Category: Nature & Culture

[Nature & Culture] On the Trail of Haw Par Villa and Malayan Tiger Heritage

by Teresa Teo Guttensohn
with contributions from Journeys Pte Ltd

29 July is Global Tiger Day. This article is dedicated to the Malayan Tiger, now extinct in Singapore. It honours the last 200 wild Malayan Tigers fighting for survival in the jungles of Malaysia. Can we save this living emblem of Singapore and Malaysia before it’s too late?

“In this new world: a presentation of “regarding” by Madeleine Lee”, featuring “Boschbrand” (Forest Fire), 1849, Oil on canvas, Raden Saleh (b.1811 – d.1880, Indonesia). Collection of National Gallery, Singapore. The performance responded to Saleh’s monumental painting – a dramatic representation of tigers and wild animals chased by flames to the edge of a precipice set in Java. PHOTO: 2019, Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Raden Saleh’s 171-year-old artwork seems prescient as the haze crisis from burning fires caused by land clearing on oil palm plantations have plagued the region and killed countless wildlife in recent decades. PHOTO: 2019, Teresa Teo Guttensohn

A Powerful Asian Symbol

Throughout history and across many cultures, no animal has inspired as much awe as the largest wild cat on the planet, the majestic Tiger (Panthera tigris).

In Asian art and mythology, this impressive feline is a powerful symbolic animal that is feared, admired and glorified. Unsurprisingly, the endangered tiger is regarded as exotic, charismatic and the most popular animal in the world.

Reclining tiger, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475-221 B.C.). Originally a lid ornament on a very large vessel, this tiger demonstrates a vivid naturalism that reflects the influence of ‘animal style’ art created by nomadic cultures of the northern steppes. Description by Metropolitan Museum of Art. PHOTO: 2020, Bronze replica from the private collection of Teresa Teo Guttensohn

Winners of the Endangered Species Kids Poster Design Contest

Dear eco-warriors, thank you for your beautiful designs in the inaugural Endangered Species Kids Poster Design Contest.

At Cicada Tree Eco-Place, we believe that nature and culture are intertwined and people must play an active role in conserving the natural world.

Thank you for loving nature and please continue sharing this passion and knowledge with as many friends – together, we can make a difference!

Our team truly enjoyed viewing your creations, and we applaud all your efforts! After careful deliberation, we are happy to announce the winners:

Age 9-11yrs Category

Top 3 winners will receive a one-year free family membership at Nature Society (Singapore) worth $75 and a book prize. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Raffles Banded Langur by
Han Jia Qian, 11, Keming Primary School
“I chose this vulnerable animal as it is rare and unique to Singapore. Their homes were destroyed to make space for houses and MRTs. We should build more rope bridges to help them cross our roads. “
Sunda Slow Loris by
Juliette Eve Phang, 11, Hong Wen School
“I hope this heartwarming image will appeal to people
and let them know that anyone and everyone can play a
part in saving this beautiful animal so it does not join
the list of extinct animals and disappear forever.”
Red Giant Flying Squirrel and White-Bellied Woodpecker by
Aryn Tan, 11, Henry Park Primary School
“I drew an excavator cutting down trees to show how
their homes are being destroyed by human beings.”

Age 6-8yrs Category

Top 3 winners will receive a $50 book voucher and a book prize. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Singapore Durian, Singapore Kopsia, Kerinting , Bulbophylium by
Aashvi Muraka, 6, Montessori for Children
“Aashvi often hugs trees, saying they are lonely
as they stand alone throughout the night and day.
We wanted to emphasise that without plants,
there is no life and without life there is no ‘us’.”
White-Bellied Woodpecker by
Amaira Sharma, 8, Invictus International School
“This woodpecker pecks on dead trees.
I think it is very clever as it should be home
to many kinds of tasty delicious bugs.
Every living thing deserves a chance no
matter how big or small it is.”
Singapore Dendrobium, Monitor Lizard Fern, Singapore Freshwater Crab, Singapore Black Caecilian, White-Bellied Woodpecker, Raffles Banded Langur by
Jayna Tan Zi Ning, 8 CHIJ Toa Payoh Primary School
“We need to protect endangered animals and plants because it is important for humans.
A well-balanced ecosystem purifies the environment, giving us clean air to breathe,
a healthy water system to support diverse marine life and arable land
for agricultural production. When ecosystems fail, our own health is at risk.”


To thank you for participating and encourage more young eco-warriors, these commendable entries will be awarded a book prize as well. We will get in touch shortly on how you will receive your prize!

Keep up the good work and continue learning about the natural world and Singapore’s precious native wildlife!

View the entries below (click to enlarge):

[Nature & Culture] Exhibition: ‘The Seeds We Sow’

by Teresa Teo Guttensohn

Exhibition view of “The Seeds We Sow” at Mizuma Gallery, 2020.
Photo: Teresa Teo Guttensohn

Human intervention in nature is age-old.

How should we tread upon the earth we live and depend on? As a thinking and caring community, we need to engage in thoughtful discourse in order to form a land ethic that can be passed down to future generations.

The ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic must surely drive us to ponder how we humans perceive and connect with nature. It presses home the message that we need to care for humans, nature, land, and the inter-connections between them.

In an ongoing art exhibition titled ‘The Seeds We Sow’, four Singaporean artists do just that by exploring the theme of human intervention in nature through photography and installations.

‘Artificial Conditions (2019)’ by Ang Song Nian – an installation consisting of biodegradable plant pots – ponders the manipulation of plants, nature, terrain and landscape.

Exhibition view of The Colony Archive by Marvin Tang at “The Seeds We Sow” at Mizuma Gallery, 2020.
Photo: Teresa Teo Guttensohn
Exhibition view of Laughing Thrushes, Scolding and Monitor, Swimming by Robert Zhao Renhui at “The Seeds We Sow” at Mizuma Gallery, 2020. © Robert Zhao Renhui, courtesy of the artist and Mizuma Gallery

‘The Colony – Archive (2019 – ongoing)’ by Marvin Tang is a study of botanical gardens established during the former British Empire. Scattered across the globe yet bearing similar aesthetics, they share a common colonial agenda to convert botany and land for economic purposes.

Robert Zhao Renhui
Monitor, Swimming
diasec print
28.3 x 49.3 cm each (framed), 27 x 48 cm each (unframed)
set of 4
edition of 3 + 1 AP
Photo © Robert Zhao Renhui, courtesy of the artist and Mizuma Gallery

‘Monitor, Swimming (2019)’ and ‘Laughing Thrushes, Scolding (2019)’ by Robert Zhao Renhui, are snapshots of the adaptive behaviour of native and non-native species in a secondary forest. Robert Zhao is well known for his constant fascination with man’s controlled coexistence with nature.

Exhibition view of Reclaimed Sculpture: Domestic Landscape by Zen Teh at “The Seeds We Sow” at Mizuma Gallery, 2020. Photo: Teresa Teo Guttensohn

‘Reclaimed Sculpture: Domestic Landscape’ by Zen Teh presents a collage of different landscapes to form a real yet imaginary cliff at Little Guilin.

The use of a refurbished second-hand cabinet is a conscious effort by the artist and educator Zen Teh to reduce waste, and is an invitation for others to do the same.

Artist, Zen Teh with her artwork Reclaimed Sculpture: Domestic Landscape.
Photo: Teresa Teo Guttensohn

The exhibition held at Mizuma Gallery at 22 Lock Road, Gillman Barracks, is on till 19 July 2020. To learn more, visit the gallery’s event site here. Due to COVID-19 safe distancing requirements, you must make an appointment before visiting!

To make an appointment for your visit, please email the gallery at

World Endangered Species Day – Kids Poster Design Contest

Submission is now closed. The deadline was extended to 10 July. Please note that only designs featuring native, endangered wildlife will be eligible.

To commemorate World Endangered Species Day, Cicada Tree Eco-Place is pleased to announce a poster design contest open to all children in Singapore between the ages of 6-8 and 9-11. Simply draw or design a poster featuring our endangered native wildlife with the slogan “Protect Our Last Wilderness” for a chance to win a prize!

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