Saturday, September 15, 2012


The first time I encountered recycling, it was in Japan. All those bins in characters that I cannot understand always make me pondered which is the waste bin. Since then, I always find different countries have different ways of recycling. In Singapore, we always have to separate paper from other recyclable materials. Thus we will even have a separate container just to collect the papers only.
And perhaps it's only in Asia society that we have karang guni (people who collect newspapers and clothings) and elderly people collecting cardboard paper to sell. I have not seen any person in Melbourne who collects metal cans and cardboard paper for a living. Having said that, the Salvation army do collect clothes and accessories for re-sale. And we can do our part in recycling so long we do not dump our plastic bag into the recycling bin as well. They will have different days to collect the rubbish and the recycling bins. So some days you will only see one of the bin being taken out and other days you will see the road littered with 2 types of bins.
One thing for sure, these bins are your responsibility and thus you will not find stuff that you should not throw into the recyclable bins (unlike those in SG or Japan). However if you stay in an apartment, the bins are shared with your neighbours. Then you will be reminded constantly to recycle the right way e.g. giving you a fridge magnet.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A heart shaped rambutan called Annatto

Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is as red and hairy as a rambutan. But it has a heart shaped instead of the oval shaped rambutan.

When fully mature, this heart-shaped fruit are brown or reddish brown and are covered with short, stiff hairs. The fruit will split open, exposing the numerous dark red seeds. And unlike the rambutan, the fruit itself is not edible.

The orange-red pulp or pericarp that covers the seed of the achiote (Bixa orellana L.) is used to produce a yellow to orange food commercial food colouring as well as a flavouring. Achiote dye is prepared by grinding seeds or simmering the seeds in water or oil.

It is used as coloring in many cheeses (e.g., Cheddar, Gloucester cheese, Red Leicester, Gouda and Brie), margarine, butter, rice, custard powder, ice-cream, and smoked fish.

Bewarned though, although it is a natural food colorant, it has been linked to cases of food-related allergies.

Wiki says that its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly nutty, sweet and peppery". 

Other uses include body paint and lipstick and henna. Thus the tree is sometimes called Lipstick Tree.

The Bahasa Melayu of Bixa Orellana is also known as Inai / Kesumba/ Jarak Belanda/ Kunyit Jawa.
In the Philippines, it is called atsuete.

Source: Wiki
Pulau Ubin, Singapore
The Outdoor Classroom located along Route 1 of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore

Monday, August 01, 2011


We consist of a cluster of small fruits around the fruit stem; each fruit has a seed surrounded by red flesh.

Our green stem and green calyx are left on when we're harvested.

We're not really a berry but a member of the rose family and the real fruits are actually the tiny seed on our outsides.

Our natural sweetness comes from the sugars frutctose and glucose.

We're an excellent source of vitamin C and just 100g has a whole day's supply.

Credits: Woolworths Fresh Aug 2011 Issue

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Project Semakau

I had wanted to help out with Project Semakau in 2010 and attended their training. Unfortunately a job acceptance took me away from all these activities. I sincerely hope I may be able to help them some time in the future perhaps.

Anyway I did a classroom lesson with them and 2 survey trainings.

The first survey training was a Biodiversity survey training at Pulau Semakau on 31 July (Sat) 5am-12pm

As it was too early for public transport, I had to take a cab in the wee hours to reach Marina South Pier. Being my first assignment cum on the job training, I am totally clueless. This is a hunting trip where we are each allocated a portion to analyze the living specimens and its population in that area. And because of the superb hunting skill of my partner, I saw plentiful actually.

E.g. corals


Order: Animalia > Arthropoda > Malacostraca > Decapoda > Pilumnidae
Name: Pilumnus vespertilio or Hairy Crab

The onch slug which at first I thought were snails... 
Further investigation from wildsingapore states that Onch slugs belong to Phylum Mollusca and are snails of the Class Gastropoda that lack shells. That explains my puzzlement...
Mud lobster if I'm not wrong as seems to be

Twinkle Twinkle little sea stars

Hmm.. forgot what these are call.. oopsy...

 Oh my partner of the day clicks with me as we do share similar interests. She dived a lot, run marathon (she was wearing the bay run tee thus that's how the conversation started) and was a contestant for ultra-marathoner too though she did not participate as she felt she did not train much. In fact she has a friend who is also doing the race in Sahara Desert, fund raising for the Singapore. This lady friend is much more impressive who has participate lots of events and won some.

The second one was a monitoring survey training at Pulau Semakau on 14 Aug (Sat) 5.30am-12.30pm. Another morning taxi ride. It was a bit more boring than the first one as we are more concerned about the growth of the sea grass along the transact lines that we were laying at the reef edge.

So it was lots of pictures of the sea grass

with some occurrences of animal e.g. the crab
then more tape grass
and then clams

think we caught sight of a mangrove horseshoe crab.. reminds me of the horseshoe crab research I used to participate (check out the story here)

Tiny hairy crab (pilumnu vespertilio) staring at us...
This was caught by another team... but I'm not sure what is it actually...
That's the end of the survey. I still am feeling apologetic about not being able to do more for the project. Sighz.

Anyway you can read up more about Project Semakau via here. I do wonder how's their progress....

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Five Lill Ducks

Caught sight of these lovely ducklings while doing duty last year... and suddenly the song 'Five Lill Ducks' came into my mind...

Five little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But only four little ducks came back.

Four little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But only three little ducks came back.

Three little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But only two little ducks came back.

Two little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But only one little duck came back.

One little duck
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But none of the five little ducks came back.

Sad mother duck
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
The sad mother duck said "Quack, quack, quack."
And all of the five little ducks came back.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Brinjal called 'eggplant' because of the shape of the first variety that English speakers came across. A popular vegetable with many different colours, shapes and sizes.

Nipple Brinjal
This South American plant is also known as cow's udder or titty fruit because of its iterestingly shaped fruit. The Choco Indians use the fruit to poison cockroaches. The seeds are used to treat kidney and bladder problems.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Lesser Mouse Dear


中文学名: 小鼷鹿
中文目名: 偶蹄目
中文科名: 鼷鹿科
中文属名: 鼷鹿属
同物异名: Cervus javanicus, Tragulus javanicus williamsoni, 
中文俗名: 鼠鹿  小鹿  小鼷鹿  马来亚鼷鹿  改范  
拉丁文科名: Tragulidae
拉丁文属名: Tragulus
拉丁文种名: williamsoni
物种命名人及年代: Kloss, 1916

And now a story for you on Lesser Mouse Deer...

Outwitting a Crocodile

A Traditional Malaysian Folktale

Retold by Chok Yoon Foo from Malaysia

Sang Kancil is a clever, tricky mouse deer who is always finding himself in predicaments with animals that want to eat him or harm him, but he cleverly manages to escape each time. In this story, Sang Kancil outwits a big, bad crocodile.

He stepped on each crocodile, counting each one, and finally reached the other side of the river.

Sang Kancil was a clever mouse deer. Whenever he was in a bad situation, he always played a clever trick to escape. In this story, Sang Kancil outwitted Sang Buaya, a big, bad crocodile, who wanted to eat him.

There were many trees whereSang Kancil's lived along the river, so he never had trouble finding food. There were always lots of leaves. He spent his time running and jumping and looking into the river.

Sang Buaya, the big bad crocodile, lived in the river with other crocodiles. They were always waiting to catch Sang Kancil for dinner. One day when Sang Buaya was walking along the river, he saw some delicious fruit on the trees on the other side the river.

Sang Kancil wanted to taste the tasty-looking fruit because he was a little tired of eating leaves. He tried to think of a way to cross the river, but he had to be careful. He didn't want to be caught and eaten by Sang Buaya. He needed to trick Sang Buaya.

Sang Kancil suddenly had an idea He called out to the crocodile, "Sang Buaya! Sang Buaya!" Sang Buaya slowly came out of the water and asked Sang Kancil why he was shouting his name. He asked Sang Kancil, "Aren't you afraid I will eat you?" Then he opened his big mouth very wide to scare Sang Kancil.

Sang Kancil said, "Of course, I am afraid of you, but the king wants me to do something. He is having a big feast with lots of food, and he is inviting everyone, including you and all the other crocodiles. But first, I have to count all of you. He needs to know how many of you will come. Please line up across the river, so I can walk across your heads and count all of you."

Sang Buaya was excited and left to tell the other crocodiles about the feast with all the good food. Soon, they came and made a line across the river. Sang Kancil said, "Promise not to eat me because or I can't report to the king how many of you are coming. They promised not to eat him.

Sang Kancil stepped on Sang Buaya's head and counted one. Then he stepped on the next one and said, "Two." He stepped on each crocodile, counting each one, and finally reached the other side of the river. Then he said to Sang Buaya,"Thank you for helping me to cross the river to my new home."

Sang Buaya was shocked and angry. He shouted at Sang Kancil, "You tricked us! There is no feast, is there?" All of the crocodiles looked at Sang Buaya angrily. They were angry because he let Sang Kancil trick all of them.

Sang Kancil loved his new home on the other side of the river because he had a lot of tasty food to eat. Poor Sang Buaya was not so lucky. After that, none of the other crocodiles ever talked to him again.