Singapore Splendour – Life on the Edge
Finally the book worth waiting for. Painstakingly photographed, the images are vivid and dazzles constantly for one would not expect nature of this sort to exist in Singapore. All images were taken at low tide without the the use of underwater gear and cameras and taken freely in the wild (except those from RMBR). Who needs World’s largest aquarium or Whale Sharks in glass containers? And who needs captive wildlife?
Synopsis: Singapore’s Splendours – Living on the Edge reveals its best kept secrets with stunning images of the shores and its denizens. Lush landscape and macro photographs uncover the vivid and striking colours of the biodiversity. The author’s intense curiosity and appreciation of lower life-forms is evident from the descriptive text and captions. He journeys with readers through the vibrant intertidal zones. This book covers extensively the shorelines on the mainland as well as the many offshore islands. Rarely seen creatures and glimpses of some almost extinct and endangered species pepper the pages.
Singapore Splendours – Living on the Edge conveys the presence of abundant life in the least expected places and explores the intricate relationship amongst the flora and fauna and its fragility. The book offers intimacy in observations to advance our understanding of nature. Hopefully, this book inspires its conservation. The book symbolizes hope when all seems to be lost.
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The book does not pretend that it is complete in uncovering the diverse marine life, for what we see near the shore is only a fraction of the teeming marine life. Most importantly, the book introduces vivid images that will astound even the uninitiated.
The Revelations of Chek Jawa
(The serendipitous discovery of Chek Jawa created a frenzy in nature appreciation. Stirring images fired the fascination of many who rallied and saved it from development. This chapter unravels vivid images and the special relationship that endeared Singaporeans).
Although devoid of coral reefs, Chek Jawa is the crowning glory of all the intertidal areas of Singapore . Unlike other intertidal areas, it is only on CJ that one can find Sea stars, Carpet anemones and Sand dollars in large numbers. Every visit to CJ is memorable, for there is a certain unpredictability about the presence of marine life. But most unforgettable of all were the thousands of visitors who came to witness the richness of CJ even way before they tide could run out. Such, was their deprivation from intimacy with nature. For nature will always fill one with awe and inspiration. Chek Jawa was only but a start.
First visit impressions dictated whether recurrent visits were necessary. All the visits started after 2001. Due to the seasonal nature, some of the organisms reportedly seen may not necessarily occur until the following year or probably not at all. Nature does not run a fixed course; for such is the unpredictability of nature.
The safety buffer between land and sea, the mangrove forest is one of the most dynamic and important ecosystems known to man. Mudflats, sandflats, seagrass lagoons, tidal pools are temporarily created at low tide. The many denizens that thrives on these unique habitats are showcased. Expect spectacular images despite the poor accessibility and difficulty.
All these creatures live one day at a time and their evolutionary adaptations are put to the test all the time. In natural environment, the constant struggle to survive is dramatic and death for an organism ensures survival for the other. The explosion of colour and texture predominates and the impressive array of creatures are splashed across this chapter. Biodiversity at its best.
Making Sense Of It All
This is where the author connects most to his readers. The impact of discovery, the rarity of the creatures, the researchers at their work and the volunteers who made the difference and most importantly – the appreciation of life.
What is so special about the intertidal areas? The reader too can empathize with the author whose emotive offerings pepper the pages. From someone who is constantly being dazzled by the miracle of life in the shallows, he has much of a story to tell and share.
Running With The Tide – Filming & Filming Crew
This chapter captures the spirit of the people behind the scenes, the camedarieship and their passions. Silently working to find, document and protect the precious little still left, their work is best expressed throughout the book.
Book Critique 1
Imagine you are completely soaked in salt water. exhausted, having plodded the shore in the wee hours of the morning, nevertheless, exhilarating looking forward to what you could possibly capture through your camera lens nature’s stunning beauty.
Truly, it takes ordinary men and women with an extraordinary love for nature to do just that. For five years since 2001, Dr Chua Ee Kiam and his team of enthusiasts have been exploring and archiving the rich marine life along the shoreline of Singapore . Despite personal risks and sacrifices, they have committed themselves to a cause every Singaporean and nature lover should be proud of – studying and documenting the marine ecosystem along the city-state’s 193km shoreline – in the hope their work would contribute towards the preservation of inter-tidal life.
Their perseverance, labours and perspiration have paid off. An important piece of work is finally published. Singapore’s Splendour – Life on the Edge is a splendid book that inspires and astonishes. The images, gleaned from the numerous visits to the various spots, uncover never-before-seen close ups of marine creatures, flora and fauna. Some which are still being identified. Readers will be thrilled by the dazzling world of low tide expressed by this constellation of unusual habitats so delicately captured, and amazingly, without any underwater gear. The book serves not only as a significant record of Singapore ‘s rich biodiversity, it will delight the soul and mind of every reader.
A rare and luscious conservation book – a brilliant collection of Singapore ‘s marine treasure.
Tan Chin Kar, CEO, Armour Publishing (Jan 2007)
Book Critique 2
Saying It All Splendidly
Singapore’s Splendour — Life On The Edge does not just describe the wealth of marine biodiversity around Singapore ‘s shores and reefs, it also speaks of the precarious survival of this precious, and dwindling, natural treasure. Long-time members of the Nature Society will remember its author, dentist Chua Ee Kiam, from his first publication on nature in Singapore titled Ours To Protect in 1993.
Deeply passionate about nature’s fragile stance in Singapore , Chua photographically investigates our island republic’s marine treasure trove, which lie mainly around the coasts around Singapore ‘s outlying islands. With his pictures, he takes us on an adventure through fragile and little understood ecosystems, and from common anemones and lowly sea slugs to many rare and little known life forms that inhabit the inter-tidal zone of our shores.
Through his writing, he paints us a picture of our shores past and present, and the urgent need for the conservation of the specialised habitats here. For those inclined to follow his adventures along the shores, he includes a chapter that advises on how to prepare yourself for a visit to the highly vulnerable ecosystems that surround our island and what can be done to protect it.
Five years in the making, Singapore ‘s Splendour — Life On The Edge is Chua’s fourth and last book on Singapore ‘s remarkable natural diversity, and a worthy addition to any nature lover’s bookshelf. The 184-page hardcover book retails for $65 at major bookstores.
Kim Lee, NatureNews (May-Jun 2007)
Book Critique 3
You won’t believe just how much nature is there to see, in the surrounding islands of Singapore. Leaf through the pages of Singapore’s Splendour and be charmed. Seriously. The colourful, close-up photos of marine flora and fauna are simply beautiful (taken painstakingly without underwater equipment). Some are rare, some are still being identified, and all are found near our sunny island. Yes, take a deep breath and explore the wonders of marine life while you slouch on your couch. This coffee-table book took 5 years to materialize, and is the combined effort of Chua Ee Kiam (a passionate photographer, champion of nature and a dentist) and his dedicated team of filming and film crew. Ee Kiam is donating proceeds from his book to RMBR
Leong Wai Kit, LIFESTYLE (May 2007)
This book will not be possible if not for these mission-focused individuals who shared a similar zeal and took challenges in their stride and certainly, were no whiners. Documentation at low tide is not only demanding and back-breaking, it needed a different mindset. It had to done in short time and seeing nature’s wonders is one thing, finding them is another matter.
Some of the creatures posed immaculately, merging into the background and were most difficult to notice if not for our volunteer “finders”. The role of “finders” in this project is not to be underestimated as time and time again they have uncovered a treasure trove right beneath our noses. Some of the creatures were so cryptic that had us searching high and low despite the markers placed adjacent to them.
The book is a tribute to the many nature conservationists and scientists who had diligently sacrificed much of themselves to document the important lives on the edge. For the many who gave up much of their precious time and risked themselves to achieve these ends – Thank you!
Most memorable – Having to swim to shore with cameras, etc in double bags and yet water penetrated our bags.