Monday, June 25, 2012

Flying Fish Friends Speak

Say Lin, this is timely indeed. At the very least, your SINGAPORE WILD BOAR CHRONICLES Facebook is a much-needed platform for friends of wild boars to bear witness to experiencing the wonderful and conflict-free interaction we can have with them when we treat them right.

In all my years of nature walks in Pulau Ubin, never once did I have problem with wild boars - even those with piglets in tow. The whole point is treating them right - with respect. The true complexion of the wild boar has been unfairly painted over as aggressive and dangerous by our own fear and ignorance. They are not a danger to us if we treat them right. In fact, people can become a real and present danger to the wild boar by their very own fear and ignorance, and if I may add - stupidity.

What do you expect when (for example) one gestures loudly, disturbs and chases a wild boar? It will run amok. And worse still, it may hurt some innocent bystanders standing in the way of a scared boar. The wild boar cannot be said to 'charge' with dangerous intent; it just ran blindly out of fear of being attacked in the first place.

Left alone and respected, wild boar in our midst is not only a wondrous element of the wild to behold but it is also a great reflection of a kind and tolerant society – one which is wholesome of heart and gentle in spirit and ready to encompass the world and the universe as one’s true home. When I see a macaque or a hornbill  or even a wild boar in an urban enclave like Bishan Park, I am reminded of the greater nature I belong to. I feel like a flying fish unbounded and free. Happy.

The city is only a thin skin by which our life depends on and if we are not careful (for example - painting a bad light on wild boar and promoting further fear and ignorance, and eliminating a gentle creature off the face of our immediate existence) - we allow this thin skin to engulf and suffocate the poetry and song that human life naturally dance to. In which case, we die truly not a human race but a rat race who knew not what living is all about.

Related article: Conservation is Not Enough

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu)

Sighted today in Singapore's last remaining freshwater swamp forest at around noon. It flew into my view while I was surveying the trees. It perched long enough for me to observe it through my trusty binoculars. Such a gorgeously colored bird. My first time seeing it in fact.

Thanks to my friend Jacky I got the identification expertly rendered over the phone. I looked up my classic bird book back at home and here are some interesting notes by G. C. Madoc (An Introduction to Malayan Birds)... a voice from the past...

-- The PINK-HEADED FRUIT-DOVE; Ptilinopus jambu, "punai jambu" or "punai gading" also appears occasionally at the hill-stations, but is typically a bird of the foot-hills. Both sexes are easily distinguished by the white of the abdomen and the beautiful clear grass green of most of the remaining plumage. In addition, the male displays a crimson-lake head and a patch of rose-pink on the breast. (There is a risk of confusing this with the Red-bearded Bee-eater.) It is the same size as most of the Green Pigeons, but is a plumper bird. Though named a Dove, it does not descend to the ground, as far as I know. It performs local migrations in the autumn, and may then be met on the coasts of the Malacca Straits. --

I did not care to try take a photo of the pigeon but held my breath as I admired the fellow up the bough for as long as it stayed. So I have attached above a beautiful photo from ARKIVE with credit gratefully acknowledged here. Happy viewing! : )

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Conservation is Not Enough

Can there be nature conservation without higher principles of good, of love and empathy, and of decency of treatment to all living things whose lives we now acknowledge as every part intertwined with our very own and that without them we cannot possibly survive as a human race?

Conservation is not enough.

"The grand question remains whether most people actually want hearts to be tenderer or harder."
- Joseph Wood Krutch, philosopher of humaneness, once said so beautifully.

Teach our children well. Teach them to have a heart of tenderness, a heart for justice. In Nature, we learn love and reverence for life. We teach them to celebrate and value life. What better way to teach goodness and justice than to start young and learn to feel for the weak - the animals that cannot talk and defend themselves against cruelty - and defend them.

If we give our children this priceless gift of love and empathy and a heart not just soft but strong for the weak, we give them a society that is loving, caring and strong. We build upon what we built in them which they in turn build on.

Violence begets violence. Children learn fast.

Show them inhumane treatment of animals, we sow in them the seed of cruelty - even a disrespect for human life.

Show them callousness, they learn callousness. Shallowness of thought and selfishness of heart take root.

Our society deserve kind and caring children. Our children deserve a humane society.

Can nature conservation do without higher principles? Can we be so careless as to introduce a disease of heartlessness. As a caring Singaporean, I must say a resounding NO.

What about you? Don't you care?

Has conservation grown old and cold and the spirit dead?

Related article: Flying Fish Friends Speak