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 09 Feb 2005

Chinese New Year in the mangroves

Category : mangroves

The morning started with an unusual number of local Indians on the day out - having breakfast at Holland Drive, youth at a soccer and netball tournament in NUS, the staff at Buloh on duty, people on the street and the bus driver.

The Buloh staff, some park visitors and myself didn't let the minor inconvenicence like our race get in the way and we exchanged hearty "Gong Xi Fa Cai" greetings. I was chided for not bringing a pair of oranges on this "visiting day" and at the time, I hadn't realised KOY had brought plenty!

Or perhaps, it was simply the absence of Chinese who weren't out in their usual hordes to dilute the effect of the few stray mamas. Well I did see a few cyclists, who must have incurred the wrath of the matriachs, but they were cycling in the hot sun and were obviously quite mad.

For awhile I thought of Chinese New Year guard duty in the army when the camps are left to the non-Chinese. Not that any choice is involved, but the perks of the job were gratitude of your colleagues (this was fleeting of course), great food from the cookhouse (smaller portions always meant better taste) and enough oranges to change your skin colour. The peeling left you something to do. I'd prepare with with eight library books.

Since it's a new moon, the mangroves had beckoned and my kakis and I went out to catch (and later release) more than 100 crabs. Interestingly, a few Chinese families decided to celebrate CNY by visiting Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve and stopped by our station. We provide some commentary as we measured the crabs. I left this mainly to my kakis since I was battling a splitting headache and was struggling to concentrate the whole day.

One young Scandinavian girl was extremely amused and seemed to be contemplating plunging her hand into the pail to grab a crab, like she watched me do repeatedly. She seemed to be extremely delighted by the crabs and I kept a wary eye on her especally when her mum moved away.

Episesarma, the mangrove tree-climbing crab, has reduced some of us to tears in earlier field trips when we were careless. Today, there were several large and tough looking males in the pail looking for a fight. I was quite relieved when she gace a sweet smile and left when her mum called.

Alvin in the meantime, sms-ed me from Jalan Kayu where he and Robina are apparently stuffing themselves with nasi briyani to add to their Singapore food odyssey.


Photos by Ladybug

Posted at 10:53AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .