Buyer, climber, dreamer beware: it feels empty at the summit. I went to collect my graduation gown today. It was a rather uneventful experience. You turn up, tell them your name, they look up the sizes you had previously indicated prior to the collection day, you try on the gown – die a little […]Read more "USP Lives: Wearing the Last Skin"
In 1968, just three years after Singapore’s traumatic separation from Malaysia – and despite the urgent, competing needs of a new nation – a committee was formed to study the feasibility of creating a national zoo. Ong Swee Law, the chairman of the Public Utilities Board (PUB), headed this committee. As discussed previously, many animal […]Read more "A Zoo in the Garden (City)"
As a regional and international trading nexus, Singapore has long been a point of transit for the exotic animal trade. This trade was so rampant and so widespread that the colonial government was forced to pass an ordinance in 1930 banning the trafficking of orangutans through Singapore. Exotic animal collections nonetheless flourished in Singapore. Many prominent […]Read more "Zoos in Singapore’s Past"
The practice of keeping and displaying animals has existed for millennia, from the “sacred menageries” of ancient Egypt to the “zoological gardens” of the nineteenth century. Over time, their role and function has varied significantly. Modern “zoological gardens”, with their emphasis on science, education, recreation and conservation are hence simply the latest incarnations of institutions […]Read more "Introductions: Studying Zoos"
You must be a long time ago. So strange, isn’t it, that they give the same words to things that mean so differently, to colours that contrast, but cannot conjoin. Because the sky isn’t the same at midnight as it is at midday, because silky is a texture that is not the same as sapphire. […]Read more "Blue"
How do worlds end? In a supernova flash, or a whimpering flicker? Which world ended today? Just a small one, as I finished my last writing conference at the USP Writing Centre yesterday, at about 3pm. It did not dawn on me until midway through the session, as I laboured to explain what was problematic […]Read more "USP Lives: Making the Write Choice"
In which a comet learns another way to travel back in time. We are very used to thinking as history as static, objective accounts. We are used to thinking that the history printed in textbooks, or performed at parades, or curated at exhibitions, as authoritative, definitive versions of the past. It must be true if it […]Read more "The Rocks & Rivers of History"