Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are we Human; or are we Dancer?: Kranji Coastal Cleanup

Its hard to imagine just how horribly DIRTY our coasts are - the bits that do not look like grass/leaves are really Rubbish:

Jiayi and I signed up for the International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICCUD) and went to Sungei Buloh to pick some mangrove trash. Seriously, our socialized conception of Sungei Buloh looks like this:

(source: http://www.freshbrainz.com/2007/10/sungei-buloh-wetland-reserve.html)


A clean stretch of mangrove for migratory birds to settle, for mudskippers to skip gaily about. Girls guides trekking through the path (as I did many light years ago) singing songs, not having a care in the world; families enjoying the clean fresh air....

well, what you did not see is this:

and this (which we named the styrofoam farm), which nearly made me tear my hair out:

These are the beings lurking quietly in the Mangroves. Beneath the leaf litter cover, hidden behind tall grasses... they are like the monsters under your bed, you think they aren't there, but they are. (okay sorry i just read this Neil Gaiman book so im still stuck with his way of writing HAHA)

The very brave Jiayi and I signed up to battle some marine trash. Tho' some of them may have drifted over from Malaysia, i believe part of the rubbish originated from singapore. For example, I discovered a patch of buried syringes and small empty glass bottles. No prizes for guessing what they were used for.

and the weirdest find of the day:


Here's us hard at work:

Which led me to another issue we grappled with on that day. There was a bunch of international school students working alongside with us from NUS. and what struck me was how comfortable they were with getting dirty. How dedicated and committed they were to picking up trash in the most obscure locations. Locations that no doubt will result in muddy shoes, t-shirts and shorts. such as:

John (thats really his name) braved the muck and looked as though he rolled around in the dirt. Look at his shoes:

While we, the NUS kids, stuck to dry, comfortable (although trash-filled) in-land locations.

also, the girls (even those with makeup on) have absolutely no problem with slinging bags of trash over their shoulders, even with the gunk dripping out of it. I just cringed at the thought of it. Can you bring yourself to do that?

in their dedication, they even uncovered a 'boat' and several huge chucks of car parts:

There is a quote by poet Hunter S. Thompson about how America is raising a generation of dancers. By implication, the western world is raising a generation that is soft, self-indulgent and reliant (sorry to all dancers, Ive been through about 2 months of dancing and i know dancing is TOUGH).

However, their behaviour at the Mangrove proved contrary... no? Are they brought up to be comfortable with getting dirty, with the outdoors? Or are we, singaporean kids (myself included), getting too soft and comfortable with our clean urban spaces?

This thought made Jiayi and I kinda sad for a while.

Nevertheless, it was fun! and I am challenging myself, from now on, to really get to know the outdoors.

Love, Serene!

Special thanks to Miss Lim Jiayi, for wonderful company and great discussions. (: