Week Four

Singaporeans versus wildlife

  1. Culling of wildlife due to attacks/complaints
    • Increase in wild boar attacks in urbanised residential areas
    • Monkey break-ins in residential areas
    • Rooster/chicken calls disturbance in residential areas
  2. Overpopulation of animals
    • Cat overpopulation among HDB areas
    • Wild boars overpopulating forests and destroying vegetation
    • Monkeys overpopulating parks and recreational areas, causing disturbances
  3. Others
    • Roadkills

Why we should protect our wildlife

Not many people realise that Singapore has around 392 native bird species – more than Germany’s 248 species; 324 butterfly species – compared to 59 native species found in the United Kingdom; and 122 dragonfly species – more than double the 57 species recorded in Britain.

With buildings ever encroaching into nature spaces, it is inevitable that people will encounter more wildlife in their backyards.

In many cases, though, just because people see animals such as long-tailed macaques and pangolins more often, their numbers may not have actually increased. Wildlife has simply become more visible. So we will have to re-learn how to live with wildlife in our midst.

– Lena Chan on ST


Assoc Prof Gumert, commenting on the varied response to the culling of different animals, attributes to anthropomorphism. “We love animals that are cute and cuddly and tend not to care about animals that are not. I think our disdain for culling is mostly driven by this, and not a general concern for life,” he added.

Things that have been done

  1. The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), has a current campaign aimed at resolving HWCs (ACRES, undated). Their efforts include:
    • Collaborating with Town Councils to organise events in places with a higher potential for HWCs. Such events aim to share information on how humans can exist peacefully with the local wildlife
    • Promoting and supporting projects that are undertaken by students that try to solve the underlying causes of HWCs
  2. Eco-Link@BKE, 2013 (https://graphics.straitstimes.com/STI/STIMEDIA/Interactives/2015/11/feature-ecolink-BKE-national-parks/index.html)
  3. The National Parks Board has intensified its biodiversity conservation efforts with a Nature Conservation Masterplan. This has four thrusts: conservation of key habitats; habitat enhancement, restoration and species recovery; applied research in conservation biology and planning; and community stewardship and outreach in nature.
  4. Cat-overpopulation: Many voluntary organisations stepping up to curb the reproduction rates of the community cats, to care, foster and prepare the cats for adoption etc.

That being said, it is concluded that the proposed/undergone solutions can only work if the community plays their part, and has the same vision.

C A S E  S T U D Y : E N G L A N D

The number of urban foxes in England has quadrupled in the past 20 years, said a study. It seems that the fox is to England what the macaque or wild boar is to Singapore.

Urban foxes in England are carriers of disease, and are known to enter homes and damage gardens. There have also been reports of foxes attacking children, although animal behaviourists there have said such incidents are rare.

But even as the authorities there grapple with how best to deal with the growing population of these adaptable animals, a charity, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, has published online a guide on how households can deal with foxes, with the help of wildlife experts from partner organisations. A key suggestion is for households to reduce the amount of food available to foxes.

These includes storing food waste in fox-proof containers or secure dustbins, not feeding foxes, and ensuring they do not get access to food put out for pets.

The BBC also reported that one of the most popular, and effective, ways of dealing with foxes is the motion-activated sprinkler, which repels the animals with a short but startling burst of water.


C A S E  S T U D Y : W E S T  A U S T R A L I A

Researchers studying grey reef sharks at Scott Reef. In Western Australia, 15 people have been killed by sharks since 2000. For swimmers or surfers on the beaches of Australia, sharks are not just a nuisance.

Encounters with these creatures can be dangerous, even fatal. The authorities have tried various measures to prevent further cases, such as by installing shark nets to prevent the predators from encroaching into areas where people swim.

But shark nets under trial in New South Wales ensnared other animals as well, resulting in an outcry from animal conservation groups, which called for the nets to be removed.

ABC News reported in January this year that between 2015 and last year, 133 target sharks were caught along with 615 non-target marine animals off beaches between the cities of Wollongong and Newcastle. Almost half of the animals that were caught perished in the netting.

Now the authorities are turning to technology to reduce encounters between sharks and humans.

Last week, it was announced that new technology in the form of drones will be deployed across beaches in Western Australia to better protect swimmers and surfers.

The drones, equipped with military-grade cameras, will be used to detect sharks. Data will then be transmitted to lifeguards or swimmers instantly.

News site Perth Now reported that unlike human spotters in helicopters, such cameras can “see” sharks on the surface and at depths down to 10m, observe a wider stretch of ocean, and are not hindered by waves or glare.

C A S E  S T U D Y : S I N G A P O R E

Monkeys visit Mr Russell Ng, 68, nearly every day at his home in Old Upper Thomson Road where he has lived for nine years. The long-tailed macaques come from the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, which is right across the road from Mr Ng’s house.

They scale the walls around his home in search of food left out by people in the residential estate and eateries nearby. However, the animals do not bother him as he has learnt to co-exist with them.

Initially, they did enter his home and stole food. But he has learnt not to leave food lying around. It is kept in a microwave oven instead of being left on the table.

Mr Ng also makes it a point to keep trash indoors instead of in the bin outside, until the garbage collector is due. “Some of our neighbours also use bungee cords to secure their bins, to make it less easy for the macaques to rummage around in,” says Mr Ng, who sits on the area’s residents’ committee.

He has also trained his three dogs, all poodle-crosses, to ignore the macaques. This helps prevent the macaques from exhibiting confrontational or aggressive behaviour whenever they feel challenged, he says.

“In the past, every time a monkey comes around, the dogs will keep barking. Now, it’s like they don’t even see the monkeys,” says Mr Ng, a retired businessman.


The Water Project

Inital stages

When we started out with water as the overarching theme of this semester’s viscom project, it was exciting as there were so many topics that could be discussed about.

For my group, we actually began our research based on different aspects of water we’d like to look into, (google slides can be found here). For myself, I decided to look into the power aspect of water, as I have always viewed water not just as a source of survival, but also a massive force that should not be underestimated.

Some aspects of the power of water I researched on included:

1.  Hydropower, which I thought was really interesting. There were many economical and environmental aspects to it that can be touched on.

2. Natural water-related disasters, which I felt strongly for, as I have watched many documentaries on natural disasters.

Ultimately, I decided to expand on my research on water-related natural disasters. The reason behind it was because I came across many documentaries on tsunamis and hurricanes and it broke my heart to see the after-effects of such disasters no one could prevent. So I was really inspired and I thought, “I’m gonna save these people!!! By providing an awesome possum all-in-one emergency backpack that can keep them afloat in water!!!” which came in the form of this (not exactly how I pictured it to be but it was fun making it):

But after some discussions and consultations, I have been convinced to not go in this ’emergency-pack-to-save-lives’ direction, as one, it was not really feasible as many of these have already been produced, and two, it was not exactly gonna be really helpful as the idea included many products, and it was hard to find the connection with visual communications and this idea. So scrape that.

Developmental stages

Moving on, I felt that the design thinking activity sheet really help me to think through about what I could do and helped me concretised what I hoped to achieve and the project’s purpose. While I was reading through articles of Tsunamis all over the world, one event really stuck out as the numbers in that one event was so enormous, it shocked me. It was the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, which about 170,000 people lost their lives in Indonesia itself, where waves reached around 30 metres in height. I was appalled at the sheer destructive force tsunamis had. After delving deeper into the event, I realised that the most affected areas with the largest amounts of casualties were in places that were less prepared for such events. To be more specific, it was Banda Aceh which was most affected. I found out that it was simply because its people were unprepared for a tsunami. It really helped me shape the POV that I wanted to take for my project. And so with the help of the design thinking activity sheet, I came up with the direction I was headed towards.

My ‘point of view’ was: Indonesians (in Banda Aceh more specifically) needs a way to be self-reliant when a tsunami strikes, because it will increase the chances of survival or their wellness in the event of a tsunami.

I realised that even after narrowing it down it was still really broad, so I thought about the channels in which I can improve the preparedness of the people when it comes to a tsunami. So I did up a mind-map to organise my thought process and help myself in the brainstorming.

I ended up deciding on educating the people, as the best way to prepare people is to keep them informed, teach them self-reliance. And I targeted school kids, as I considered the convenience and efficiency of disseminating knowledge in school. Another reason why my target audience was school children was because it is always better to educate people while they are young, so the knowledge is incorporated into their lifestyles.

So I reshaped my POV to be: Indonesian school children (in Banda Aceh more specifically) needs to be prepared to know what to do when a tsunami strikes, because it will increase the chances of survival or their wellness in the event of a tsunami.

The Water Project


Making the educational deliverables fun and rewarding for children was definitely the most important for me for my project. As there are so many manuals on how you can prepare yourself for tsunamis, I thought that it will be good if I could expand it to make it more engaging for children. I thought of going digital because of how convenient and accessible technology is these days, but I thought that if I combine digital and the school environment, I thought it would be quite distracting. So I decided on making everything physical, a more traditional way of teaching and schooling.

I am looking to target a more ‘mature’ children age group, which I assumed they know the importance of life & death and disaster preparedness better. I will be targeting the youths in their 10s.


1. Illustrated Manual / Handbook – To help children better understand situations and things that have been explained in words in the existing manuals.

2. Progress Booklet – A little passport of progress to help increase the motivation to learn properly about the natural disaster, and to track progress and make sure these children are actually carrying out the knowledge that they have gained.

3. Card Game Activity – A little activity to test the knowledge of the children while keeping them engaged and help the children have fun while learning.


I wanted to make it children-friendly and engaging, so I thought of using a mascot. Here are some of the sketches for the illustration style I was going for:



I brought it over to illustrator and tried out colours. I really liked the original colours (right) and wanted to use as little colours a possible in my colour scheme of all three deliverables. I ended up changing the colours (left) as the character was too muted like the other colours and did not help the character stand out from the backgrounds.

These was what I had in mind for my handbook and progress booklet.

When I began putting the handbook together, I felt that a handwritten, rounded, cute typeface would work for children, and to make the book more enticing to look at. I decided on the name AYUH! INDONESIA, as the aim of this initiative, as ‘ayuh’ means ‘come on’ in Indonesian. This name was chosen because this initiative aims to motivate school kids to be responsible for their own lives by taking the first step to get moving and preparing themselves.

I ended up choosing these two typefaces to be used in my project, though I considered fonts such as Bebas Neue and Montserrat, by they had too sharp of edges for a soft look. Also, I tried to insert as little words as possible to make it look less daunting and more enjoyable to read. I tried to incorporate my illustrations and text as much as possible.

For the progress booklet and card game I wanted to use the same elements and illustrations to create them. And for the progress booklet, I have decided that I want to make it such that it looks like a little passport, and there will be chops to mark the progress, together with a space for the students to reflect on the exercise they have gone through.

I tried using different colours for each page, but I really disliked it so scrape that. I ended up choosing yellow because it really stood out and enhanced the vibrance and positivity. Also, the colour yellow is a colour of warning. I also designed a little chop like vector. It is meant to represent their readiness for a certain task.


And for my card game, the game rules are as follows:

1. Shuffle the cards and place it in a stack.

2. Take a card from the top of the deck, and ask the player next to you the question that is stated on the card.

3. To give a hint, cover the answer portion and show the illustration on the card.

4. If the player is unable to answer the question, place the card at the bottom of the stack.

5. if the player is able to answer the question, the player gets to keep the card.

6. The game continues until the deck is finished. The player with the most number of cards wins.

It was a alteration of this typographic quiz-style card game called TAKTIPO where you get to test each others knowledge on typography by asking questions. I thought it was a really good way to engage the school children to reinforce their knowledge. I wanted to add a point system to the game due to the different levels of difficulty my questions were, but I opted out of it as I wanted the game to be as simple as possible.

After trying out a few looks, I decided to go with this, as it had a quiz game kind of look to it more than anything else I tried.

To conclude, I would like to say that though I had struggled a lot in illustrating as it was my first time trying to illustrate a book, especially for children, I had fun experimenting with tools, colours in the process and I have learnt a lot. (I wish I managed to churn out more illustrations to fill every step of the tsunami preparedness project…) Also, though I do find a lot of room for improvements in my project, I am thankful for all the thought process I had experienced while working on this project.

Final Deliverables:


here is a digital copy of it, for easier viewing.



here is a digital copy of it, for easier viewing.



the full card set can be viewed here.

Zine: Process

P4144515 P4144516

I struggled a lot to figure how I’d bind the tracing papers in because the zine pages I planned out didn’t fit the typical saddle-stitch page format.

I didn’t want to perfect bind the zine because of how thin the zine is.

So, I decided that I would attach the tracing papers separately. Didn’t like the way the water waves didn’t cover the can completely, so I decided that I’m gonna adjust the waves such that they would all cover the “how pilot whales are viewed” with “how pilot whales should be”.

Also wanted to use the paper marbling I made for the typographic portrait project.

Zine: Research

I was looking for inspiration for project zine and came across this Going Home Zine by Rachel Katstaller.


Tracing paper was used as pages in this zine, and it gave my some ideas for my own zine.

Since my POV projects were about pilot whales and how they’re viewed, I could use the tracing paper to include the POV of how they want to be viewed.

Also, I was looking up the types of binding methods. I didn’t like the saddle stitch because of the look of it. I thought of using pamphlet stitch or the coptic stitch. But coptic stitch was more suited for books with a lot of pages….