Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Rainforests

July 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Yesterday, Itchyfingers attended the launch of the fourth and last book of the PRIVATE LIVES series. This book focuses on the biodiversity of our rainforests.

The invitation cum poster of the launch

The previous three books of the same series produced by the Raffles Museum
of Biodiversity of Singapore (RMBR) and the National University of
Singapore (NUS). Itchyfingers are lucky to be involved in both the second book
about mangrove, as well the latest book on rainforests

It was really a pleasant surprise when Professor Peter Ng announced that there will be a fifth Private Lives book in the pipeline! He jokingly said that it’s because ‘four’ is inauspicious number in Chinese…hahah…But it’s nice as the first book was about lives above the sea (intertidal) and the last one will be about lives beneath it…

The coral reefs!!!! Something that I may not have much chance to see as
I can’t swim properly to save myself, let alone scuba dive to see the
magical underwater world….

The introduction by Prof was quite short this time round, and the talk ended with this slide which made many among the audiences let out a ‘wow’….

A sneak preview of the model of the new natural museum to be ready 
somewhere in 2014. Sadly, it will no longer be called the Raffles Museum
of Biodiversity of Singapore (RMBR) 

Guest-of-honour, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Information,
Communications and the Arts getting ready to launch the book. Ironically,
he had to cut the ‘tree’ in order to present the book. The idea being, hopefully
we will be able to preserve our natural environment and not just leave a
book behind for the younger generations. Hmmm…nice idea. But I doubt
the government can understand this, cos otherwise, Bukit Brown will not
have to give way to roads…

Yeah! Book launched!

Besides the book, a web portal archiving Singapore’s natural history was also launched.

A screen capture of the website of The Digital Nature Archive of Singapore,
or simply the DNA of Singapore. You can find huge archives with scientific
papers, imageries and videos. It is a work-in-progress site as collection
of datas is always on-going 

The Straits Times report on 5 July 2012. Look out for another report
on the book on next Tuesday’s paper!

The book cover features one of our native nocturnal mammals, the Colugo
with a baby, by Mr Norman Lim, who did a study and wrote a book on it 

Spread on birds

Spread on butterflies

Spread on pangolin! I wish to see this in our forests one of these days!

Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore Rainforests, like the previous three books, is suitable for anyone who is interested in nature. You can get your copy at RMBR, NUS Co-op, Nature’s Niche, Select Bookstore and the Library Shop at the Singapore Botanic Gardens at $22 for paperback and $35 for hardcover version. All proceeds from the sale of the books will go towards more nature publications and biodiversity projects! What are you waiting for? 😀

P.S: You can now find the Private Lives books series in Kinokuniya! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Dragon Taking Flight
> Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves 

Dragons Taking Flight

August 8, 2010 at 9:00 am | Posted in itchy mouth | 2 Comments
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In 2008 at the launch of a book that I was involved in – Private Lives: An Expose of Singapore’s Mangroves, I met Mr Tang Hung Bun whom I got to know through my birdwatching friends. I was asking why he seemed to disappear from the birding scene for so long and he replied that he had changed his focus to drangonflies, as it is an area that fewer people are studying and photographing, hence a bigger challenge to him. I was surprised to know that our little island has over hundred of different species of dragnonflies and damselflies – some are so rare that you need to go to a specific area to find them.

Hence I was glad to be part of the team working on the book that Mr Tang had spent so much time and effort on.

On 2 Aug, together with a third book of the Private Lives series, the Dragonfly book was finally launched!

I was late, so not sure who was this gentleman from ExxonMobil. Could
only grab a seat at the back so couldn’t get better photos.. 😦

Prof Peter Ng, Director of Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR),
giving an introduction on the Dragonfly book. Dragonflies and damselflies are
important as they are indicator of a healthy freshwater body. Being predators,
they control the population of other insects, even at the larva stage. Hmm…
these two pictures are not in the book…

Then, he gave an overview on the new freshwater book, which many
would associate just with fish, prawns and crabs. The cover showcases the
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), an uncommon bird which I had
only seen once many years ago in the Kranji area

As with the other Private Lives books, this book has a chapter on species
which were either first discovered in Singapore or named after some part
of the country

The two earlier Private Lives books. Was glad to know that the mangrove
book was very well-received…Yeah…

Prof Ng ended his very enlightening talk with a picture of a Smooth Otter
(lutrogale perspicillata) that created a wave when he appeared in the Bedok
Reservior some years back. Wonder why didn’t I know about that?

The two books officially launched by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the
Environment and Water Resources and the ExxonMobil gentleman. The
books were ‘fished out’ from the aquarium.. :p

My copies of the new book, which only comes in soft cover

Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Freshwaters and A Photographic Guide of Dragonflies of Singapore are now available at RMBR! Once again, Itchyfingers dun get any commission for passing this piece of lobang around…haha… 8)

Also see related posts:
> Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves
> The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves

December 23, 2008 at 12:54 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers first visited the mangroves at Sungei Buloh in the 90s with some friends. We didn’t know much about the plants, insects and birds then but it was a really fun experience for city dweller like me. After joining the Nature Society (Singapore), I had more chances to explore other mangroves to learn more about the lives there. But never did I expect years later, Itchyfingers would be able to be part of the team with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) to do a book on lives of the mangroves in Singapore.

After about two months, with numerous rounds of text and layout changes, finally, on the 24th of November, the book was launched by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at NUS.

My first book

Singapore used to have many mangroves area but today we are left with about 5 per cent of that. Mention mangroves and many people would think of it as muddy, smelly and full of mosquitoes and would never give it a second thought whenever mangroves had to give way to development. The tsunami in 2004 was a rude awakening to many of the importance of mangroves as a natural barrier to the destructive waves. Many of the food that we eat (like fish, prawns and crabs) also come from the mangroves. Plants from mangroves are also important – we get charcoal from the wood of Bakau and atap chee from the seeds of Nipah Palm.

Straits Times report, 22 Nov 08

Straits Times report, 25 Nov 08

Chapter divider with the Shore Pit-viper, a venomous snake. Itchyfingers were
lucky to see it just one month ago

Divider with the Smooth Otter that Itchyfingers saw just the day before…

Some of the birds that can be found in the mangrove habitat

Look out for the different kinds of root system the next time you visit a mangrove!

Some mangrove trees like the one above are called the ‘firefly mangroves’ as they are congregated by fireflies after dark for light display. I had seen the fireflies display at a Malaysia mangroves and they really looked like christmas tree lightings! 😀

If you would like to learn more of the amazing lives of mangroves, Private Lives is definitely a good book to begin with. Christmas is a season of sharing and giving, and the sharing of knowledge certainly would bring much joy to your loved ones!

Private Lives: An Exposé of Singapore’s Mangroves is now available at Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS. Er, Itchyfingers dun get commission for passing this piece of lobang around hor! Hahahah…. 8)

Also see related posts:
> Star Appearance at the Wetland
Smooth Sailor in the Wetland

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