Nature in Singapore – Ours to Protect

Award-winning coffee-table book on the flora and fauna in Singapore as seen through the eyes of nature photographers. “Nature in Singapore – Ours To Protect” gives one an insight on the wilderness despite the proximity with the concrete jungle. Much is lost but much that is shown can be further saved. Only if we knew what little we have. The book pricks your conscience on what is to be done.

The book is currently out of print.


Winner of the National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Award 1994, “Ours to Protect” was sold out within 6 months of the first publication. This fascinating book captures the wonders of nature in Singapore. OTP was written with the lay person in mind; its descriptive text and numerous breathtaking images will captivate and amuse even the uninitiated.

For urbanized Singaporeans, awareness of the richness of this heritage is often minimal. This book will heighten your awareness by highlighting the enchanting flora and fauna. However, much of which is fast disappearing and the book encourages its preservation. “The earth does not belong to us; we belong to this beautiful earth. And it’s Ours To Protect.

Other Photographers: Laurence Ang, Jeremy Chua, Chou Loke Ming & Reef Ecology Study Group, Johnny Han, Ali Ibrahim, Joseph Koh, Billy Kon, Kim Lee, Lee King Li, Laurence Leong, Francis Lim, Kelvin Lim, Hasan Malik, Peter Ng, Ong Kiem Sian, Jonathan Smith, Morten Strange, Sutari, Tan Tze Siong, Winston Tan, Wee Yeow Chin

Book Launch

DENTIST Chua Ee Kiam picked today, Earth Day, to launch his message: Conservation costs little, but ignoring it may cost you the Earth. At a time when recycling and conservation have become buzzwords, he pushes for more than awareness and action in his book, Nature in Singapore – Ours To Protect“The green message is getting through but the novelty is slowly dying off and efforts like recycling don’t have the impetus they should have,” says Dr Chua. He pushes for conservation as a core value for every individual – a profound dedication to preserving, in the midst of rapid urban change and development in a land-scarce country, the incredibly rich historical legacy that Nature has left in Singapore’s rainforests, marshes and reefs. He and members of the Nature Society of Singapore spent three years trekking the different habitats by day and night, seeking nocturnal and diurnal species and photographing them in their natural environments. The result is an astonishing 250 photographs in a 132 -page hardcover book.

The pictures are a visual statement of what is at stake. They document creatures from land-crabs and the rare pangolin to well-known snakes or birds, to unusual fish, a newly-discovered marsh spider, even a forest turtle which was thought to be extinct because it was last reported to be seen in 1920. “The book is about the complexity and the diversity of wildlife in Singapore. Even if people never go to the forest, they may know what is found there. “You can go to Bukit Timah Reserve or Peirce Reservoir, but you will never see them. takes a lot to learn and understand the habitats of different species,” says Dr Chua.

As you discover the wealth of wildlife which shares this tiny island we call home, remember to read the message at the end of the book: “We must leave a legacy which highlights our reverence for the natural heritage so that future generations can do likewise. The Earth does not belong to us: We belong to this beautiful Earth, it is Ours To Protect.”

Mary Rose Gasmier

[Book was launched at Fort Canning Park on 22 April 1993]

Book Review 1

By Evelyn Eng-Lim (Nature Watch Vol I No 1 49)

The author takes us on a pictorial journey of the natural habitats in Singapore. Many of its photographs will stop you in your tracks. I was enthralled by the one of a Copper-cheeked Frog sitting on a leaf, oblivious to the tiny mosquito on its back. Another shows the uniquely-shaped Lantern Fly with a Giant Forest Ant on its posterior end, sucking expelled sugars and other substances. Such curious symbiotic relationships are all captured in glossy prints. Well-researched descriptive text accompanies the photographs in the book, making it a boon for those who lead nature trips or give awareness talks. There are many interesting facts to draw from to impress, amuse and excite one’s listeners.

The fascinating sojourn covers a diversity of habitats, ranging from the primary forest of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to the threatened grasslands of Tuas and Punggol, the marshes of Poyan and Kranji, and the man-made parks in urban Singapore. Much natural beauty still exists in Singapore. The closing chapter is a plea to all Singaporeans to protect and conserve what little we have before it is too late! The book’s 132 pages showcase 220 dazzling photographs of Singapore’s flora and fauna. About half of these photographs were painstakingly selected from the author’s own treasure trove and the rest from well-known photographers in the Nature Society (Singapore). Their love of nature speaks eloquently through their photography.

Ours To Protect is not only for the wildlife enthusiast but also for the uninitiated, who will find himself naturally drawn to the amazing colours and intricacies of Nature. Every Singaporean should have a copy of this book.

Book Excerpts

“Nature in Singapore – Ours To Protect” by Dr Chua Ee Kiam, excerpts

“It is my fervent hope that as readers discover for themselves and familiarise with the flora and fauna here, they will learn to leave them as they are found in the natural state….

In face of relentless assault on the environment, one wonders when human civilization will end.

Although the forested areas here are but a miniscule partof all the forests in the world, its loss would be more profound considering that, that is all we have left….

Our children will grow up with little idea of the richenss of nature on the island, much less for the love of nature. Awareness alone is not enough. It is essential that we care, and we should not jeopardize the natural resources of future generations. In the end, conservation must start with the individual, for it is the attitude we carry through life that will infect others and perhaps together, we can make a difference.

We must leave with a legacy of reverence of the natural heritage so that future generations can do likewise. The earth does not belong to us: we belong to this beautiful earth. And it is OURS TO PROTECT.”

Book was sponsored by Esso & Exxon Chemicals, Singapore