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people: Ai Lin
Here is more about Ai Lin in her own words ...
How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?
I spent my early years in small towns in Malaysia. On weekends, I chased butterflies on the hills with my elder brother, and tried to help him net small fish for his aquarium. Fortunately for the little critters, I mostly caught nothing, but was infected with a permanent affinity for natural spaces.
For some obscure reason, I pursued a 1st degree in earth science, and spent 20 years working in the field of seismic exploration (for the oil industry). At some point, I decided to take some of the fuzziness out of my understanding of environmental issues, and completed an M.Sc. in environmental engineering at NUS.
I also started volunteering as a guide at Sungai Buloh Nature Park (now SB Wetland Reserve), then at the Botanic Gardens, and then Chek Jawa came into the picture and there wasn't time for any place else! Chek Jawa is when years of scuba diving and countless hours spent going through books on marine life were put to good use. I enjoyed nature guiding so much that I decided to see if I could make a living at it, and that is what I am working towards now.
What do you get out of working for nature?
In the natural world, everything happens in its own time. Sometimes it's slow rock-time, or tree-time, and sometimes it's ant-in-a-hurry time. Being in touch with these rhythms keeps me grounded. Infecting others with the rhythms makes me happy!
What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
Anything worth learning or doing takes time, sometimes a great deal of time, often more time than is actually available.
What are some of your current projects?
I am reshaping my life around outdoor guiding (I am a fully licensed tour guide), enrichment teaching, and storytelling. Nature is a giant story-web, sparkling with true-life tales of creatures great and small. The same can be said of human history and culture. Storytelling, of course, also has a fantasy element which is wonderful for my "inner child"! Getting into this doesn't leave much time for volunteer work. Researcher Ken Shono is currently doing a re-census of the trees in some areas that were replanted as part of National Parks' reforestation efforts, and I want to spend some time helping with that (along with other volunteers). This will involve counting, measuring and identifying the survivors.
More on how YOU can make a difference too...
these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
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