Sunday, 15 August 2004

Faculty of Science celebrations

I got roped in to offer something for the NUS Faculty of Science's 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Besides the museum visit on the 4th of September, we will offer the Kent Ridge (or rather Pasir Panjang) Heritage Trail to Science Alumni with the help of Raffles Museum Toddycats and SAJC Green Club members.

First posted on Otterman speaks, 15 Aug 2004.

Monday, 26 July 2004

Biking the Heritage Trail

During the Pasir Panjang Heritage Walk yesterday, we provided a bus pick up point at Buona Vista MRT Station. The bus would bring participants to Kent Ridge Park Car Park B (the one with the tank) where guides from St. Andrew's Junior College's Green Club and museum volunteers (Toddycats) waited to begin guiding.

With the SAJC students competent enough to run the guiding session (it was our second weekend), I decided to meet the participants at the MRT station and get them up the buses myself.

So I found and packed everyone on the my registration list up the bus, waved them off, then raced the bus to Kent Ridge Park - this meant struggling up the steep hill three times - I really felt the weight of my iBook in my pack and the emptiness of my stomach from missing breakfast (but I have reserves!) The bus driver grinned at me as I laboured up Vigilante Drive, stuck his hand out the window to wave to me in my agony as he breezed by, unknowingly the victor! Needless to say, I lost this race every time.

Later, I'd try to beat the bus from Bukit Chandu back to the MRT by taking a short cut through the edge of Normaton Pond and Science Park 2. Happily, I managed to beat the bus once!

I tried to spin on low gears as much as possible and may have succeeded - thankfully the knees aren't aching today.

And I threw in some guiding for good measure.

First posted at Otterman speaks, 26 Jul 2004.

Sunday, 25 July 2004

Pasir Panjang Heritage Walk

Love the poster!

The third and last day of the Pasir Panjang Heritage Walk will be conducted tomorrow by students from SAJC and Todddycats!/Raffles Museum volunteers keeping an eye on things.

The St. Andrew's Junior College students from their Green Club have done pretty well. And even with me having to cancel training for them in June when I fell ill. In fact the groups were pretty much left alone by Todddycats after the few training sessions. They have clearly demonstrated that with adequate training, they can do an excellent job.

That's really encouraging!

During the walk, guides introduce the flora, fauna, life in the 1960's, 1900's and the Battle of Pasir Panjang. The route is a shorter version of what I usually conduct with the help of the Todddycats!, annually, in February.

I just hope it doesn't rain. There are window-rattling winds in the west right now, and I hope it blows over before dawn.

Well, we'll see.

First posted on Otterman speaks, 25 Jul 2004.

Sunday, 18 July 2004

The 6 inch gun at Labrador Park serves as a tribute

A 6-inch rifled barrel was discovered at the old Beach Road camp in March 2001. Similar to the 6-inch guns deployed at Labrador Battery, it was brought over in 2002 or 2003. The gun has since been mounted with attendant fixtures to simulate the 6-inch guns deployed at Labrador during the war. You can now view it at the Labrador Nature Reserve.

In the 1940's Labrador battery was part of a series of coastal gun batteries that was to defend Singapore from attack during WWII. Built in 1878, the Fort Pasir Panjang on Labrador ridge was to protect the western approach to Keppel harbour; and one of 11 coastal artilley forts built in the 19th century to defend Singapore's waters.

The fort will be open to visitors in the months ahead, and promises a better understanding of the development of such arsenals in coastal defenses, its role during the war and the men who blew up the guns and its ammunition, to prevent its acquisition by the enemy.

The display is now marked as a tribute to gunners of Labrador Battery.

First posted at Otterman speaks, 18 Jul 2004.

Monday, 5 July 2004

Pasir Panjang heritage revealed

Last Saturday afternoon was spent discussing aspects of the flora, fauna, early and late history and the battle of Pasir Panjang with 27 others.

Three were veterans Toddycats from previous walks who are helping me train the others - 18 from SAJC's Green Club, 5 toddycats and one staff from National Archives who we are working together with on this Pasir Panjang Heritage Walk project for Heritage Fest 2004.

It's an experiment of sorts, but there is a safety net of veterans. One more training ahead and we will guide some 400 during the fest.

A sandwich beckons so I am abandoning this blog. But read what Patricea has to say.

First posted on Otterman speaks, 05 Jul 2004.

Kent Ridge or Pasir Panjang?

When I first began offering walks on the Ridge in July 2002, I called the series the Kent Ridge Heritage Walks. And offered the walks to the NUS community.

So why this gradual switch to Pasir Panjang?

Well, in order to establish an NUS interest in the walks, our address, Kent Ridge (which I use as "city" when filling in forms), was a useful place to begin with. Few realised the origin of the name, nor that it was only half a century old, and a relative newcomer to the history of the Ridge.

The original name for the area, Pasir Panjang actually means "Long Beach", and isn't unique to the region as many other beaches bear this name (e.g. on P. Bintan and P. Redang).

But it is the name of this ridge and shore behind NUS and its about time I reverted to using it.

And no better time than Heritage Fest.

First posted at Otterman speaks, 05 Jul 2004.

Saturday, 28 February 2004

Adnan lives on

Bust of Lt Adnan Saidi (1915-1942) at Reflections of Bukit Chandu.

I conducted the Kent Ridge Heritage Walk again yesterday. I left my group of NUS staff and alumni in the audio theatre to go get a drink when a pleasant young gentleman borrowed my pen. As he was busy writing in the book for visitor comments, I left him to go downstairs. His wife with their son in her arms eventually found me to return the pen.

When I joined my group again, Alvin, alerted me to the note which the gentleman had written.

"The story of Lt Adnan have inspired my wife to have our 1st child in his name. We bore our 1st child on 28 Nov 2002 and his name is Adnan Harris Bin Sani. On 28 Feb 04, I brought him here and told him about Lt Adnan.

My son was happy to see the museum. My family enjoyed the visit. I like to thank the staffs (friendly) and the organiser for making the place."

And it was signed,

Sani Tugiman and family. 04
Hidup Askar Melayu! [Long live the Malay Regiment]
Taat Setia! [Loyal and True]

The museum, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, is located at the end of Pepys Road off Pasir Panjang, where the last stand of the Battle of Pasir Panjang took place.

First posted in Otterman speaks, 29 Feb 2004.

Thursday, 12 February 2004

Kent Ridge heritage

I went for a recce with two others yesterday. It seems the work done on Kent Ridge's Heritage may lead to possibilities for conservation and education.

Several key individuals have recognised the significance and it may all be connecting up now.

One part of this heritage are the four 1939 outposts of Kent Ridge that look to the city, Bukit Timah and Jurong and witnessed the Battle of Pasir Panjang on 13-15 February 1942. We hope to have the public access it in future. Just a little more work now.

First posted on Otterman speaks, 12 Feb 2004.

Thursday, 8 January 2004

Kent Ridge Heritage with NUSSU

On 16th October 2003, a friend in NUS Museums emailed me about introducing a group of NUSSU committee members to Kent Ridge's heritage. She had heard of the RMBR Kent Ridge Heritage Walks so asked to meet up.

So at 3om today, I met the NUSSU group at the Raffles Museum, briefed them and then conducted a short walk. The students were from engineering, science, arts and building and real estate. They were good company and the walk was enjoyable as always. We reached reached Bukit Chandu at 6pm, and my legs were aching for once!

I noticed some changes. There are no more works around what I think was Prince Edward Point (= pt. 270) in NUS, but we cannot access the 1939 outpost. A lot flowers were blooming and good examples of a wide diversity seemed laid out in a just a stone's throw.

The sheltered path to Marina Hill has some panels about flora put up by DSO. At Kent Ridge Park, a photo of the southern islands panorama has been setup at the lookout point (pt 225); most of the islands are identified. And the canopy walk is functional. Oi Yee had mentioned as much some weeks ago.

This year, I will be conducting the walk on Saturday, 14 February 2004, in commemoration of the battle of Pasir Panjang Ridge (11 - 14 Feb 1942).

The area was actually only named Kent Ridge on 3rd October 1952 [actually in 1954]. A faded stone that indicated this was overlooked by most. After a similar session with NUS' OED, they helpfully painted the words of the marble inlay in late 2002 or early 2003. You can't miss it now, and that's where I rendezvous at 5.50am for Marina South bike rides, which is how this day began!

First posted at Otterman speaks, 08 Jan 2004.