Ria Tan at the National Geographic Store

Date December 3, 2011


Ria Tan gave a wonderful and inspiring talk today at the National Geographic Store at Vivocity. Together with the crowd that included grandparents and children, Ria took us to explore some remote, and not-so-remote coastlines in Singapore, all in air-conditioned comfort! The crowd 00hed and ahhed as Ria went though a small collection of photographs she’s amassed over the past 10 years (did you know that Ria has a collection of over 2000 photographs on her website?!)


Because Ria has spent so many years documenting and exploring our shores, she gave us an insight into the changes she has observed over the years. She told us how Singapore’s marine creatures have struggled to survive with challenges such as coastal reclamation, climate change and disasters such as oil spills. We are fortunate to have a collective of dedicated and super motivated volunteers who relentlessly explore and record changes they observe along our shores. Ria explained that we have a lot to learn from studying our local marine life, and that they are like books which we still don’t yet know how to read! She said that scientists have a lot of work to do, and ordinary citizens like you and I can help scientists by exploring our shores, which Ria likened to a massive librabry, and help scientists find more “books” to “read”! All of us, regardless of our skill sets, have a very important role to play if we are to protect our precious and fascinating marine life as we progress as a developed country.


Ria brought some posters and calenders to give out to people in the audience who asked questions. Some people also stayed back to chat more about our shores with volunteers like Dinesh and myself. Some of the audience had volunteered with the Mega Marine Survey or attended guided walks at Chek Jawa, and it was nice to know that they have stayed in touch with our activities. There were also many new people who, after listening to Ria’a talk, wanted to know how they can get out there and start exploring! Yay!

Ria’s Talk about the “Secret Shores of Singapore” is the third of four talks that will be held at the National Geographic Store during this Marine Month. There is also an exhibition that will be at the store or another week. So even if you were not able to make it for the talks, do drop by for a look-see. Hopefully, we’ll see you next week at the store as we explore another very special and unique habitat in Singapore – sea grass meadows! What is sea grass and why should we care? Attend Siti M. Yaacub’s talk next week to find out!

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