Sunday, March 30, 2008

Coming soon to a TV screen near you... we get naked!

While some of the Naked Hermit Crabs were out there risking life and limb, braving the elements and leading other folks around Chek Jawa, a few other crabs were all comfy and prim and proper inside a television studio on Caldecott Hill. The reason? Because we're going to be on TV! *girlish scream*

The Channel 5 talkshow Rouge, hosted by the lovely Eunice Olsen, decided to do a feature on the Naked Hermit Crabs in conjunction with their Earth Day episode, to be screened on April 20th. And so, November and I arrived at Mediacorp studios for the recording.

The location was a far cry from our usual native habitats, and we had to dress up for the event. It's like a hermit crab switching over to a prettier shell! We certainly looked very different from our usual unglamorous, sweaty, smelly, soggy selves out on the shores (though the audiences did get a glimpse of November in her usual field garb from the Semakau footage).

Eunice is an extremely nice and approachable lady, and she was fascinated with our name and the things we Naked Hermit Crabs do. She also shared with us how as a child, her father would bring her out to places like Seletar Island and the Malaysian coast and look for seashore life at low tide.

The recording went great, and we spoke on various topics, such as the rich biodiversity of our shores and the threats they face, stressed the importance of raising awareness, and what people can do to help. November brought up the Triple Acts: eXplore, eXpress, and ACT! We also mentioned how this year is the International Year of the Reef.

Eunice was very pleased when we conferred her the status of honorary Naked Hermit Crab and gave her a guide badge. She was even more pleasantly surprised when we presented her with a copy of Dr. Chua's Singapore Splendours and pointed out the photo of the Giant Reef Worm, whose genus name happens to be Eunice! I know, it was a nice coincidence that really worked. And all the members of the audience went home with their own copy of the Guidesheet to the Amazing Marine Life of the Southern Shores of Singapore.

We got a real behind-the-scenes look at how television programmes like Rouge are produced and filmed, with all the editing and re-recording and bloopers. It really takes a lot of time and effort just to film a single half-hour episode.

(L-R): Michael, Lois, Eunice, November, Ivan and Vernetta

Besides us, the show recorded segments featuring people from 2 other very different groups doing their own bit for the community at large; there was the very brave and dedicated Lois Ng, who founded Studio You, which employs and empowers people with disabilities.

As well as the passionate representatives from ONE (SINGAPORE), which helps raise awareness of the fight to eradicate poverty; President Vernetta Lopez and Co-founder Michael Switow came to talk about the work they have been doing, especially with homeless migrant workers in Singapore who have nowhere to turn to for assistance.

So in general, I think it will be a very eye-opening show for TV audiences on how we as individuals can act to literally save the world in various aspects.

Take-home message: Each of us has the potential to contribute and help make the world a brighter and better place in our own special way.

Lots of thanks go out to fellow crabs LK and Bian, and Hannah and Vyna from Team Seagrass for coming to lend us their support, the other members of the audience for their applause, Miss Eunice Olsen and the other guests for such a delightful afternoon of sharing, and of course to the hardworking crew at Mediacorp like Vivian, Rahmat and Clarabelle for such a fun and memorable experience and for making this all possible.

We're certainly looking forward to having Eunice (the person, not the worm) join us on our walks in future. Maybe we could be fortunate enough to have Eunice (the person/the worm) come face to face with Eunice (the person/the worm)...

(L-R): LK, Vyna, Bian and Hannah

So now, not only are there Naked Hermit Crabs running around on Sentosa and Chek Jawa, in the near future you'll also see some Naked Hermit Crabs running around on TV!

Chek Jawa - Public Guided Walk 30 March 2008

Selected pictures from the Walk...

Looking at the fiddler crabs with their huge pincers.

Cotton-stainer bugs on a sea-hibiscus tree leaf. They all seem to congregate on one to three leaves of a tree. Procreation at work? All waiting their turn?
Learn more about them here :

A mangrove tree seedling.

A tiny crab well camouflaged in the mud...notice the snail shell close by.

Oooh, this was so interesting...snake skin moult! Coult it be from a tree-snake or a cobra?

CH explaining about the intertidal zone. It was a very hot day although we all thought it was going to rain heavily due to a light drizzle at the beginning of the walk.

RT capturing everyone's attention with an amusing story about banarcles and how they procreate!

looking for fish...

Some tiny fry taking shelter below the floating pontoon.

Next the resident huge school of small fish...these always seem to hide below the boardwalk.

Sharing thoughts on the flora and fauna of chek jawa with visitors from Belgium and Singaporeans alike.

This pretty little gecko showed up. Notice the barbed tail segments!

Naked thoughts on Chek Jawa, Mar 08 public walk

It's time again for the end-of-the-month free public walks on the Chek Jawa boardwalk by the Naked Hermit Crabs.
We had another great day out sharing the shores with about 30 members of the public. Despite, the high water, there was lots to see!As usual, the youngest participants seemed to see the most!We had several enthusiastic family groups, who braved the sudden hot sun after a brief shower, to explore our shores.And had a marvelous time!There were also several tourists in our groups, and they too loved Chek Jawa.So do come join us for our next free public walk on 27 Apr (Sun). Bring your friends and family! See you then!

Thank you to the Naked Ones who guided today: Alyce, Marcus, Chay Hoon and Andy.

All the entries are on the Naked Hermit Crab Guestbook on wildsingapore flickr.

Naked thoughts on Chek Jawa by OBS Part 2

The Naked Hermit Crabs were back on Chek Jawa to introduce the boardwalk to another group of enthusiastic Outward Bound Singapore trainers.Again, showing what a lively group photo should look like!

And what an inspiring interest they showed, particularly of Marcus' introductions. And everyone took copious notes!At the end of the trip, they shared some thoughts for the Naked Hermit Crab Guestbook. Here's some of these thoughts...

Nothing escaped these keen observers. Not even the latecomers who were foiled by the road closure this morning on the Changi coastal road.'Slacker' raptors that use the hot updrafts as escalators.

And complex interactions in a web.As well as the love situation among fiddlers.

Bats, durians and mangroves.Here's the big picture...Plus networks within the mangroves and inter-connections among the animals found there.Dreams of a crab.And the fantastic panoramas of Chek Jawa.All the entries are on the Naked Hermit Crab Guestbook on wildsingapore flickr.

Thank you OBS Team for coming for this introduction: Li San for arranging the walk, Kenny, Elgene, Raymond, Bibi, Steven, Chew Ling, Kiah Hong, Edwin and for making it finally to Chek Jawa: Zippy and Li Peng.

And to Marcus and Chay Hoon for being a part of the introductions.

More about the walk with OBS on the wildfilms blog.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

An OBS morning at CJ with the NHC ! - 29 March 2008

We started off with a great kampung breakfast at Pak Ali's shop.

As soon as we got to CJ, Mr Ah Ha, our van driver took out his sickle blade showed us how raw rubber sap was obtained. Fresh raw rubber!

Next, we examine some civet cat poo-poo. Smells vaguely like steamed pau dough. Hmmm.

Was this what the civet cats ate? Ixora fruit.

The group had an Intro into the well which served the kampung and also the family graves from long ago. Ria kept us all captivated with a story of how spiders "do it". Further along , we found out about the mangroves and the 6 different ecosystems special to CJ. The trees flanking the boardwalk had different types of root systems and we also managed to see (and smell) the effects of oxygen-less decomposition of organic material.

Some other things we saw...
Fiddler crab...big is GOOD! and other 'useless' things were discussed receiving much laughter.


Horshoe Crab...

Strange prints at a mud-lobster mound. Otter? Civert Cat?

View from the top of Jejawi Tower....Can you see the remnants of the Vietnamese Boat?

View from the bottom...are these the crab-eating frog tadpoles?

Betel-nut anyone?...It'll make your teeth very red!

Oysters at the floating pontoon supports.

Tongkat's sooo long!

Someone spotted this huge congregation of bugs on some sea hibiscus leaves. That is a lot!

At House #1, penning some thoughts on the morning's learning!