Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Wed 28 Mar 2007

Papaya Milk Shake at Adam Road Hawker Centre with Paddy Murphy

Category : Singapore Naturalist

When Prof D. H. ('Paddy') Murphy went into the forest or mangroves for ecology studies, he'd emerge hours later, hot and hungry. So he'd hop by a watering hole in the vicinity before making his way back to NUS. Generations of students soaked in this ritual as well and when I joined him in the late 80's in the mangroves, it had been going on for a couple of decades already.

Since Murphy is taking it easy these days, every now and then we drag him to these same watering holes that he used to take us to, minus the blood, sweat and tears.


Photo by Ladybug, 14 Mar 2007.

Good friend and marine biologist Dan Rittschof from Duke University finds himself working with many of Murphy's former students, almost in every nook and corner of Singapore. As an educator himself, he could appreciate this wonderful legacy. So he decided he just had to re-visit with Murphy whom he had not seen for more than a decade. We did the usual, rounded up the posse and grabbed Murphy for lunch - this time we plonked ourselves down at Adam Road Hawker Centre.

Immediately, the fruit drink seller got quite excited to see him. When he was off ordering, she leaned over to ask, wasn't he the guy who used to work in the forest. Yup, we nodded, shaking our heads vigorously! She remembered him clearly, she said - "he would always order papaya-milk shake from my stall," waving her finger vigorously.

I guess it's easy to remember Prof - a sweaty old ang-moh in tropical wear, a real old- school English gentleman with a decidedly local taste, a Good Morning towel around his neck, guzzling down papaya-milk shake drinks after a humid day in the forest. Over several decades, the image is seared in your mind. And after a long absence, what a wonderful surprise to see him once again!

His taste hadn't changed and we raised a cup or two of the orangy mixture and reminisced about the toughest field trips in Bukit Timah, Nee Soon, Mandai, Lim Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh and the like, and remembered the many people who had helped and learnt the ropes amidst this tough but nurturing environment he provided for all of us.

The youngest member of the muddy lineage present, did the honours with my handphone camera - to the good old days!

Posted at 1:03AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .