Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More keywords

urban food systems
sustainable urban food systems
urban food security

landscape ecology [journal]
agricultural ecology
agroecology [article]
"ecology of food systems"
virtual water

Monday, September 24, 2007

PhD thoughts

I know I shouldn't be thinking about this now but mindless reproduction of books and a conversation with the boss gave me inspiration.

Rethinking conservation and sustainable cities: a global review

different definitions, angles, types of conservation and a western vs southern / developing / asian level of sustainability. different issues that surrounds it. what are the primary data? sustainability indicators, policies, types of research, activism, etc.

New thoughts @ 3 Oct
Continuing in developing indicators for consumption

Friday, September 21, 2007

Desperate times calls for desperate measures

Was supposed to go Cameron with Duck and Evie on wednesday but then Evie suddenly may have to withdraw and now I'm desperately short of traveling companions.

In fact I was so desperate that I'm harassing Huaqin, posting on facebook and emailing toddycats!
I am conducting a recce field trip to Cameron Highlands (CH) for my research and fellow toddycat, Marcus Ng, will be driving us up to CH.

Dates: 26 - 28 September 2007 (wed - fri)
Cost: Approximately SGD$200.

We are looking for somebody to join us. Sorry for the late notice but we suddenly had a last minute change in crew and now we have vacancy for 1-2 persons to join us. Cost will be lower if we have more people.

You are not obliged to follow me around on my field work and can feel free to explore CH by yourself. But if you are interested to come along, I will be going to vegetable farms as well as the 3-4 towns around CH. Of course Marcus is dying for his tea and scone at the Lakehouse. http://tinyurl.com/2uhl4k


930am Depart from NUS
1130am Arrive JB
730pm Arrive Cameron


Recce Cameron!

9am Depart Cameron after breakfast
12nn Lunch at KL
7pm Arrive in Singapore

Bala's Holiday Chalet
3 persons in 1 room or 4 persons in 2 rooms

We will be renting a car in Johor Bahru and driving up to CH.

I need to confirm urgently so please let me know within the week by Sunday 23 September. Email me at guanacomonkey at gmail dot com

Thursday, September 20, 2007

lazy afternoon at arts canteen

I'm beginning to be very fond of the sea breeze and view at Arts Canteen. It's such an inspiration place that has prompted me to work without fail.

While having lunch and waiting for some media students from NTU to come ask me questions that doesn't deserved to be answered (I must be catching the mean bug from Ria), I decided to take a picture of me enjoying my favourite ice lemon tea at the news arts canteen. I look kinda stupid but don't mind me.

I just loved the look on the girl in front of me at the drink stall when the uncle directly addressed me without me having said a word, "ice lemon tea without straw right?" hehe I love it.

Ok, I should be getting to the department now to get my GPS unit, check out maps of cameron and working out the funding claim.

For those who haven't caught this on facebook and twitter, Duck and Evie has kindly sacrificed their time and company to go with me to Cameron Highlands next Wednesday to Friday for my recce trip. The place looks gianormous. Good luck to me.

Going to have dinner with Ria tonight to discuss the guide workshop at SBWR next Saturday. My environmental management and assessment class will also be going for the talk before the workshop. Then a walk at Sentosa after the animals sushi party at 5.30pm. Next weekend after that, Joe Lai will be leading the class on a walk.

Recently I've gotten in touch with Daniel Goh whom I quote way too much in my honors thesis. Mainly because he's the only other person in Singapore who has published so recently on the topic. I am hoping to meet him next Wednesday, right before I fly off to (I mean drive of to) Cameron Highlands. Duck will be driving and I am really hoping Ham will be able to join us as well.

Speaking of Daniel Goh - he's actually a blogger and contributor on Singapore Angle. I even have him on facebook. Well, let's see. He's also recently published a book chapter on Chek Jawa. I've emailed him and he's very encouraging. I hope to get him to edit my paper for me before I send it to publishing. Oh right, what paper! I haven't even had time to do shit. Yes, not even shit.

On the research front, I must quickly do more readings on Cameron before my trip and brush up my Bahasa Melayu.

Lastly, last tuesday saw my first time directly addressing the students of N&S. It caused quite a stir at first. And I gave them the wrong info about tutorial. Crap. Saw a student in the class at the canteen just now and he said Nature and Society felt like a philosophy class. He's a birder no less. Well, I couldn't resist plugging my tutorial session so I told him to come for my tutorial - I'll be talking about Nature Conservation and I promise no concepts. Ok, I lied. Conservation is a concept and so is social capital. Crap ass. Ok, a lot of swearing today. Just reflecting my general state of mental being.

Oh I won't even begin on how I sounded like an idiot at the Department Graduate Tea. I had a brain freeze with the whole entire faculty and grad students staring on. HOD said at least I sounded smart before - now I'm just stupid. She say she expects a breakdown form me soon. Oh great. I'm right about there now.

Made my visa application for US just now and I'm really looking forward to it though scared of course. Interview date booked for 18 October. Good luck to me!

I realize that September is almost over *panic* better back to work instead of lazing around here updating on graduate life and enjoying the breeze! It does make me poetic though. hah

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Environmental Issues in Singapore Presentation

Previously, I wrote about my presentation for the Environmental Management and Assessment class where I presented about the issue of air pollution in Singapore - a supposedly non-issue in Singapore.

I was rather worried that I would score badly for the presentation but instead I got a pleasant surprise the other day.
"Dear Monkey,

You have an A for this presentation.

The lecturer’s comment is: - Insightful. A well chosen topic."
A pleasant surprise indeed. I'm considering uploading my slides online.

Update: I have uploaded my slides on Google Documents.

Water Management at SBWR

Finally a written publication on the water management regime at SBWR to maintain the bird population. Was just looking for something like this for the tutorial I'm teaching on Nature Conservation.

The blog posts on Bird Ecology Study Group was quoting SBWR newsletter so I better get my hands on one of those. I think they have online versions. But upon looking through the website, I find that it's not updated! I emailed NParks asking for an online version of the latest issues but I forgot to tell them to update their site but I guess it's implied? When they reply I shall make it more obvious but just in case it is now at another page. SBWR website definitely does not have it. I also asked to be put on the mailing list for Nparks newsletters. It's just too bad I didn't pick up a copy of Wetlands yesterday when I was at SBWR!

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Water Regime Management, BESG
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve: Bird population, BESG

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SEAGA Conference

International conferences aside, I am supposed to attend some regional conferences and the best one for the region in relation to Geography is the Southeast Asian Geography Association Conference.

The next one will be held from 3-6 June 2008, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.

The theme will be
"Transformations and Embodiments in Southeast Asian Geographies: Changing Environments, People and Cultural Groups, Institutions and Landscapes"
Nothing would suit my honors thesis better.

Topics for paper proposals/panels include the following:
1. environment
2. gender and migration
3. hazards and mitigation
4. development and sustainability
5. culture and politics
6. geographic education
7. urban geography

I'm just going to send in my abstract and wish for the best. Abstracts are due 14 January 2008.

I've asked my prof and he said he would like to attend the conference in the "loooong vacation". bleh. To think I'm supposed to be doing my field work during that time!

I cannot deny that the lure of visiting Mount Pinatubo as one of the field visits of this conference is irresistible!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Visit to Kranji Countryside

Seeing as how I have to mark about 120 assignments in October pertaining to a field trip report of 2 farmpreneurs at the Kranji Countryside, I thought it would be useful to pay it a long overdue visit.

In addition, with 2 photographers as companions, I thought it would be additionally important for them to assist me in taking a photo worthy of the department noticeboard. A photo was due last Monday but my photo was rejected. My very brief research interest writes "sustainable food consumption-production systems, conservation, urban ecology".

A photo befitting of my research interest which at the same time describes my personal interests and portray an appropriate image of myself was of utmost importance. The above photo was the result. I think it'd do.

Printed a copy and will submit tomorrow. For now, a presentation on map and photographs as a methodology in restorative ecology is due tomorrow and I'm only half way through the reading!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Singapore. Part 8 of 11; Agriculture

30 July 2007
Asia & Pacific Review World of Information


Only 3 per cent of Singapore’s land area is used for agriculture. Singapore has some 2,000 licensed farms producing poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, orchids (both for domestic demand and export) and ornamental plants. Less than 6 per cent of fresh vegetables is produced locally, with the rest imported from Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Australia.

Although agriculture plays only a minor role in Singapore’s economy, the Primary Production Department promotes intensive farming methods. Agri-technology parks have been developed on 554 hectares of land in Murai, Sungai Tengah, Nee Soon and Loyang.

The effect of bird flu on the consumption of poultry showed a drop in production from the low 72,578 tonnes in 2004, rising to 83,861 tonnes in 2005, from the average 92,000 tonnes per annum before the outbreaks became public in 2003. The consumption of eggs was unaffected.

Estimated crop production in 2005 included: 130 tonnes (t) coconuts, 17t oilcrops, 10t roots and tubers, 10t fruit in total, 5,801t vegetables in total. Livestock production included: 104,934t meat in total, 35t beef, 21,000t pig meat, 27t lamb, 11t goat meat, 83,861t poultry, 22,000t eggs.


With limited agricultural and water resources, there is little scope for the development of Singapore’s fisheries, although fish is an important component of the Singaporean diet. Singapore relies mainly on imports for domestic consumption. The government’s priority is to increase imports through trade relations. The quality of Singapore’s own catch is often decsribed as poor. Rapid urbanisation and development have damaged natural habitats and caused the quality of inshore fish to deteriorate.

In 2004, the total marine fish catch was 1,533 tonnes and the total crustacean catch was 366 tonnes.

Forests constitute only 7 per cent of the total land area of Singapore. There are three major forest reserves – Bukit Timah , Palau Ubin and Sungei Buloh. Singapore produces plywood and veneer and imports pulp and paper. Timber imports in 2004 were US$533.1 million, while exports amounted to US$451.3 million.

Timber production in 2004 included 355,000cum wood-based panels, including 280,000cum plywood and 65,000cum veneer sheets.

Books I want to have

Southgate D., Graham D, Tweeten D (2007) The World Food Economy. Blackwell Publishing.

Moran E (2006) People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. Blackwell Publishing.

Bourlakis M and Weightman P (2004) Food Supply Chain Management. Blackwell Publishing.

Morgan R C P (2005) Soil Erosion and Conservation. Blackwell Publishing.
S623 Mor 2005 Central Library

Note to self:
Journal of Agrarian Change
Find out more about Emilio Moran
what has singapore done right? why no protest?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Finalized Journals

Decided on the following journals and angle for publishing HT.

Human Ecology focusing on harnessing social capital and networks in nature conservation.

Asia Pacific Viewpoint for the events leading up to the "saving", the history and dichotomy between development and environment, the politics and interplay of factors.

Updates @ 5 Apr 2008 - More possible journals:
Environmental History
Cyclical evolution or asymmetrical warfare?

Environment and Behaviour
Future publication for master thesis

Environment and Planning A
Environmental problems that a city faces. Identifying the problems.

Anything environmental!

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Submitted for the department website:
Ecological Shadow of Singapore's Vegetable Imports

The concept of ecological shadow or "shadow ecology" refers to the environmental impact of one country's economy on resource and environmental management in another country or area (Dauvergne, 1997). This involves examining both the consumption and production from inputs, through distribution to consumption and disposal, as integrated production and consumption systems. In addition, processes such as the mechanism of price, the creation of wants and consumption along with corporate and governmental practices, investments, developmental aid, and regulations, as well as production processes in the producing country and its various policies, politics, corporations mechanism and regulations are under scrutiny.

Although all countries cast ecological shadows, highly industrialized states with few natural resources tend to draw more environmental resources and in turn have large ecological shadows. Singapore being a small island state with a population of 4 million and little natural resources presents itself as a prime case study in the region. Singapore is a rare example of a country with high food dependency, importing 95% of total vegetable consumption in Singapore. 48% of Singapore’s total vegetable imports come from Malaysia, making it an excellent study site for examining the ecological impact of Singapore’s consumption on its environment. A baseline environmental impact assessment as well as historical change will be examined to determine the possible interrelations and impacts between source and destination countries.

With the onslaught of climate change added with greater environmental awareness of food safety, environmental protection and the push for organic farming, this study hopes to study in depth the dynamics within food systems. By understanding the processes and impacts of entire food systems, points of leverage for improving sustainability can be identified, along with possible policies and management implications.
Research Interests:
Sustainable Agri-food consumption-production systems, nature conservation, urban ecology