo just below the vegetation

Crossing the bridge from Downtown East side, the entrance to the clearing is on the right of the bridge and just after the short path on the far left of the photo

The entrance through this small break in the vegetation

Inside the clearing the fishermen has erected shelters and other amenities

There is a net hanging up to dry between the trees. Zoom in on the photo to see it clearly. It just goes to show how invisible the net is and how unsuspecting animals such as otters and monitor lizard can be caught in it. And if it is left hanging at night, bats and other night birds and even civet cats can be trapped while moving through the vegetation.

This has been reported through the One Service app and hopefully swift action will be taken by the appropriate department soon although I am not hopeful knowing how unresponsive our government agencies can be where it does not concern loss of human life

#Nparks #acres #nea#naturesocietysingapore #notodriftnet #keepourottersafe#otterwatchsingapore

Getting Slower

I used to be able to run a sub 6 minutes pace fairly easily. Now I struggle to even do a sub 6.30 pace. I console myself with all sort of reasons.  I getting older; less mileage; no race to train for blah blah blah. But I know I am only fooling myself. I have many friends who are older than me who seem to run faster and faster with age. I have friends who runs once or twice a week and yet are able to fly during their runs. So what ail me?

Then it hit me one morning as I was plodding along on one of my run. Out of the blue, I suddenly saw this:dsc_1801

Now where did that sign come from? I must have run here many many times yet never noticed it. Surely it wasn’t there the last time I came by? Then more and more variation of the sign appeared:



Then it hit me! There it was. SLOW.  Somehow somewhere perhaps someone up there was telling me something. To slow down.

And so I now know the reason why I been getting slower and slower. No, the signs didn’t appear overnight. In fact they were there all along. Just that I was too busy running to see them but somehow the message has sublimely went into my mind and my mind and body had subconsciously reacted to it. Whew!! and I thought all along there was something wrong with me. So now I know this is there to send me the most obvious message. whatsapp-image-2016-10-25-at-9-21-35-pm

Clearing the Trays

Singapore has this perpetual problem of getting people to return their food plates and trays to a central collection point unlike say in Japan and South Korea where it is an auto process. And the surprising thing is not that Singaporean don’t know how to return their trays. They do it in schools when young and when they travel to Japan and other countries where it is the culture and practice to do so. So why not in Singapore?

The other day I was returning my tray at a food centre in town. The collection rack nearest to me was full and I remarked on that to a elderly male cleaner. Immediately I got an earful from him which was totally uncalled for.

Unlike the central collection point in overseas restaurants, in our local food courts and food centres, the collection points are just some racks spread out throughout the premises. Unfortunately, these racks are  not very big and mostly not cleared so the trays pile up so there is no space for other new trays. The problem here is that the cleaners continue to clear the trays and dishes from the tables and neglect the collection points. Or worse, they bring all the collected trays to these points and leave them there. So if the collection points are full, people got good reason not to return their own tray.

The attitude of the cleaners is another problem leading to this disgusting habit. This is not the first time I got an earful from a cleaner. It has happened a few times at Maxwell food centre. I think these elderly cleaners are fearful they will lose their job if everybody returns their own trays. And if the cleaners continues to scold people who return trays then I guess most people will not be returning their trays any time soon.

Another reason I think we don’t return our trays is that the cleaners remove the trays away and the diners are left with a number of plates and bowls which we can’t possibly stack and bring to the collection point. I make it a habit to return my tray and whatever stuff but I must admit I am stumped at times when the tray is removed or there are no tray as the hawker served the food to the table and I end up with multiple plates of leftover which I do not see how I can managed to bring to the collection points in my office attire if I do not have a tray to put them on.DSC_1441

But of course all these are just excuses. Really the true reason, is most of us Singaporean are lazy and pampered and spoilt by a whole army of doting grandparents and maids and will not lift a finger to return their own trays never mind that they themselves will face the same frustration of getting a clean table to eat at.

So how do we get people to return their own trays? Timbre+ has come up with a deposit system that seems to be working. But I think something like that can only work in a centralised food court where the deposit can be collected from a central location and not in a government run food centre where there is no central point of collection.

Some people have suggested giving some sort of rewards. Again this is difficult to implement in our local food centre. Maybe the Kopitiam or Food Republic chain can do this. Return the tray get a discount slip for the next purchase. But for this to work, the discount must be pretty steep otherwise most people won’t bother.

So what can work? There has been many campaigns. By NEA; by some civic organisation and even some students coming up with all sort of catchy slogans and programs all of which frizzle out to a pre-matured death.

Me think desperate time calls for desperate actions. If reasoning and nice campaign won’t work, perhaps some shock treatment might just do the trick. Stop all the cleaners from clearing the tables and just put them at various central collection points to receive the trays. If diners don’t want to end up at eating at tables stacked with dirty plates and bowls, then they just have to do the clearing themselves. And hopefully, just hopefully they do it long enough, they will get into the habit of doing so. Just like queuing up for the trains. That used to be almost non-existent but it is now a common sight at all the stations. So maybe just maybe one day we will no longer see sights like this:DSC_1361

Those HDB Void Deck Railings

There is this mini hullabaloo over some railings at some void decks in Queenstown. Unhappy residents are complaining that the railings serve no purposes and took up valuable space in the void deck which could otherwise be used for other purpose.

Over in Pasir Ris we also got similar railings at some void decks. Here are 2 of them. DSC_0700


On first look I do agree that they don’t serve much purpose. They don’t look good at all. And unlike those at the Queenstown’s void decks, there isn’t much of a void deck here. Just the lift lobby. Then it hit me… maybe the intention is to prevent vehicles from cutting across the lift lobby and knocking down the unsuspecting residents coming out of the lift.  But wait! What vehicle under the block? Maybe the odd bicycles? But if that was the case, instead of railings wouldn’t be it more useful to install benches? Serve the same purpose but more practical use?

Then in a moment of enlightenment I realised that the smart people at HDB or the Town Council have much greater foresight than us uncouth residents. You see – they are thinking much further ahead than most of us. A bench will only allow people to sit down and maybe lie down and nothing much else. On the other hand, railings are multi-purpose.

  1. It can be used to “park” bicycles bicycle
  2. It can be used to hang laundry. Especially useful when it rainLaundry
  3. And for those enlisting for NS, they can use it practice one of the obstacle station on it or do parkour Parkour
  4. And last but not least – people can still sit on it while waiting for the liftManSo those useless railings are not so useless after all!

PS: Excuse the poor photoshopped job.