Wednesday, 2 October 2013


A White-Throated Kingfisher is enough to stop me in my tracks, whip out my camera, and start clicking any day, but not this one. Neither were the beautiful dragonflies flitting here and there, stopping oh so tantalizingly on blades of grass, pristine specimens in all the hues of the rainbow enough to stop me from my speed-walk. 
Why couldn’t I stop, you ask? Because I was late for an appointment. A nature walk, to be precise. Yes, I, the Glasswing Butterfly, epitome of timeliness, organization, and memory powers, was late.
The snake.
Finally I caught up with some people who told me that they were the last group. I hardly had time to examine a beautiful flower and a brilliant red grasshopper before someone came tearing back saying that a snake had been spotted, and I went tearing after them. It was an Oriental Whip Snake, admittedly, one of the most common in Singapore. I stared at its sinuous green body in amazement, at its slitted yellow eyes. I had never been this close to a snake before. It was mildly venomous, someone had said, and I shuddered involuntarily… If I even allowed myself to comprehend how close I was to it, I doubt there would have been a gap between my screams and the pounding of my feet, eager to get away as soon as possible.
After a few minutes of staring awestruck at it I moved away. It seemed respectful to let it have its peace.
It’s amazing the species that survive within such a small area of wetland forest, the habitat I was currently in. 600 species lived here and 200 couldn’t live if taken out. We had used to have over 70 square kilometers of wetland forest; now, we had just over one. What on earth was the Singaporean government thinking building an MRT through here? Yup, you heard me right. The Singaporean government wants to build an MRT line straight through the middle of MacRitchie Reservoir. And if that plan goes through, a highway might not be that far. I mean, straight through the middle of a nature reserve. What if you had reserved a table at a restaurant and came in to see a train barreling its way through it, completely destroying it? 
Some of the wildlife of MacRitchie.
It’s not the line itself that would destroy it. It would be the exploratory drilling that wood, huge holes going 10 feet down spaced 10 feet across. So imagine this: your reserved table at the restaurant now had huge holes all across it, all very close together. Where would you put your food? If we're lucky, they would only make one line of exploratory holes, but most likely they’d find that line of holes hit granite too early or whatever and then make another line of holes. And another. And another. Your table would be more riddled with holes than Swiss cheese. Imagine what this drilling would do to such a fragile ecosystem as this wetland forest.
Do you want to let that happen? Does getting somewhere five minutes faster on the train justify the destruction of an ecosystem that would be lost forever? Let me know in the comments.

To see more of my pictures from this trip and appreciate the value of MacRitchie more, go to the Project Noah mission at

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Hello, commenter.
Nice to know you're showing interest in what we're doing. The Glasswing Butterfly and the Blobfish urge you to be nice while commenting and will hunt you down and find you if you aren't. You don't want to see a near-invisible butterfly and a gloppy slimy blob outside your front door. Trust me.