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Straits Times 19 Aug 06
Mr Joseph Lai and Chek Jawa
MR JOSEPH Lai is a happy man. His intimate relationship with Tanjung Chek Jawa is like a never-ending romantic love affair.
Five years ago, the botanist stumbled across the beautiful beach in Pulau Ubin. It was love at first sight. The richness of the marine habitat, showcasing starfish, sea horses, octopi, anemones and sponges of different colours, left him bewitched.
Then, to his horror, he discovered the beach was to be reclaimed for eventual military training. He fought hard. During a public forum organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to discuss land use, he made an impassioned plea to the Government to save Chek Jawa, raising the issue in public for the first time.
After a long battle that found the support of other conservationists as well, he won.
And like a suitor who finally snagged the girl of his dreams, the happiness lingers even till today. 'I am truly happy for her,' said the 48-year-old who maintains a website for nature lovers at www.eart-h.com
'I could never have had imagined some of the things that took place these last couple of years in which she was adopted by the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank and even had a series of stamps printed in her honour. That's awesome indeed!
'Where steadfast love and dedication is committed, a long-cherished dream can come true.'
Spoken like a true Romeo.
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