first time on Chek Jawa? It was a magical predawn visit. In
my feeble torchlight were wondrous creatures I previously saw only in
books. At dawn, the full awesome splendor and immense size of the flats
were revelead. Then I discovered Chek Jawa was to be reclaimed in 6 months'
Many visits quickly followed. I attempted to share the magic with others
through my first website
about Chek Jawa.
To me, however, a visit to Chek Jawa is more than just discovering plants
and animals. Chek Jawa attracts special people. On every visit, I almost
never fail to make a new friend or share good times with old friends.
Why I want to guide at Chek Jawa? Chek
Jawa belongs to every Singaporean. It is almost sinful to enjoy such a
surreal place all alone. Shortly after my first visit in mid-2001, I felt
compelled to share Chek Jawa with as many people as possible before it
was lost to reclamation.
I simply became a self-appointed Chek Jawa guide, and guided whoever was
already at Chek Jawa or brought groups who wanted to go. I even forced
a few people who didn't want to go. It quickly became an obsession. When
Chek Jawa guiding was organised, it was natural that I would continue
as a guide.
What do I hope to achieve as guide on Chek Jawa?
While the need to share Chek Jawa is no longer as desperate as it was
before deferment of reclamation; we still only have a few years before
deferment is up.
Guides are vital to help introduce this wonderful place to as many people
as possible. A knowledgeable guide helps visitors see more and better
understand Chek Jawa. There are many special creatures and interesting
relationships that I myself did not realise until after many visits. For
example, did you know there are tiny transparent shrimps that live on
the giant carpet anemones?
Guides also help visitors interact with nature without endangering themselves
or Chek Jawa. The unaware can easily damage Chek Jawa.
As suitably low spring tides last only for a short time, guides help make
the most out of limited time to see the best that Chek Jawa has to offer.
What I enjoy about guiding on Chek Jawa?
Chek Jawa touches everyone. Even the most hardened urbanite eventually
succumbs under its spell. For some, it is the vast expanse of sky, sea
and sand: a rare experience in Singapore. For others, the amazing profusion
of life, great and small, that is revealed at every step. A world not
often revealed to non-divers, and one that does not require an expensive
plane ticket to visit.
It is a joy to watch the child in each visitor emerge on Chek Jawa, exploring
a gentle wilderness, eyes opening to natural mysteries. What I enjoy even
more than guiding is helping to develop new guides.
And it never gets boring! There is always a new discovery, often pointed
out by a sharp-eyed visitor. New questions fire the quest for deeper understanding.
And new friends to make, new ideas to exchange.