This was first posted at the Singapore Memory Portal on 14 March at 12.30am.
I remember bits of Chek Jawa, back when there was no Visitor Centre and no boardwalk, when Chek Jawa was “discovered” by Joseph Lai in 2001. That was quite a long time ago, when I was Primary 3 (9 years old).
I had no idea what the fuss over Chek Jawa was, and I definitely had no idea about the significance of the place. My cousin, who was 22 years old at that time, was either a trainee at NIE or teaching Biology at St Andrews Junior College, brought my other cousins, siblings and I down to Chek Jawa.
I remember sitting in the van, and taking a bumpy ride. Then spilling out onto a muddy place teeming with people.
We wandered around, though I can’t remember what I saw or did there. Right when we were about to leave, I felt a sharp pinch on my 4th toe on my left foot, and promptly started crying! I lifted my foot above the water, and saw some blood, which was a cue for more tears.
My cousin quickly ushered me to the van, washed my toe with some water and plastered it to placate me. That was probably my first close encounter with our native marine biodiversity. At that point, never would I have thought that I would one day be a nature enthusiast.
Tears were shed that day at Chek Jawa. Not out of sadness over what was then, the impending loss of biodiversity at Chek Jawa, but because of the crab that gave me a little pinch.
Adding on from the Memory:
The next time I visited Chek Jawa was probably in 2008, with TeamSeagrass. I don’t think I ever expected myself to become a nature enthusiast with a love for biodiversity and the outdoors, when I was younger. I was more like one of those annoying kids who didn’t want to get dirty and didn’t want to touch “dirty” things. Infinitely glad that I’ve changed, and everytime I go back to Chek Jawa, I still recall the crab incident then, though all the other details are hazy. Oh and the second time I got pinched by a crab since then was at the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey Workshop at Ubin last week. Though I didn’t cry this time 😛
This Memory post on Chek Jawa was prompted by Siva. Do contribute your memories to the Singapore Memory Portal! Looking at the speed at which Singapore changes, everything we experience today will soon become history and that the future generations may never get to experience.