On Monday night, at the SG100 Foundation Meeting, our speaker was Mr. Subaraj Rajathurai, a lifelong naturalist and a wildlife consultant. Honestly, I can think of very few professions cooler than that.
When he took the platform, I could feel the passion behind his words as he told us about his humble beginnings and the immense work he had done to push for the conversation of what we now know as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, amongst other little-known but no-less-massive efforts to preserve Singapore's wildlife and its habitats.
He highlighted some of his favourite animals and showed us that Singapore, despite being a tiny country, has some of the richest biodiversity in the world due both to our geographical location (close to the equator) and the age of our rainforests (older than even the majestic Amazon).
When he came to the topic of rapid development and urbanisation of Singapore, he emphasised that he saw this as a necessary part of Singapore's growth, though he was firm in his belief that it needs to be done in a responsible manner and with respect to the natural environment.
To this day, he works in his favourite classroom - The Great Outdoors - both as a teacher and as a student. He gives guided tours, conducts nature programmes, and does field surveys alongside other researchers and nature enthusiasts.
Mr. Subaraj is a man I highly respect. He lives his life in the pursuit of learning and passing on what he has learned, and he encourages others to do the same.
He reminds us that we cannot live apart from our natural environment, that if we care for nature, nature takes care of us.
Thank you for sharing your life and your passion, Mr. Subaraj. Through your words, I am inspired.