24 September 2005

Pasir Panjang Heritage Trail Special Edition!

As the 60th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War approached, the heritage trail guides bounded into action to present the Heritage Trail special 60th Anniversary Edition! As you may know, the Heritage Trail is normally conducted every year on the 12th Feb, which is the anniversary of the start of the Battle of Pasir Panjang, also famous for being one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in Singapore during World War II. The other time we conduct this trail is in July, which is part of the Heritage Fest activities.

This time round, however, the 60th Anniversary Memorial Edition proved to be a multisensory, engaging and exciting journey that even surprised the guides themselves! The nature guiding portion remained the same (as it was already exciting enough, with all the green crested lizards, happy white crested laughing thrushes and oriental whip snakes basking in the morning sun) After the initial nature walk through the Kent Ridge Park, the participants were brought to the Reflections at Bukit Chandu. This was the part that was new, exciting and absolutely unexpected.

It was a play. A play about the wartime period. But it was not just a play that you watch while sitting on a small red plastic chair. It was one that managed to momentarily transport each and every one of the participants back to the war torn Singapore of 1942.

The sounds, the people, the fear and the war. All was brought before the eyes of the participants.

But you'd have to be there to feel what I've feebly tried to describe. But I do have to say that it was a very fun trail, for all of the participants and the guides too. But for this exciting event, we only held it for 2 days, on the 3rd and 4th of September 2005, and only for 2 sessions per day, once at 9am and the other at 11am.

The reason for the short duration and lowered number of session was that the guides were already low on energy after the July Heritage Fest and the small pool of guides further limits this activity. So, in hope of improving the situation, we appeal to anyone who is interested in this event to sign up as a guide! Yes! Come join us and help to extend this exciting event to others!

If you are interested, please send an email to Kiah Shen at tikigu@yahoo.com.sg ! Our next event will be around the 12th of Feb 2006, but if we have enough new guides, we may consider making this Trail a quarterly event! Do join!

11 September 2005

ICCS 2005 - SBWR

I came down today with a reassuring sense that things will turn out fine, from all the recce trips and correspondence we have had thus far, . The site buddies and the man and woman of the hour, Yueat Tin and Wei Siong, were really efficient in dispatching the various schools (SAS, United World College, Beatty Sec, Anderson Sec, Victoria JC, NUS). The site buddies (Marcus, Boon Ann, Kai Scene and Grace) were really good in briefing the participants and organizing the cleanup at respective sites.

The advance party set up the HQ at the center of the Kranji extension, a simple setup of only ground sheets, extra gloves and trashbags. By the time I did a quick check of all the sites, and proceeded back to the carpark, a steady stream of participants, dressed in the blue sleeved ICCS T shirt (nice design!), had already begun moving along the path towards our HQ. This is where NUS will branch off to try and link up with SAS further down. The site buddies quickly sprung into action and set the participants going. Soon the beach is covered with people trying to move around the mud properly, picking up litter, collecting data. No major crisis occurred, except that since this time round we did not do wet ops, we had to lug all the trash out using wheel barrows and big hand pushed carts. This was the most tiring part, fortunately Marcus had a team of strong men who rose to the occasion and did lots of trips carting the rubbish out. Hey Marcus, we need these men next year!

We wrapped up everything around 1pm. Which was much earlier than last year. On the whole things went smoothly. Thank you all for your unreserved help!

Some points which occurred to me during the exercise.

Siting of ‘Field HQ’ is good. We could move logistics faster this way. And we can monitor things better from there as well.

Logistics - More is better than ‘just enough’. The only situation which occurred was that we ran out of trashbags towards the end of the cleanup.

Oi Yee is fantastic as safety officer, though you were not involved in action, we could proceed with things assured with the knowledge that you are there in case anything happens. Luckily your services were not needed. Thank you so much and have a nice trip in Silk Road.

Ria was great as a photographer. Thanks Ria! Looking forward to see your fantastic photos.

Airani was really professional, she did not come out of her office throughout the entire operation and went back straight to key in data without lunch!

Water - Hmm... I’m probably going to get skinned alive by Siva for asking this, but we had water last year and I did not check if there is this year. Providing water is a double edged sword for we will generate more wastes using disposable cups!

Reforestation sites - SBWR has done extensive planting along KR 3 and 4. Since the beach is really clean there, the participants had to search really hard to find trash and in their movement, they may accidentally damage the seedlings planted. We could push most participants to help support NUS and SAS next year. This will ease the impact on the reforested areas.

Trash movement - thanks to Chen Kee, Angeline and the rest of the team coming from various sites, the tired wheel barrow team got a much needed reinforcement towards the end of the cleanup, which was the hardest as we are getting trash from SAS. For next year, we may need more manpower to move trash out.

Overall, I had a good time! Hope to join in the fun again next year.