Why I resist peeking into the gift horse’s mouth (Reflections from the NE Zone)

My 3rd year in the Northeast Zone sailed by peacefully. Thankfully, for the three of us in-charge (Lim Chen Kee, Cheong Wei Siong and yours truly Ng Kai Scene), it has been a “stable” year. We got back our veteran groups and the only changes were the re-opening of Sungei Tampines and the temporary closure of Sembawang Beach, due to renovation works.

Yes, life has been good! So good that one of the deputy zone captains wondered whether we should challenge ourselves with a more difficult zone next year?!

Northeast - Some sites at a glance

Me? I am just grateful for the stability. So what if this year I did not get to “start-up” new sites? (We started Pasir Ris Site 6 and Sungei Seletar respectively in the last two years.) To continue bringing participants to cleanup these new sites is good enough to me. In fact, we brought many more people (240 in total) to Pasir Ris Site 6 this year vs. 64 in 2010!

I am particularly keen on cleaning up at places such as Pasir Ris Site 6 and Sungei Seletar, because they are easily forgotten pockets of coastline in Singapore where trash accumulates. Another easily forgotten spot, albeit a way smaller one is the Sungei Tampines mangrove. So, I would count the re-opening and cleaning up of Sungei Tampines mangrove as something worth celebrating this year. Sungei Tampines is located right in the middle of Pasir Ris Park. However, its east and west banks are hidden by trees and bushes. Other than the odd fisherman or two, regular park users rarely bother to come here.

Sungei Tampines Mangrove - Volunteers at Work

Our enthusiastic group of 20 volunteers from Miss Earth Singapore, Environment Resource Management and other Independents did a great job clearing 282kg of trash from the site.  It was also gratifying to read that our new volunteer, Deanna, had a good cleanup experience there.

Fewer changes in the zone also meant more time to think of other issues – and Safety was at the top of my list. Although safety is always at the back of my mind, the discussion about safety guidelines with regards to the bloody syringe incident emphasised the issue and I was in a heightened state of alertness while briefing participants and talking to Organisers.

I also appreciated the trash weighing and data collation aspects of our operations more. During the Sungei Tampines mangrove cleanup, I wished we had filmed our volunteers systematically weighing the trash and the Data I/Cs gathering to collate site data. It would have been great footage for a “How to Conduct a Cleanup” video in the future! After I briefed the volunteers, they were really willing to contribute and were thorough!

Securing the trash bags before weighing

Data I/Cs concentrating on their task!

Your not-so-ambitious, easily satisfied Northeast Zone Captain signs off here as she happily looks forward to attending the upcoming ICCS debrief and chill out time with her fellow ICCS Otters.

For more pictures of the Sungei Tampines cleanup, see the Flickr album.

One thought on “Why I resist peeking into the gift horse’s mouth (Reflections from the NE Zone)

  1. That’s right Kai Scene. The veteran Otters of the 3 of you should stop hiding together in the NorthEast Zone, next year each one of you take a new zone with a fresh Deputy!


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