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  wild people: Ley Kun

Ley Kun is an amazing woman, a fabulous Chek Jawa guide.

She is the first person I met who actually keeps a nature sketch book with beautiful renditions of the creatures we see on Chek Jawa. She came quietly among us, gently enthusing about Chek Jawa.

Then I discovered she has a full family life with kids AND a huge full-time job which has her travelling extensively. It still boggles my mind how she manages it.

But she insists guiding at Chek Jawa keeps her sane. She even rushes straight in from the airport just to guide, and I suspect she even arranges her travelling schedule around the public guiding dates...

Like the rest of the Chek Jawa guides, Ley Kun considers herself a completely ordinary Singaporean who has been enchanted by the magic of Chek Jawa. And she points out that it is not so easy to be filled with wonder nowadays. Her hope is that Chek Jawa will be spared from development for as long as possible so that other Singaporeans too, can be rejuvenated and rediscover the beauty of life.

Here is more about Ley Kun in her own words ...

How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?
I am one of those ordinary Singaporeans who walked right into the magic spell of Chek Jawa.

It was at the start of my 3-month sabbatical from work in mid 2003 that I decided to spend my time visiting as many nature parks in Singapore as I could. Surfed the net and came upon the fabulous NParks website and, lo and behold, found that any ordinary person in Singapore can become a volunteer with NParks. I signed up quickly and was contacted almost immediately by Boon Sim who asked if I was interested in becoming a Chek Jawa volunteer guide. I said "Yes" without even having been to one of the public walks at CJ!

I've been hooked since.

I've always loved the outdoors. During my junior college days, my friends and I would spend a lot of our time hiking and canoeing. We went all over Singapore to 'ulu' places like Marsiling, Mandai, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin. Such happy memories! It taught me to love and respect nature.

Active outdoor life continued in university, but after that it was downhill all the way. Got caught up with the norms of city life like building a career, getting married, raising children, looking after aged parents.

What do you get out of working for nature?
A lot. There is a sense of peace when I am in a nature setting. It's remarkable. People around me often notice the happy glow on my face after each CJ trip.

Guiding has also introduced a completely new dimension to my life. I have learnt so much this past year and excited by the realization that there is so much more to learn.

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
In particular I enjoy taking school kids on the CJ public walks. It is heart-warming to see the thrill on their faces when they see the carpet anemones at Chek Jawa for the first time.

However after leading so many school groups on CJ trips, my worst fears about Singapore kids are confirmed. Many are out of touch with nature. To me, it is ok if they do not recognize the animals but what saddens me most is to see them so fearful of even harmless common creatures like sea stars and hermit crabs.

With our gentle encouragement, many will gradually explore and be filled with a sense of wonder. Kids are the future. We need to spend time to teach them, to nurture their love and respect for plants and animals.

Doing nature volunteer work is my small contribution to Singapore as well as to Mother Earth. I believe that this generation of human beings consume too much of Earth's resources. I guess a lot of it has got to do with our way of life, and the lack of awareness that there is very little left in world in terms of oil, metals, minerals, wildlife, forests, water and even oxygen. Our rate of consumption is definitely not sustainable. Pity the generations living after us.

What are some of your current projects?
Being a volunteer guide at Chek Jawa is my main project right now. When I find more free time, I hope to get involved in more nature projects.

Ley Kun is forty-something, married and has 2 teenage sons. Her day job is as a project manager working with dealing room technology for banks.
Posted by otterman Posted on 10/08/04 10:40
I feel nature sites in Singapore have hope with people like Ley Kun finding time to sow seeeds of appreciation - and while juggling work, familiy and guiding - wow!

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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