The MEM Seminar Series 2002/2003



Public Seminar on


“Leaping into the fray” –

An analysis of the motivation, methods

and propriety of the conservation

and public education efforts at

Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin by researchers

and volunteers of the Raffles

Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS.




Mr N. Sivasothi

Research Officer

Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Science

National University of Singapore







Saturday , 15 February 2003

10:00 am – 11:30 am

Lecture Room LR 426

SDE 3  Level 4



All are Welcome


Download Reply Slip


For more information, please call

Jennifer @ 6874-3563 or e-mail



In June 2001, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in NUS officially opened its Public Gallery. Once again, the public were able to view part of a historical Southeast Asian collection of scientific  animal specimens dating back to Sir Stamford Raffles. For 30 long years, only international researchers were able to access the collections behind closed doors. Ironically at the time, the museum was in the middle of a series of salvage collections of marine organisms from Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin. Due for reclamation by year-end, the area possessed a unique combination of ecosystems and was host to diverse and abundant marine  organisms - a dynamic living classroom that outshone any museum gallery even in the estimation of researchers.  A technical account was submitted to the National Parks Board, and subsequently, the museum initiated a series of public education  exercises and resources with the view of sharing a last glimpse at a unique heritage. The surprisingly enthusiastic public response was communicated to government as a public feedback report, complementing other efforts at the time. Still, the government announcement in December 2001 deferring reclamation at Chek Jawa took most Singaporeans by surprise. In this talk, the speaker analyses the motivation and methods of museum workers and volunteers, questions the role the museum adopted, and discusses its relevance to present and future work there.


About the speaker


While an NUS undergraduate, N. Sivasothi developed a strange affinity for mangroves, which led him to pursue Southeast Asian otters for his Master's degree and resume ecology studies for his PhD. As Research Officer at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS, he is involved in education, database, research, expeditions, local and regional conservation projects. His 15-year involvement mangroves has led to the production of mangrove guidebooks, CDROMs and documentaries. As a member of the Otter Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union, he publishes the Asian Otter Newsletter and Webpage. He has maintained an active career as a volunteer nature guide in Singapore since the 90's and conducts biodiversity workshops, public talks, coordinates the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore and edits the e-newsletter Habitatnews. Efforts over Chek Jawa have involved him in the management of Chek Jawa and the Subject Group on the URA Parks & Waterbodies and Rustic Coast Identity Plans.  He is now redirecting efforts towards training new blood with Friends of the Raffles Museum, volunteer guides with the Nature Society (Singapore) and collaborations with schools on heritage projects.