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  wild people: Victor Yue

I first "met" Victor when I joined his nature-singapore mailing list. It was and is the only major mailing list for discussions about nature in Singapore. It provides interesting insights into the concerns of people passionate about nature in Singapore. To subscribe to the mailing list, send a blank email to nature-singapore-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I was deeply touched by Victor's spontaneous support and encouragement of wildsingapore efforts, from the Chek Jawa guidebook to re-issuing some of the wildsingapore postings on his mailing list. All without having met in person.

Eventually, Victor and I met; of course at a nature-related event—an exhibition to showcase nature. How wonderful it was, to finally put a face to the friendly person I got to know over the internet.

Although he modestly says he is only "armchair nature-watching", as a moderator of one of the longest lasting discussion lists with among the largest membership, Victor has truly made a difference in keeping nature alive in the hearts and minds of Singaporeans. Good, committed moderators of mailing lists are rare. And greatly appreciated, though not said often enough by those who are on the mailing lists (hint hint to those on Victor's mailing lists).

Victor is also involved in PDA-based tours of Singapore's nature places. A ground-breaking effort to use the latest technology to raise nature awareness. Victor debunks the common perception that only teenagers actively use the internet and high technology. But of course, Victor is truly young at heart and in action!

Here is more about Victor in his own very modest words ...

How did you first get involved in working for nature in Singapore?
Long long ago, when I was in the Boy Scouts (1966), I took my second class badge and then first class badge, where I had to identify trees and other items related to nature around us. That was the beginning of my encounter with nature, along with many hikes with fellow Scouts. When I was posted to North Carolina, USA, on job assignments, I was introduced to birdwatching. And looking at how national parks are managed in the States and how the people treasure their national heritage, it set me thinking about my country. (^^)

I began to join in the birdwatching outings with the Nature Society, Singapore ... well, until the kids arrive and then, we switched to butterfly watching. And when they started schooling and with more pressure at work, it is armchair nature-watching.

That was when I started getting active in moderating email lists. I joined Andrea Hoffmann in co-moderating the nature-singapore@yahoogroups.com, a public email list for like-minded members to share knowledge and views. I also co-moderate with Lawrence of Malaysia, and later, Barry Kent MacKay of Canada to run the international Birds-pix email list, probably the forerunner in the sharing of digiscoped bird pictures. I have yet to meet my co-moderators. (^^) And then, on to the butterfly-pix mailing list with Derrick Marven. And many more ... I also join the birding-pal list, an international list where birdwatchers offer to play host to visiting birdwatchers.

So, my contribution to nature in Singapore is really very small other than trying to get more people to discuss about nature in the email lists. (^^) Although I am still very much a novice birdwatcher, I am glad that I could show visiting birdwatchers, most of them professionals on conference/business meetings in Singapore, a place or two. Almost unknown to the STB statistics, these birdwatchers actually contribute more to Singapore's income. (^^)

[Ria's comment: I asked Victor what he meant by these birdwatchers actually contribute more to Singapore's income, this is his elaboration..] I suppose this is tough to quantify in terms of dollars and cents. From my experience, many birdwatchers (many of whom are professionals) on transit to other parts of the world will choose to stop in Singapore for a day or two to rest and so some birdwatching. So income includes hotels, restaurants and well, some shopping.

Then, there's people coming in to Singapore for business meetings and they are also birdwatchers. For this, they would come in a few days earlier and stay back after the meetings. So, far, I have gone birding with a 747 Captain from England, teachers from England (repeat visitors on transit to Australia/NZ), Americans (on world birding tours, in transit to Bali, VP on photo book printing in Singapore,) Dominican Republic (family following one member's business visit), Australians, Germany (VP of a Bank visiting his bank in Singapore), and others. Many would also stop by the Nature's Niche to get the birdguide. And well, most of these people stay in 5-star and 6-star hotels.

For me, I make more friends. (^^) I would like to try to quantify this so as to justify more work on ecotourism! Just recently, I had dinner with five Japanese ladies, all on return visit to Singapore as they were expatriate wives, and one of them was an active member of Nature Society (Singapore).

What do you get out of working for nature?
I just like plenty of green around me ... like the typical me ... messy, anything that grows, I like it to grow. Each has its place in this world. Satisfaction comes from seeing more people aware of their natural heritage.

What is your approach/personal motto in your work?
Just like the famous story, even saving one starfish is better than doing nothing. Die die must try. Never say die! (^^)

What are some of your current projects? Nothing really, other than co-maintaining the nature-singapore, birds-pix, butterfly-pix, naturepix and orientalbirdingpix list.

Partly out of business and partly out of interests, trying to promote "learning at anyplace and anytime" through PDA tours, i.e., with the PDA via wifi/GPRS, especially on nature in Singapore. This is a consortium formed by Aboutwe, Fujitsu Asia, M1 and V3 TeleTech in response to iDA's call for collaboration on location based services.

Victor is "vintage" as he puts it; at 52 young. His day job is as Manager in Telecommunications Services. You can contact Victor via his nature-singapore mailing list: yuess@singnet.com.sg

Victor also has a website about Pearl's Hill Park which he modestly says "is so old and has not been updated for eons. Since then, the young kids and new web design technologies have taken over. I was still using the sgml (father of all the mls) days of manual tagging. (^^) "

Posted by otterman Posted on 10/08/04 12:12
Victor and I have not met although we have been on nature-singapore for some 6 years now! He has been very supportive and proactive and is a true internet friend. In fact, now I feel we should only meet after 10 years on some significant day we should choose and celebrate the event!

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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