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  wild people: Beng Chiak

As with many others, Chek Jawa brought Beng Chiak and I together.

Beng Chiak was the first to put up a website on Chek Jawa called "Our Threatened Natural Heritage: Chek Jawa". And it is a beautiful, tasteful and information-packed website, featuring lots of photos of endangered plants and animals.

During the period before deferment, Beng Chiak shared her passion for Chek Jawa with her school kids, through walks as well as exhibitions.

Even after deferment, she continued her influence. She was instrumental in her student's effort to produce a children's book on Chek Jawa; the delightful "No Worms for Dinner-A Story of Marine Life in Chek Jawa".

On top of her very busy teaching schedule, Beng Chiak is active in educational efforts of the Nature Society (Singapore) in the Education Subgroup and the Plant group. She helped to design and conduct some of the "Fun with Nature" programmes for primary schools and NSS members. She is also involved in the Plant Rally (a pseudo nature amazing race); the Plant Bus Rally (to learn about our National Heritage Trees) and the Hopea sangal Tree Sculpture Symposium with the Singapore Sculpture Society, NParks and the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

As a teacher, she is trying to introduce more field studies in the curriculum. Her students have done field studies at Labrador and she hopes to get them to volunteer at Labrador too. Her students have started guiding at Lower Peirce and volunteered for the programme to educate the public not to release animals into our reserves. Next year, her students will again be involved in the International Coastal Cleanup programme as they have done from the beginning, and in the Get Wild Camp organised for the Primary school.

Here is more about Beng Chiak in her own words ...

It all began in a reservoir where I spend many beautiful mornings walking with my dad, listening to the bird songs and admiring the greeneries. This early exposure to nature must have left a deep impression in me somehow. I was a happy child in the forest.

Many years of study and work brought me further and further away from nature.

I am busy building a career and answering a calling to teach.

It took my leaving Singapore for a while to return longing to experience that serenity I once felt being with nature. I want to be rooted in the face of losing so much historical, cultural and natural heritage. I joined the Nature Society of Singapore (NSS).

It took an undiscovered jewel at Pulau Ubin to make me take ACTION in what I treasure and grow to love. Chek Jawa is special not just because it is our natural heritage, not just because it is our classroom but it has inspired so many people and have changed so many people's lives. Many of us have the shared collective memories of this place. Many of us have been touched by this place. Many of us have chosen different paths to continue our work in our own way to appreciate, care and protect nature. Chek Jawa is magical for me in this way. I can't recall a place that I know that has affected so many lives and is still influencing. I became an active volunteer.

In my own small way in a classroom and through interactions with young minds, I hope to close the big gulf that the children have between them and their natural environment. Step by step and day by day I hope that they will find the wonderment in nature as they explore and discover the beauty. This is where my role will be.

Beng Chiak's websites include:
"Our Threatened Natural Heritage: Chek Jawa": a website showcasing Chek Jawa's natural and historical features.

Reforestation.org: A joint project with schools, NIE-NTU and NParks to reforest a plot of degraded forest in Mandai. A Nature Learning Camp is conducted annually for selected schools to introduce field studies techniques and to increase the level of appreciation for nature. The website contains resources like lesson plans from the camp, reports of students' projects, pictures and also a step-by-step video of a younger Joe Lai showing us how to plant a sapling! The students will be conducting more investigative studies at the plot this year.

Save the Birds: a site constructed for the International Birdlife competition organised by the Nature Society Singapore. The aim is to introduce to the students the common bird found locally. It even includes bird calls.

"No Worms for Dinner-A Story of Marine Life in Chek Jawa" : a site about this wonderful children's book about Chek Jawa.

Posted by seven Posted on 05/08/04 19:36
Ms Tan is truly an inspirational teacher.

Posted by otterman Posted on 10/08/04 11:05
I was very impressed by the speed at which Beng Chiak put up a webpage for Chek Jawa - she didn't twiddle her thumbs. The rest of us kicked in only after! I use it as an example of taking quick action rather than doing nothing or building castles in the air. Beng Chiak is also a very savvy Macintosh-user and really knows how to put her artistic talents to use there as illustrated during her talk during the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium 2003. One talented lady - RGS is lucky to have her.

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