That’s the motto of Rimba, the organisation I’m currently volunteering with. (Rimba means jungle in Malay) And it makes a lot of sense, though often times we city-dwellers do not know it, because of this disconnection from the natural world, because most of us suffer from Nature deficit disorder.
Conservation is never easy nor straight forward, but the issues we deal with in Singapore are quite different (but yet similar) from those in Malaysia. But I do think it’s a lot more real and serious here, as in you can actually see events such as human-wildlife conflict (beyond just macaques raiding your house) and deforestation and lack of enforcement in poaching, etc. happening, as compared to just reading about them. Anyway, that’s for another post (as usual).
I’m actually in a very normal 2-storey terrace house in Gerik Town, Perak, Peninsula Malaysia. (Though my parents think I’m in some ulu tent in the middle of some ulu jungle).
I got here after a 9.5 hr coach ride from Singapore, and after having some kopi (coffee) in a kopitiam (coffee shop), Reuben (one of the co-founders of Rimba) brought me over to the field house, the HQ for their work in Gerik.
Rimba isn’t an NGO, nor consultancy nor society. It’s a small team of researchers who work together, who work to find out answers that are lacking. They rely entirely on research grants and donations, so help them if you can! The briefing that Reuben gave me was quite inspirational with much food for thought provided, and talking to the other people working on various projects here have also been very thought-provoking.
There’s stuff about wildlife corridors and their efffectiveness (which is the main focus of Reuben’s project now, the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor project), logging and deforestation, fragmentation, poaching, roadkills, human-wildlife conflict, Orang Aslis (about development and modernity and their communities), federal and state governments jurisdiction and interests, NGOs and their work (or sometimes, lack thereof), rhinos, elephants and tigers and their population densities, and lots of other stuff.
There’s wifi here in Gerik, so I’ll be posting more over time, about what I do here (and the others as well, perhaps) and more about the issues I’ve mentioned.