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  wild people: Cheng Puay

Cheng Puay is among those who recently got seriously "bit" by the nature bug :-) He is obviously enjoying it tremendously and has been contributing to significant projects. He is also an avid photographer.

Cheng Puay was among the most enthusiastic of the volunteers at the recent Chek Jawa transect 2004, coming for the prep sessions to help stake out the transect lines, and taking lots of photos.

During the this trip, he took a photo of a sting ray. Later, it turned out that it might have been a new record for Singapore (possibly an electric ray of the genus Narcine).
Alas, a specimen could not be collected for a confirmed identification.

We nature photographers hate this kind of hair-tearing situation :-(

Here is more about Cheng Puay in his own words ...

How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?
I guess this was a very gradual process. When I was young I was already in the gradening club where I used to water all the plants in my school compound, the green bug bit me then; and I had the priviledge of being taught by really good teachers and mentors which just fueled my passion for nature - botany and conservation in particular

My first formal involvement will be helping out as a photographer in Biodiversity of Singapore Conference in 2003. In there I was really amazed, and inspired, by the huge assemblage of locals and foreigners who are passionate about nature in Singapore. I felt then I could help and maybe contribute my bit as well.

As a part time tutor in NUS, I would take advantage of my position to 'brain wash' students about the importance of conservation and appreciation of wild life. :P

What do you get out of working for nature?
Rather than to say working for nature, I think nature also works for me. There is nothing better than taking a walk in the forest, enjoying the unique serenity and calm not found anywhere else. And the wonder in spotting an elusive snake, lizard or sighting a plant in bloom.

Of course there is the satisfaction in knowing that what you have done has helped in preserving the viability of the habitat and the organisms living there.

Along the way, I have the good fortune of getting acquainted with famous personalities like Ria, Dr Chua and Siva. It is enjoyable learning about their experiences and what keeps them going after so long.

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
Well, I believe in having fun while getting the job done properly. Its not a difficult thing to do when working for nature!

What are some of your current projects?
I had the priviledge of being involved in the Chek Jawa transect 2004, now getting ready for the International Coastal Cleanup 2004.

Cheng Puay is 29 and and he is currently a teacher-to-be. He volunteers as a Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Toddycat, is a part-time nature guide and with the Student Care Service.
Posted by raycek Posted on 24/08/04 15:21
In Tioman, Cheng Puay went all the way out to help me photograph the giant freshwater prawn at midnight!!! Who else would do that? The electric ray looks promising for the next book?

Posted by otterman Posted on 31/08/04 08:51
Cheng Puay's involvement at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium 2003 might have been his first exposure to the local conservation scene but we've had our eye on him for a long time.

Essentially since he stepped into NUS, and got involved in research in mangroves and a lot of teaching. He has the instinct to do empirical research and is an educator at heart. What a wonderful combination!

He is also game for anything - having finished the Chek Jawa Transect 2004, he and a new team from The Next Generation are handling operations coordination at Kranji Mangroves for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2004. It will be its eight year of operations.

He has a few other projects lined up with the Raffles Museum, so expect to hear of his gung ho attitude and see more of that huge grin.

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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