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  wild people: Adrian

By his own admission, a "goofy botanist", I remember Adrian was really excited when he kindly agreed to help with the Chek Jawa guidebook. He said this was the kind of book he wanted his children to have. But he added that his professors probably wouldn't approve of it. If he gave it to them, he would have to toss the book into their room then run away very quickly.

Adrian works closely with Siva, so I got Siva to share more about Adrian.
Here's what Siva shared about Adrian: Adrian was fated to be a spiritual botanist. Since young, he has enjoyed a companionship with the forest in the holistic sense as well as in its detail. A field-savvy botanist, he was good, tough and reliable company during work in the the southern islands, mangroves, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin.

With his philosophical outlook into teaching, biology and nature, I hastily roped him into The Habitat Group, the National University of Singapore. He helped introduce NUS staff and students to the Kent Ridge ecosystem (which still goes on today), guided Nature Society (Singapore) members and the public at Sungei Buloh, Lower Peirce Reservoir, Fort Canning, Bukit Timah, MacRitchie and other places. He still does this elemental yet critically important work today, and similarly has recruited others into tapping their skills to introduce nature as a place of heritage and solace to the public.

With just six weeks to organise the Biodiversity Symposium 2003, Adrian was the only person I trusted with the task of finalising details with our 30 speakers something that was best done with interest, persuasion and sensitivity; and he accomplished this well. His companionship on campus has not only provided intellectual discourse but also provided the emotional support that fuelled me through tough times.

He now straddles the roles of researcher, educator and father and continues to plot on ways in which we can inject more soul into Singapore!

Here is more about Adrian in his own words ...

How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?
I got really interested in Botany during my undergrad years, then proceeded to work on legumes and then palms for my research. For the work on legumes, I had to look for the species in different forests in Singapore and began to really appreciate how different species evolved into their forms and got selected for different ecological niches.

What do you get out of working for nature?
"Working for" perhaps is a misnomer. I think nature is something we discover and then realise that it is such a deep part of us, we begin to love it and then take care of it and sometimes discover what beautiful processes lie in ecosystems.

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
You must really love it and have a purpose.

What are some of your current projects?
My pet project is looking at the evolution of tropical Palm species from Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and eastwards to the West Pacific.

Siva, time and again saves my botanical soul by getting me involved in guiding and various other projects.

Visit Adrian's website for more information about Adrian and his current projects

Adrian is in his 30s and and he is currently a Researcher with the National University of Singapore (NUS). He occasionally volunteers as a guide.
Posted by bluebabe Posted on 17/08/04 17:18
I remember going for one of my 1st Habitat Ubin biking trips and Adrian persuading us to eat fruits off the roadside (some orange passionfruit thingy that was quite sweet!). One of the first activities that really got me into nature guiding, pretty fond memories :)

More on how YOU can make a difference too...

these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
website©ria tan 2004