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  wild thoughts:
What is the value of our natural seashores?

(a personal letter submitted to the Ministry of Trade and Industry as part of their request for feedback on plans to develop the Southern Islands)

What is the price of the Southern Island shores? In dollar and cents, reclaimed and reformed, they could potentially bring in substantial revenues as tourist development. How much will it cost? Will there be sufficient returns on investment in reclamation? What is the potential long term returns? These are issues that are easier to work out than the next question...

What is the value of the Southern Island shores in their natural state? How do they contribute to the soul of the nation, the character of Singaporeans and the kind of bonding that Singaporeans have with each other and with Singapore?

Here's a longer discourse of how our wild natural places can contribute to a stronger Singapore
rich reefs just 15 minutes away from the city

As a highly developed country, Singapore still has some spectacular natural life that we can be proud of.
the shores of st johns are rich The Southern Islands reefs are rich even by world class standards. Singapore reefs have almost half the number of coral species found in the Great Barrier Reef, although Singapore reefs are only 0.0154% that of the Barrier Reef. Singapore's reefs harbour a bewildering variety of lifeforms.

For photos and more about the wildlife on our Southern Shores.

During our Southern Islands photo exhibition at Asian Dive Expo in April this year, one Singaporean told us that he went all the way to Manado to photograph the anemone shrimp in our photo. These shrimps are quite common on our shores and easily viewed even by non-divers during low tide.

Another remarked that he had seen an octopus only once in his 10 years of diving in the region. We shared that we usually saw at least one if not more octopuses on EVERY trip we made to the Southern Shore. These amazing creatures can reach 1m in diameter, are very common on our shores and often encountered even by non-divers at low tide.

our very own "Nemo" on hantu Visitors were also amazed to learn that we have "Nemos" (Clownfish) too. These are quite common, and happily frolick among the fabulous anemones of our shores. Again, they are easily seen at low tide by non-divers. More photos of the delightful fishes.

Our rich reefs, however, are obscured by the poor visibility of our waters, currently about 1.5m on a good day. Our waters are NOT polluted, just full of sediments. At low tide, the waters can be as clear as glass, affording a brief glimpse of the amazing life on our shores. These sediments are caused by the extensive reclamation, dredging and other large scale human activities in the area. In the 1960's, visibility was 10m and our waters were as clear and beautiful as Tioman's.

If we clear up our Southern waters, it is entirely possible that we can have a natural attraction as magnificent as some of Malaysia's and Thailand's dive spots.

How wonderful if Singapore can be an example of a country that attained economic growth while showing sensitivity to the things that matter to the soul of the nation.

Let us the consider the value of our natural assets and not just their price. Let us not be among those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

The Southern Islands are the last of our shores currently spared from extensive reclamation.
kusu island is blessed with rich reefs

A win-win situation would be for the Islands to be developed while preserving the priceless and irreplaceable natural shores. And for all Singaporeans to continue to have access to our natural heritage, a special part of what makes Singapore truly unique.

Best regards, Ria.

these blog entries were first uploaded on MoBlog Singapore! Celebrate Singapore NDP 04
website©ria tan 2004