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Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.


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Sat 18 Nov 2006

Speaking about marine life at at the Public Service Exhibition 2006

Category : talks

The National Environment Agency's outreach partners for Pulau Semakau chipped in at their booth at the Public Service Exhibition 2006 with a few talks and I had volunteered for Saturday's sessions, now at 2.30pm and 4.00pm.

As I plugged in my mac and got the nod to start talking, a group eventually gathered out of the thin air. I did have to yell against a background of loud sounds from the crowd in that semi-enclosed area, and from the very loud sounds of the MC on stage highlighting various events and attractions. His sound system made it really challenging, but I soldiered on and it turned out well in the end.

NEA has a model of Pulau Semakau, the world's first offshore landfill, on display, which I used for the talk. The talk was reasonably well received, kep to the timing, was relevant and the audience seemed happy enough.


L - Pulau Semakau model. R - mock up of the future Integrated Resort at Marina Bay at the URA booth. 31 government agencies are at the exhibition.

Besides the exciting photos and clips of marine life in Singapore, the issue of the plastics in oceans was raised, as was littering, proper waste disposal and recycling - I used the coastal cleanup data as well. NEA's Mr Loo was drawn in since has contributed sightings of otters, dolphins and other marine creatures. He and I first met when planning the first workshop for teachers on Pulau Semakau in 2000.

So I threw out my mangrove talk and decided to repeat the talk for the 4pm session. Once again we did not make an announcement from the main stage, this time because the MC could not be found. Still, there a limit to how many people would be able to hear me in the din. I did have to change my routine by using the Semakau model while my mac was restarted to reacquire the display - the projector's buttons were at just the right height for a kid's exploratory fingers and one kid did exactly that and messed up the entire setup. Interesting lesson we learnt there!

By the time it was over I was hoarse, dripping with perspiration but happy at the surprise and at times, disbelief the audience expressed when they saw and heard about the marine life in their backyard, and the data from the International Coastal Cleanup.

I was happy I had survived the sessions, and done our bit for NEA and Semakau. I also met a young graduate keen on joining Toddycats, and completed her recruitment interview during my break in between the two talks (downloaded the application form via free wireless nearby). She'll be joining our ranks soon. So a Saturday well spent!

Just maybe the next time, I'll bring along a portable mike.

Thanks to Angeline Tay and Anand Balan who packed and provided backup, drinks and lozenges; and Nanthinee J. for the photos!

Posted at 3:09PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,