Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Locust or grasshopper?

Gardening volunteers needed on Saturday mornings, 10am to 12 noon at the herb/butterfly garden (near carpark ‘C’). Besides helping with weeding etc you will also learn basic gardening and more about medicinal and butterfly plants.

If you are interested, email to grant@singapore.com with your name and mobile no.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Just came back from Chiangmai, one week earlier as I fractured my left wrist. One of our elephants recently had twins at our Macham Sanctuary about 6 hours by van in the North. They are a beautiful pair of females.

In Karen Mahout culture, baby elephants are not named till they are about 6 months old (when they are more or less expected to survive). They are then given unattractive and bland nicknames. The Karen believe that nice and beautiful names could attract the attention of evil spirits and they might take the elephant souls.

Many young elephants who die expectedly are deemed by the Mahouts to have their souls taken by a wondering spirit.

When the elephant reaches the age of one then he or she will be given a proper name which will go into it’s birth registration card. Here’s a picture of the adorable twins.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Monday, 30 August 2010

Reply from East Coast Town Council

From: Vijay Seenivasan

To: grant@singapore.com

Cc: Chee Heng Chng ; tbc4@hdb.gov.sg


Date: Mon, Aug 30, 2010 2:14 pm


Dear Mr Grant W. Pereira

Thank you for your feedback on 24/8/2010 to HDB on the above matter.

Please be informed that for future maintenance, we will work with our horticultural specialist to avoid over trimming of the trees at Changi Village.

You can contact our Senior Horticultural Officer, Mr Chng Chee Heng at Tel 64449549 Ext 142 or me for matters relating to landscape maintenance.

S.Seenivasan Vijay
Property Manager
Tel : 1800 444 9549 Ext 115

Disclaimer : This communication and its attachments may contain confidential information for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient(s), please notify the sender immediately and delete this message and its attachments. Thank you.

Visit our website at : http://www.ectc.org.sg


The recent wet season has seen a number of trees toppling over and some with tragic results.  I believe that one reason contributing to this mishap is over pruning.  More estate work is given out to contractors (many of whom employ unqualified or unskilled staff).

They over trim trees very badly (sometime leaving almost no leaves at all). I suspect laziness is the reason they do this so that they don't have to come back at regular intervals (perhaps HDB and NPARKS would like to relook into this contractual condition about pruning maintenace).

When a large tree has no leaves, it is not possible to carry out photosynthesis and this deprives the tree of nourishment and hence weakens it.  The weaken trees with strong winds and heavy rain is a disaster waiting to happen.  At good example of  one rain tree (Samanea saman) at Changi Village.

I have written to both the HDB and NPARKS about this.

If you see any tree that over trimmed or in danger of falling please email the following:

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Green Volunteers - July Update

July update


We have got some exciting trips and even a “hands-on” gardening session for those who want to learn more about gardening.

7th (Sat) to 9th August (Mon)

To take advantage of the National Day holiday we are planning a 3D/2N trip to Bintan Island. We leave Saturday 7th August in the morning and come back on the 9th evening.

Proposed activities:

Trekking Gunung Bintang (weather permitting) or elephant show and ecology study Mangrove tour by boat Traditional Kampong craft such as Pandan weaving and knife making School visit bring supplies and some shopping for traditional food like tempeh, keropok, Indonesian coffee/tea.


Bintan Lodge, 2 to an aircon room, walking distance to Pasar Oleh Oleh town centre

$310 per person (twin sharing)


Ferry tickets to/from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
All transport at Bintan
The above stated activities/tour
All meals 2B/3L/2 Dinners*
*Dinner at Bintan idol restaurant all other meals at makan centre (Pujasera)
Mineral water
Basic insurance
Local guides (and me) and
All tips and drivers/guides

Visa fee (if required)
Alcohol and other beverages

$100 deposit when booking, balance $210 10 days before trip

Ferry tickets and accommodation (in view of National Day holiday) expected to be sold out soon, so please book early. Limited places, first come first served basis


To further our S.P.R.O.U.T.S. programme, we are going to organise a “hands-on” gardening class for beginners. If you are interested and want to learn more about basic gardening please email me your name and mobile number. We also need weekend volunteers at our spice/herb garden at Pasir Ris park (Carpark “C”, near Pasir Ris MRT).

Suntec City Convention Hall, Level 4

We have a booth (A04) come by and see us. SGF is held once every 2 years and if you like gardening, plants etc this is “must see” event.


Planned for early September (School holidays) prices being worked out. Planned visits to:

• Borobudur Temple (Buddist) World heritage site
• Prambanan Temple (Hindu)
• Gunung Merapi
• Farm stay
• Bird market (Pasar Ngasem)
• Rafting
• Ramayana ballet
• Leather craft/or Indonesian cooking
• One “gudeg” meal (Traditional Javanese meal)
• Some shopping – batik, handicrafts etc

Jogjakarta is the artistic, spiritual and cultural heart of Java, it’s home to many Universities including Gadja Mahda University


The Green Volunteers have “adopted” KKPS and need the following supplies:

• Medicated soap
• Medicated shampoo
• Eye drops
• Vitamin C tablets


Green Ace, a good supporter of The Green Volunteers (they sponsored our Birdbrains flyer) are purchasing used printer cartridges. Jerry pays top price for these cartridges so please give him a call to compare prices (his mobile 9060 8827).


Free guided walk 10th July (Saturday) at 4 pm. Interested, please email your name, mobile and number of people attending.


I am planning a super trip this late December to Chiangmai (cool season). We’ll visit elephants, hilltribes, go trekking, rafting and anything else we fancy! We will go to hilltribes that no tourists have ever visited and we go during the New Year’s season we can go to an authentic LAHU village to celebrate with them.

I intend to take a maximum of 10 people, prices are being worked out so if you’re interested let me know.


On 23rd June, I was the keynote speaker at The United World College’s “Round square conference”. There were about 200 students (13 to 17 years) from Singapore, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh who attended this conference.

The theme was “OPEN EYES, OPEN MINDS and OPEN HEARTS”. My talk was to encourage students to be more proactive in protecting our fragile environment. I also encouraged the sponsors to also “open” their wallets to sponsor student projects.

Hope to see you at one of our trips or at the Singapore Garden Festival.

Mobile: +65 968 40 950

“The dogs bark while the true soldiers march on”

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Operation Blue Rage

Sea Shepherds Free 800 Bluefin from Floating Cages
Below Libya’s Infamous Line of Death

Steve Irwin Rammed by Bluefin fishery vessel
Sea Shepherd Crew Repel Violent Assault by Fishermen
Libyan Navy in Pursuit of the Steve Irwin

Thursday, June 17th, 2010.
Day Ten of the Mediterranean Patrol
(Off the Coast of Libya)

Report by Captain Paul Watson
On the M/V Steve Irwin

Sea Shepherd’s helicopter reconnaissance flight this morning found two fishing vessels, one was engaged in transferring Bluefin tuna into one of the two nets being towed by the other vessel.

The Bluefin fishery vessels were inside waters claimed by Libya and about 42 miles off the coast of North Africa..

At 1300 Hours the Steve Irwin came upon the Italian vessel Cesare Rustico towing two cages, one contained about 800 fish and the other was empty.

The Captain of the Cesare Rustico said when we questioned him, that the tuna were caught on the morning of the 14th by the Libyan vessel Tagreft. When we replied that the number of tuna in the cage exceeded the quota for the Tagreft the captain said the cage also included tuna from seven other Libyan seiners. All the catches were caught on the 14th , the last legal day, he said. The other seven seiners named were the Khandheel 2, Hanibal, Ozul 2 Almadina, Morina, and Khaleej Eltahadi and one other that he had no name for. The problem for us with this explanation was that we had observed the Khandheel 2 on the 13th and 14th of June and it was not fishing and weather conditions for those two days made fishing virtually impossible. The extremely difficult conditions coupled with the position of the cages only 40 miles off the Libyan coast, when they should have been moving 25 miles a day, suggested to us that the fish were freshly caught within the last three days at the most.

Their statement that all the catches were caught on the 14th sounded much too convenient, so we asked to examine the fish for juveniles and they refused. I then put the bow of the Steve Irwin onto the cage so we could look into the cage from the bow to examine it further.

Suddenly the Maltese vessel Rosaria Tuna rammed the Steve Irwin on the aft port side and slid alongside the port rail as a fishermen tried to violently gaff Sea Shepherd crewmembers with a long sharp hook on a pole.

The Steve Irwin crew retaliated with 8 litres of rotten butter forcing the fishing vessel to retreat and to stand off.

At 1530 Hours the two fishing vessels circled their cages defensively and the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin stood off to notify ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) of possible violations. They did not respond.

The Jean Charcot, the ICCAT inspection vessel will not venture south of 33 Degrees 40 Minutes North.

With two fishing vessels containing angry Italian crews there were risks involved with getting into the water to assess the Bluefin catch. But if the catch is illegal Sea Shepherd divers knew they must cut the nets and free the Bluefin tuna.

Sometimes it is necessary to do what needs to be done despite the risks. The risk of losing the Bluefin tuna as a species is far more important than the risks to our own lives and freedom.

And so we decided to free the tuna.

At 1600 Hours a five person dive crew entered one of two cages being towed by the Italian fishing vessel Cesare Rustico.

As the Steve Irwin held off the Cesare Rustico and the support ship Rosaria Tuna, the Sea Shepherd dive crew dove into the net to identify the size, age and quantity of the Bluefin tuna within; once it was clearly established that the cage was over stocked and that a high percentage were juveniles, Sea Shepherd divers freed the 700-800 tuna.

It is our position that the Bluefin tuna we freed from that cage held a large number of juveniles and that the fish were caught after the official closure of the season. It is also our position that the fish that we freed exceeded the quota.

A large percentage of the tuna were juveniles and from the position of the cages and the fact that the entire Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna closed at midnight on June 14th, Sea Shepherd is convinced that this catch was caught after June 14 and therefore Sea Shepherd holds the position that this operation by these two vessels was illegal.*

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not a protest organization. The Society is an anti-poaching organization and these two seiners are poachers.

A Sea Shepherd cameraman filmed the release of the fish from the centre of the cage and the swimmers confirmed that all 700 to 800 tuna inside the enclosure were freed.

“They shot out of that net like race horses,” said Canadian cameraman Simon Ager 40

After freeing the Bluefin tuna, the Steve Irwin headed north and out of the waters claimed by Libya. The Maltese media reported that Libya had dispatched warships to pursue the Steve Irwin.

There are claims in the Maltese press that a Bluefin Tuna fisherman was injured by our actions. No one on the Steve Irwin, in the helicopter or in the Delta saw any incident where a fisherman was injured, we saw one man dive into the water from the side of the cage. We saw him get up and give us the rude Italian arm signal. We had another fisherman slash at the crew with a hook on the end of a long pole and we had one of the vessels ram us in the port stern area.

* Notes

Given the very bad weather conditions in the Zone north of Tripoli until the closure of the legal fishing season on the 14th of june, it is impossible this catch was taken during the legal season. The Tuna were caught post-closure, during the period of very calm weather that has predominated over the area since the 15th.

Legal Season:

Wind speed 12th june: 20-35 knots / Seas 1-2 meters
Wind speed 13th june: 20-25 knots / Seas 1-2 meters
Wind speed 14th june: 10-20 knots / Seas 1-2 meters

Post closure:

Wind speed 15th june: 10-15 knots / Seas 1 meter
Wind speed 16th june: 15 knots / Seas <1 meter
Wind speed 17th june: 10 knots / Seas <1 meter

The Steve Irwin passed the Khandeel 2 (one of the vessels on the BCD document read over the VHF radio) on the 13th at 1230 at 33*36 / 13*55 less than 20 miles from where we encountered the cages towed by cesare rustico and rosario tuna on the 17th, and it was not fishing. The weather was rough.

Given the location of the capture, and the location of the tow vessel, it is impossible the catch was made 3 days ago. Heading towards Malta with an average 25 miles per day, the vessel and cage would have been much further North. (the vessel was in very calm weather sitting still waiting a second vessel)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Green Volunteers update


There are 2 ladies who look after stray dogs around Pasir Ris. They urgently need volunteers to help them with the dogs. If you can help, please contact Adrian Tan directly (mobile 92368614).


As you all know I am in Ramesh Travel Service and intend to increase my trips to Malaysia (by road). I am looking for a reliable transport contractor for 12, 25 and 40 seater vans and buses.

All vehicles have to be Malaysian registered and insured. What I am looking for is a competitive and reliable contractor. No need for free weekly lunches, Christmas hampers or kick-backs, just honest, reliable and efficient service – contact me for future discussions.


10th July (Saturday) at 4.00 pm. Email to book place/s.


The Green Volunteers have “adopted” KKPS and need the following supplies:

Children’s t-shirts, shorts

School supplies, simple English books

Board games, soft toys

Socks, shoes, slippers etc and

Vitamin tablets, eyedrops, soap and shampoo

I am hoping that some schools will choose KKPS as their “sister” school so that regular visits can be arranged. We have many teachers amongst our volunteers so hope someone will take up this suggestion. I can help with the arrangements and planning of these visits.


We have decided to resume our school and company environmental talks. There will be a nominal charge of $50 for schools and $100 for companies to defray expenses. Call or email me if you need more information.


a) 3D/2N Endau Rompin National Park, Johor, Malaysia. Selai campsite 25th June (Friday) to 27th (Sunday). Accommodation: Wooden chalet 2 to a room, bring our own sleeping bag. Price: $295 per person, minimum 8 to go (visa if needed not included) with insurance.

b) JOGJAKARTA (Indonesia) 5D/4N during September school holidays, minimum 8 to go, price being worked out. Twin sharing. Highlights: Visit the 8th century Buddhist BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (World Heritage site), PRAMBANAN TEMPLE probably the World’s most beautiful and tallest Hindu temple. OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: Visit active volcano Gunung Merapi, trekking, rafting, farmstay, cook local food, leather industry and some shopping for handicrafts (probably during last day).


I am planning a super trip this late December to Chiangmai (cool season). We’ll visit elephants, hilltribes, go trekking, rafting and anything else we fancy! We will go to hilltribes that no tourists have ever visited and we go during the New Year’s season we can go to an authentic LAHU village to celebrate with them.

I intend to take a maximum of 10 people, prices are being worked out so if you’re interested let me know.

10) OUR BLOG…..

We will be slowly phasing out our email updates. Please refer to the Green Volunteers blog (www.thegreenvolunteers.blogspot.com) for the LATEST updates on our talks/walks/trips and activities.



On Saturday, 12th June, our volunteer Mr Ali Ibrahim gave a talk cum presentation called "Singapore Flora" at the Fort Canning. Ali a plant/tree expert and a card carrying "tree hugger" gave a really inspiring talk and gave us insights that we never thought of and provoked us into taking a completely different view of these green giants.

Thank you Ali for such a lively and unusual talk. We are looking into the possibility of arranging guests for a monthly series of talks. Thank you Ali so much for sharing your time and knowledge with us.

Hope to see you soon on one of our walks or trips.

Mobile 968 40 950

“The dogs bark while the true soldiers march on”

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


We took advantage of the long weekend (Vesak day, 28th May Friday) and went to Bintan Island, Indonesia. There were 7 of us and we had a great time.

On the mangrove boat tour, we spotted several cat snakes and a reticulated python resting on the overhead branches. We visited Sei Kuning Primary School and gave the students badminton rackets, footballs and basketballs, stationery and bags.

We even managed to visit a toufoo making “factory” that produced most of the toufoo that went to wet markets, neighbourhood shops and event to the resorts. My favourite time was when we visited the seven elephants at Nirwana Resort. I have made friend with a beautiful and gentle elephant called “Emma” we bought bananas for her and posed for photos with her. She’s a beautiful, friendly and gentle elephant and I look forward to visiting her again.

In June, we are planning another trip 19th to 21st (Monday).

Nature and recycling was the focus of this trip and we saw a traditional village blacksmith transform a piece of steel from a car’s suspension to a useful strong parang (Machete) and pandan leaves woven into beautiful handbags and tissue holders. The company was fun and we had a good time.

Friday, 21 May 2010

May update


21ST May 2010

Hi Everyone
April/May has been a busy month for the Green Volunteers with talks, walks, and trips.

I did a recce trip to Bintan and enjoyed a great mangrove tour by boat and spotted a number of Cat snakes and pythons nesting on the overhead branches.

The highlight of this 2 night trip was a good trek up Gunung Bintan. We are planning another trip (19th June to 21st June). If you want to learn more about our beautiful local trees I suggest that you attend Ali Ibrahim’s talk on Saturday, 12th June at 2 pm at Fort Canning visitors centre or come for our free nature walk at 4.00 pm.
Hope to see you at one of our many activities.

Mobile 96840 950

Our next “Trees of the fort” walk is Saturday 12th June, Fort Canning Park at 4 pm.

At 2 pm Mr Ali Ibrahim (a well known tree expert) will give a talk/show called “Singapore Flora” also at Fort Canning Park visitors centre. If you want to attend the walk or talk (or both) please email me. Space is limited so it’s on a first come first served.

Those thinking of attending our next nature guiding training, this is a good opportunity to hear a tree expert talk and go for a walk.

19th to 21st June (Monday). 3D/2N Eco/Edu trip to Bintan (Indonesia). Stay at an air-con lodge, twin sharing. Price $310 per person, this includes ferry to/from, accommodation, mineral water, all activities, food (Breakfast, lunch at Food centre and dinner at restaurant) and insurance.
Activities: a) School visit

a. Mangrove boat tour
b. Trekking Gunung Bintan
c. Traditional village craft, pandan weaving, knife making and
d. Some free time on last day

We need minimum of 8 people to do this trip – please book early


The Green Volunteers have “adopted” KKPS and need the following supplies:

• Children’s t-shirts, shorts
• School supplies, simple English books
• Board games, soft toys
• Socks, shoes, slippers etc and
• Vitamin tablets, eyedrops, soap and shampoo

I am hoping that some schools will choose KKPS as their “sister” school so that regular visits can be arranged. We have many teachers amongst our volunteers so hope someone will take up this suggestion. I can help with the arrangements and planning of these visits.


We have started this project to help a trash picker community in Jakarta. Special trash is collected, washed, dried and made into practical items like passport holders, pencil cases, computer bags etc.

We sell these in Singapore to help raise funds to help send their children to school and run a soup kitchen for these children. You can help by helping us to sell these products (or buy a few for yourself!) to improve their welfare.

I am going to Jakarta this Saturday to visit them to see how we take this social self-help enterprise to a higher level of cooperation... More news in next update.


If you have a green thumb or want to learn more about plants and “hands-on” gardening you can volunteer every Saturday morning to help at the Pasir Ris herb/garden at carpark “C” Pasir Ris Park (5 minutes walk from Pasir Ris MRT).
If you’re interested please contact our senior volunteer Donald “green thumbs” Andris mobile 96494043


I am planning a super trip this December to Chiangmai (cool season). We’ll visit elephants, hilltribes, go trekking, rafting and anything else we fancy! We will go to hilltribes that no tourists has ever visited and if we go during the New Year’s season we can go to an authentic LAHU village to celebrate with them.

I intend to take a maximum of 10 people, prices are being worked out so if you’re interested let me know.


15th July to 22nd Singapore Garden Festival, Suntec City, please let me know date and time you can volunteer.


This conference will be held from 4th to 10th July 2010 at Lawang, East Java. This conference about Biodiversity and culture is suitable for both teachers and students.

For more information about this conference check their websites www.cei2010.org or www.caretakers4all.org or email info@cei2010.org.
You will be met at Surabaya Airport and transported to Lawang (about 1 ½ hours away)


In conjunction with EARTH DAY, I gave a talk/show on 16th April at Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens entitled “Volunteering for mother Earth”.

Attendance was very good and it was a full house.

Mobile 96840950
“The dogs bark while the true soldiers march on”

Monday, 10 May 2010


I recently wrote a comment to the Straits Time Forum about NEA’s plan to hire outside consultants to advise them on how to increase recycling.
My comments were of course not printed as it coincided with the opening of Shell’s new 4 billion dollar petro chemical plant at Pulau Bukom. Our Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong officially opened this complex. He made a burp about saving the environment but safe guarding Singapore’s economy.
Anyway here’s the article I wrote ... enjoy!

dear sirs
i referto the above article wtitten by grace chua that appeared in the straits times may 4th page B2,.

the NEA should address the first of the 3 R,s[reduce reuse and recycle],if we reduce then the reuse and recycle part is automatically cut down.
plastic bags are a good example..we have a population of 5 million people and if we just use one less plastic bag a month thats a reduction 240000000[two hundred and forty million plastic bags saved] and that,s a lot of landfill saved not to mentioned toxic gases.

what we need to do is start charging for plastic bags at supermarkets and major retail outlets..if foreign owned stores like IKEA can start charging for plastic bags i don,t see why other other supermarkets can do the same..after all Ikea like all other retailers also have a bottom line to worry about...could it be that they care more about the environment than others?

some time ago a half hearted attempt was made to get shoppers bring their own bags[bring your own bag day] this was an exercise in futility because as soon as the campaign stopped the free plastic bags started flowing freely again.

this campaign should have been an introduction to a total ban on plastic bags and not a feeble and half hearted attempt to cut down the use of plastic bags.
i always wondered why an enlightened country like cannot charge for plastic bags[the money can go to our garden city fund to plant more trees and plants at our parks and open spaces] while many countries do .

even countries like taiwan ,bangladesh,rwanda and even somalia have banned these destructive bags...could it be that singapore being a major oil refining center could be pandering to the wishes of these oil giants?

Come on NEA don,t waste tax payers money on expensive consultants..bite the bullet and just say no to plastic bags..you know thats the right thing to do

grant w. pereira
the green volunteers

On the other subject of Shell petroleum, I recently came across a poster I made for the new Chairman of Singapore Environment Council before I resigned as Head of the Green Volunteers Network.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Hotsoup postcard

The Green Volunteers/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have just produced another catchy anti-sharksfin postcard called "HOT SOUP"... Thank you Jaki Teo for designing such a thought provoking post card!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010



My trip to Chiangmai has been postponed till December so I’ll be around.


To take advantage of the Vesak Day holiday (28th May, Friday) I am organising a 3D/2N trip to Bintan island. I just came back and completed a challenging climb at Gunung Bintang.

As it’s a public holiday and the beginning of the school holidays, we need to book accommodation and ferry tickets ASAP. I intend to take a maximum of 20 people (already have 6 confirmed) so please book early. Price $295 per person, leave 8.00 am 28th May (Vesak Day) back 30th Sunday late afternoon. Price increased because of peak season and we have put in compulsory basic insurance for participants.

Closing date 15th May 2010. First come, first served and only confirmed when full payment received.


This is a primary school at Bintan that caters for village children. They need exercise books, ballpoints, pencils, childrens’ tee-shirts and simple English story books.

If you can help, email me – thanks. On 28th May we will visit the school to present these to the children.


Next walk, Saturday 8th May, meet 3.45 pm Fort Canning Visitor’s Centre. If you want to attend please email me, your name, how many people coming and your mobile number.


Grant W. Pereira

Mobile +65 96840 950

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


We were given a complimentary booth under the Sea Shepherd banner but also gave out plenty of Green Volunteer materials. This year's theme was ''save the sharks'' and we gave out plenty of our anti-sharksfin postcards and created awareness on how endangered
sharks are.

Our booth was next to WWF so we managed to get close to the panda

Thursday, 8 April 2010

April update

Hi everyone

Welcome to your April update....

If you are interested in learning more about the old trees of Fort Canning, there's a walk this Saturday (10th April, 4 pm). On Friday, 16th April there's a talk (also 4 pm) at the Botanic Gardens entitled "Volunteering for mother Earth" come and bring your friends to learn more about the work we volunteers do.

There's lots of ECO trips organised for the June holidays, so, here's your chance of learning more about nature and meeting up with like minded people.

Hope to see you soon on one of our trips or volunteer activities.

Grant W. Pereira
Mobile: +65 968 40950






5th June, Saturday, (World Environment Day) to 7th June (Monday)

19th June (Saturday) to 21st June (Monday)

PRICE $275 per person (need minimum 20 participants) which includes ferry to/from accommodation 6 to a chalet, food and all tours and treks. First come basis and confirmed only when deposit/payment secured.


1st to 6th May (6D/5N) whale shark interaction

Email for more details or come to ADEX dive show to discuss (our booth COZ), Suntec 9th to 11th April.


June school holidays, need minimum 10 people. 7D/6N around $1,150 per person, twin sharing


Earth Day is coming up soon (22nd April) and I have been invited by NPARKS to give a talk on Friday, 16th April at 4 pm at the Function Room, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens. Entitled "VOLUNTEERING FOR MOTHER EARTH", it will be about the work of the Green Volunteers and to get them thinking about volunteering.

Email me if you want to attend this talk. The talk will probably end by 5.30 pm so we can go for a walk after the talk.


We are looking to train Nature Guides for our regular nature walks at Fort Canning Park (every 2nd Saturday of the month @ 4pm). If you are interested or want to know first hand the responsibilities of a nature guide are perhaps you can join us for a walk this Saturday (10th April) at 4 pm, booking required.


There is a sign at Changi Village jetty that says that anyone wishing to bring their pets to Ubin must now charter the whole boat. This came about when a child was bitten by a dog enroute to Ubin.

I really don't understand why would pet owners want to bring their pet poodles to Ubin where the resident and stray dogs are flea infested, not vaccinated and carry so many disease that they can easily be transmitted to other dogs.

What do you get when breed a bulldog with a Shitzu? A BullShitzu! Of course!

GREEN CLEANERS (www.greencleaners.asia) have just arrived in Singapore and want to "give-back" (in the form of green cleaning products) to a worthy cause. I was thinking that we could use these products to clean houses of people who are too old or sick to do it themselves... What do you think? Any ideas? And of course we will need hard working volunteers to help.


We have just printed a batch of new GV forms, thanks to the artwork of long time G.V. supporter Laykeng and the printing sponsorship of “PAUL THE PRINTER”. Thank you both of you!!

Go to our blog if you want to see our new Green Volunteers card.


Our next walk this Saturday (10th April) at Fort Canning Park, 4 pm, still some places available. If you want to go for this walk, please email me.


On 23rd April I shall again be leaving Singapore for Chiangmai with 18 SMU students. This will be our 5th trip to do elephant conservation and social projects that will also include a major reforestation project. To increase awareness of the plight of the Thai elephants we have printed 70,000 ZoCards that are distributed free, island-wide, so get your ZoCard (designed by the students themselves). To see them, please go to our blog.


23rd April to 15th May with SMU students to Chiangmai do elephant conservation, social work and a major reforestation project. If you need to contact me, please do so before I leave.



The first one was on 13th March and inspite of a drizzle, 32 people attended, next one this Saturday, 4 pm


12th March (Friday) I was keynote speaker at their Green Club's sustainable dinner. Vegetarian dinner and we ate with the oldest eating utensils in the world.. Our hands!


Obtained a sponsorship from RICOH for Macpheson Primary School to start our SPROUTS programme. Sometime in June - volunteers needed to set up our native tree/plant garden.


27th March (Saturday) SMU students attended (those going to Chiangmai on 23rd April) a gardening session at the spice garden at Pasir Ris Park (carpark C). This was to teach them the proper digging techniques for our major reforestation project at Chiangmai in April.


5th April (Monday) together with the SMU team that went to Hangzhou in December we gave a presentation to about 30 trainee teachers from Institute of Education, Hong Kong. We discussed the possibility of a joint project in either Hong Kong or China.

The dogs bark…The Green Volunteers march on!!



Mobile 968 40950

Monday, 29 March 2010


EARTH DAY is coming up (22nd April) and I have been invited by NPARKS to give a talk on Friday, 16th April, 4 pm at Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens.

My talk is entitled “VOLUNTEERING FOR MOTHER EARTH” if you want to attend, please email me grant@singapore.com and let me know how many people coming. As the talk should finish by 5.30 pm I intend to go for a walk at Botanic Gardens and you’re more than welcome to join me.


On the 23rd April, I shall again be leaving for Chiangmai with 18 students from S.M.U., this will be our 5th trip. To increase the awareness of the plight of the Asian elephant we have printed 60,000 ZoCard (postcards) that will be distributed free.

Here are the images for this postcards. It was designed by the students themselves and looks pretty catchy! So get yours at ZoCard outlets.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Laykeng, an old guard of the Green Volunteers has helped redesign our Green Volunteers application card. Thank you Laykeng for your effort, time and commitment to the Green Volunteers.

We would also like to thank “PAUL, THE PRINTER” who again sponsored the printing of these postcards and never asked for any publicity whatsoever (a mark of a true believer in our green cause).

A BIG THANK YOU TO BOTH OF YOU – Your generosity is much appreciated!


The Official launch

This morning I attended an invite from NPARKS to “The man who planted trees” programme. It was held at the Botanical Gardens to pre-launch the upcoming “Singapore Garden Festival” (Suntec, 15th July to 22nd July 2010).

The man who planted trees

It’s a fable about a French farmer in the south of France who reforested a badly degraded piece of land. It took him 40 years, but today the valley is green and alive with fauna and flora.

School children taking their turn at planting

The effigy is about 5 metres tall

So you see, one person can make a difference! A large effigy of this green hero was erected from chicken coop type thick mesh and filled with damp sponge, and those attending (guests, green groups and schools) “planted” colourful cuttings on the “green man”. This same green man will be the centre piece at the SGF come July.

Children planting their cuttings

So come July make a date of meet “The man that planted trees” at Suntec city.

Here are some photos I took of this even. Green Volunteers will have a booth at SGF and volunteers are needed, email grant@singapore.com if you can help.

Sunday, 14 March 2010



Hi Everyone! 13th March 2010

We are now using a server to send out updates. In future you will be getting updates from this server (quota limited) or from the server of Ramesh Travel Services who have donated this service to The Green volunteers. We shall be also posting events and updates on our blog (www.thegreenvolunteers.blogspot.com) so please check regularly to keep updated on our events and activities.

A trip is being planned to Sandakan (end March - early April) to check out the Orang Utans and other interesting primates, flora and fauna along the kinabatangan river and if we’re really lucky to spot herd of pigmy elephants. (see “The Sandakan Adventure”)

We are also planning to do some weekend home stays in Johor and a whale shark snorkeling expedition to Donsol, Philippines so let me know if you are interested.
Go to our blog to see our Sandakan posting and learn more about this exciting trip.

Mobile : 65 96840950



1) ADEX Dive Show – April 9th (Friday) to 11th (Sunday) Suntec
2) Singapore Garden Festival – 15th July (Thurs) to 22nd (Thurs) Suntec

Email if you can help


We have teamed up with NPARKS Fort Canning and have put together an exciting tree appreciation walk at Fort Canning Park where old and interesting trees are highlighted. These guided nature walks are free and will be held every 2nd Saturday of the month beginning 13th March.

We meet 3.45pm at Fort Canning Centre, prior registration is required, please email if you want to attend. We would need you name, mobile and number of people attending. Please book early – Thanks!

April 10th
May 18th
June 12th
July 10th
Aug 14th
Sept 11th
Oct 9th
Nov 13th
Dec 11th

S.P.R.O.U.T.S (Singaporean Proudly Replanting Our Unique Trees and Shrubs)

Our S.P.R.O.U.T.S programme has finally been launched with again another generous sponsor from RICOH. Green volunteers have partnered with MacPherson primary school in this project. It will incorporate the pilot project P.A.L (Programme for Active Leaning) which is endorsed by the Ministry of Education. So far 12 cluster schools have signed on to this pioneer project where all their students have to spend a fixed period of time doing modules on the environment, sustainable development, awareness and other related green programmes, many of them “hands-on”.

Our S.P.R.O.U.T.S programme is being extended to include basic gardening and garden planning courses, talks by well known gardening experts and even seed exchange programme – stay tuned for more exciting news!


For our Orang asli and Thailand hill tribe project (next visit to Thailand on 21st April to 14th May 2010), we are looking at the following :

1) NTUC supermarket gift vouchers
2) Medicated soap and shampoo
3) Eye drops
4) Canned food (please check expiry date)
5) Milk powder (3 to 12 yrs old)
6) Children / grown up clothes (no skirts or dresses)
7) Warm winter clothing
8) Vitamin tablets, vitamins “c”, multivitamins (again, please check expiry date)
9) Reading glasses
10) Jackets (Nov to Feb very cold!)
11) Cotton / leather gloves, socks
12) Face cream e.g. aloe vera etc to sooth children’s skin
13) Children’s games

Nanyang Optical has donated reading glasses and jackets – Thank you Nanyang!
Email me if you can help – Cheer.


All of us have seen these slobs! A mixture of young men and women who occupy MRT seats reserved for senior citizens, the handicapped or pregnant women. these self centered thoughtless plonk themselves on these reserved seats.
Many of them pretend to fall "asleep" the moment they take these seats but can instantly wake up just when their stop comes up. There are number of these morons in uniform and army boys are ptetty prominent culprits.

It makes one wonder how can they be expected to defend Singapore when they don't even have the simple courtesy of giving up their seats to elders!!

I am in correspondence with MINDEF about this small number of misfits who give our uniform a bad name. It really iriks me to see strapping young men either pretending to be asleep or sitting unconcerned on a reserved seat playing their computer games while old frail people have to stand the whole journey.

The MRT operators are aware of these problems but are doing very little (besides some ineffective Phua Chu Kang posters/stickers asking people to give up their seats). We need to embarrass them not only to give up the reserved seats but realise that these seats are NOT MEANT FOR THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.....

The MRT have too many staff on the platforms, why not have some in the train to ensure that these seats are given to those who really need them. I live at Pasir Ris and being the first station I a the choice of seats, I usually sit on the "reserved" seats (so these slobs don't get them) and give it up when I see someone who needs it. This is one way of "reserving" these seats for them, you should try this effective method.

I have started a blog a (www.mrtsleepers.blogspot.com) to highlight this irresponsible behavior and post their pictures on the blog. If they are in uniform I will also send these photos to their respective organisation for comment.

So come join me in highlighting these uncouth slobs. Take pictures of them (your mobile or camera make sure your flash is turned off) and I will post them on my blog. You can email these pictures to me at mrtsleepers@gmail.com. I often wonder what foreign visitors or tourists must think when they see a young person sitting on a reserved seat while an old person stands!

What happen to all our campaigns asking Singaporeans to be caring and gracious people? When you email your photo/s to me please mention the date, time, nearest station and where train was heading.

Looking forward to your photos of these unthoughtful fools.


29th March (Monday) to 4th April (Sunday)

To take advantage of the good friday holiday(2nd April) I am arranging a 6N/7 day trip to Sandakan to check out the primates(Orang Utan, probosis, leaf monkey), hornbills, mangrove snakes etc.

We need a minimum of eight people going.
Costs about $1150 per person, including the following:

1) Return air ticket S'pore/Sandakan/S'pore via K.L. on Air Asia

2) All transport/accommodation, tours, most meals. At Sandakan, only breakfast supplied

3) Twin sharing basis Sandakan airconditioned 3 star hotel but at Bilit and Sepilok lodge fan room

4) 3 boat tours on Kinabatangkan River. Hope we meet up with the elusive herd of pygmy elephants

5) Entry fee into Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

6) Visit to Gomstong Cave and

7) One night walk (weather permitting)


1) Insurance: but can arrange for you
2) Visa(if required) can also be arranged by us.

Please confirm early and Email/SMS/call me should you require more information.



In Nov 2009, The Green Volunteers in conjunction with NPARKS and a sponsorship from RICOH launched a butterfly garden at Fort Canning Park. RICOH took advantage of this occasion to also hold their Family Day at the garden.

The planting was done by RICOH staff and their families, NPARKS’s staff and of course our Green Volunteers. This was followed by a scrumptious lunch that everyone enjoyed after the hard work of planting. There are plans to add one more butterfly garden soon. We intend to include this garden when we do our “Trees of the Fort walk”, check this update for more details.


With support from Sebana Cove, The Green Volunteers have embarked on a hornbill conservation project at Sebana Cove at the southern tip of Johor. There are 10 species of hornbills in Peninsula Malaysia and we have already identified 2 species so far, the oriental pied hornbill and a pair of black hornbills. We have also erected breeding boxes at likely breeding spots.

For more information on this exciting and interesting project, visit our blog (www.sebanahornbills.blogspot.com). Soon we will be organizing weekend trips to Sebana for nature walks (day and night) and bird watching.
We will also visit an organic medicinal plant/herb garden, a fruit farm and an ostrich farm. You can buy ostrich meat (some say they taste better than quality beef) and really fresh prawns and fish before we return to Singapore after lunch Sungei Renggit.

More details real soon!


On Friday 12th March, I gave a talk at their fund raising dinner. We also watched a movie made by an ex-student Patrick Rouxel called "Green".

It is factual and emotional story of an Indonesian Orang Utan displaced by the logging and palm oil industry. The best part of this movie is that the end Patrick names (and shames I hope!) all the major companies that contribute directly to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest. I am trying to get a copy from Patrick and will show it - anyone can suggest a venue that can take about 50 people and is rent - free?


Monday, 8 March 2010


Sandakan in East Malaysia is one of my favourite places to visit. The people are laid back, friendly and everyone is helpful.

I visit Sandakan often as its also home to my 2 favourite places, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the mighty Kinabatangan river. Kinabatangan is really rich in biodiversity and really very easy to get to. Its teaming with birdlife and hornbills are a common sight. A slow cruise along the river is a must and you’ll be greeted with a wonderful sight of several species of monkeys (macaques, leaf and proboscis).

From the tree tops, they watch you as intently as you watch them, so I sometimes wonder who is watching whom?

The local wet market is a great place to visit for local food and traditional local produce like Keropok, salted fish etc. The food centre is extremely clean and well maintained. As an added bonus, the last time I visited, it was the fasting month and every evening many roadside food stalls would appear. The delicious and colourful food was both mouth-watering and reasonably priced –the BBQed seafood and spicy chicken is a “must try”.

The star attraction of the Kinabatangan cruise are the elusive pygmy elephants. I only saw them at my 5th visit but my travelling vet friend Vishant saw them on his first tr ip – some people have all the luck!!

I am organising another trip in late April/ early May with Ramesh Travel services. The actual timing and prices are being worked out, email me if you’re interested in joining us.

Text and photos by Grant
Mobile: +65 96840950

Oriental pied hornbill

A typical chalet at Bilit

Traditional fish trap

Great egret in full flight

The fruits of the Nauclea officanalis (Entcing but poisonous)

Fruiting season

The best way to explore the mighty Kinabatangang is by boat
Comorant on the lookout for fish
Comorant sunning

Geat egret (Casmerodius albus) patiently waiting for food to swim by

Fish for dinner

Probosis monkey in flight

Banded leaf monkey

A probosis monkey sitting pretty

Hanging out with friends

Saturday, 16 January 2010


(Singapore Management University / Green Volunteers)

On the 6th of December 2008, I accompanied 18 students from Singapore Management University (SMU) for a 17 day educational trip to Hangzhou, China. This project was called “Project Green Paradise) and the purpose was to visit schools to relate the Singapore experience and spread the 3R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) message.

Hangzhou is a beautiful city with a 2,500 year old histroy and was for a time the capitol of China. The city is situated at the famous west lake, mant poems have been written about this lake, including the classic “Madam White Snake”. Hangzhou is a clean and refined city with a long history of famous artists, poets and architects. It is also reputed to have some of the most beautiful women in China, although at the time of our visit, they must have been on winter break. The weather in December is bitterly cold and some students resorted to wearing 3 tee shirts in addition to a jacket, on some nights the temperature sometimes was zero!

The daily school visits were a real delight and eye opener for us, although many schools had inadequate equipment (when compared to Singapore schools), they more than made up for this by a great spirit and enquiring mind and were always happy and cheerful. Maybe our Ministry of Education should send some of our teachers to Hangzhou to learn how inspite of the bitter cold and lack of study equipment, these children stay so positive.

It was not all work and we found time to visit a number of interesting museums like the Great Canal Museum that reveals in detail the long history of the canal system in China. Canals were not only for commerce but for military transport in time of war and civil strive. We also visited museums for swords and knives (for which Hangzhou is famous for) and one highlighting the history and styles of umbrellas throughout China. The newly built science museum was an exciting experience especially for those interested in science.

We also managed an overnight trip to a country town called QIANDAOHU, a 2.5 hour bus ride from Hangzhou where we visited the famous 1000 island lake which is 98 times bigger and hold 3000 more water volume than west lake.

Our host in Hangzhou was Zhejiang University, one of China's 3 top universities and often referred to as the “Oriental Cambridge” of China. Their green club members were very helpful and not only arranged our school visits but also for me to give 2 talks at the University about the activities of The Green Volunteers. At these 2 talks, there were more than 200 green club members from about 45 schools in Hangzhou. We also did an interesting programme with students at the Xixi wetlands park, an interesting natural/man made wetland habitat and a favourite bird watching spot in Hangzhou.

Most of our meals were taken at one of Zhejiang's 6 cafeterias and there was a great variety and the food both nourishing and delicious and best of all, we paid student prices! With a student population of 31,000, providing meals is a major taking at the university.

Hangzhou is an extremely clean city and there are street cleaners everywhere. I found out that the authorities spend around RMB18 (about Sing$ 3.6) to clean one square metre within the city area per month. The people around Hangzhou are an enterprising and hardworking people, everywhere you will see small businesses on pushcarts and every piece of available land is used for vegetable cultivation. There are many small neighbourhood parks for residents to relax, meet or do the time honoured practice of Tai-chi. Bargaining is a must and one has to be thick skinned about this, although most vendors are honest, there are a few that are crooked!

In Qiandaohu, I went to a shop selling vegetables/flower seeds and chose seeds that would have amounted to S$30 at most (I have bought seeds in China before) but since I did not speak mandarin and was a foreigner, he asked for S$185!! which led me to promptly walk out of the shop.

As we are doing a hilltribe organic tea planting tea in Northern Thailand, the highlight for me was a visit to the famous Dragon Well (Long-Jing) tea growing area anout a 45 minute drive from Hangzhou. Dragon well green tea is the most famous green tea in all of China. About 700 years ago, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty visited this area and tasted the tea. He praised it for its colour, scent, taste and leaf shape. He ordered 30 tea trees to be planted near a famous tea house. Today, 18 of these 700 year old tea trees still survive (12 were destroyed during the cultural revolution). Qianlong also ordered wells to be built to irrigate the hills for more planting of trees. The honourfic title for the Emperor is Dragon (Long) and since he ordered the digging of wells (Jing) that's how Long Jing green tea got it's name! The quality of the tea also depends on the weather (like grapes).

In 2005, a special batch of first grade dragon-well tea sold for RMB150,000 (about S$30,000) per kilo (1000 grams). Not having the spare cash, I bought a kilo of 2nd grade tea for RMB600 (S$120 per kilo).

It was raining and bitterly cold when we visited so we didn't have the chance to reach the top of the tea plantation. We stopped at a tea house and was told that a glass of 1st grade tea cost about S$12, many of us chose a drink from the vending machine instead!

Another interesting trip to a historical sight was a visit to Lingyin temple. It's a 45 minute drive from Hangzhou. This temple is more than a 1,000 years old and built during the Song dynasty. It's a buddhist temple with touches of taoism. There are beautiful images of the Lord Buddah carved into the hills with some of them more than 1,000 years old. Even Emperor Qianlong (the dragon well tea guy) was involved in the building of a monastry). With swaying bamboos and babbling brooks and streams, Lingyin is a peachful place and an ideal place for meditation and contemplation, unfortunately it's a very popular tourist destination and this brings distrations.

As this was our first trip, I would consider it a success but there are many activities and areas that can be improved and new activities included.

Photos coming up soon!