The Legends: Welfare-Watchers

It takes a village to raise a child. In the Forest School (FS) education program, the different human beings present play integral parts in the FS community. These elements directly and indirectly affect the growth and development of our children and the environment. 

In this series, we will explore the various people who watch out for the welfare of the Forest School Singapore community in different ways we could never have imagined when we first started. 

Firstly, there are our lovely and sometimes feisty ROCK CLIMBERS and MOUNTAIN BIKERS. They are co-users of the Nature Park area that we dwell in. We especially see them a lot in the Dairy Farm Quarry, where most of them hang out or pass by. Many times, we will greet each other with smiles and greetings. Sometimes we have interesting conversations about the changes in the environment and how we deal with it. There are also times where they will look out for the safety and welfare of our group, by sounding out to us any safety issue or hazard that they know of. Some days they may come off as fierce, but that is usually only because of safety issues in their perspective. For that, we truly appreciate their presence. 

Then there are the SECURITY UNCLES & AUNTIES of the area. In the Dairy Farm area, we have the security aunty of the Dairy Farm MOE Adventure Centre. She often helps to watch out for traffic safety on the road when we are around. The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve visitor centre security uncle is one of the longest standing uncles that we know of. He will often check on us and our welfare. Sometimes when an unruly member of the public complains about us, he will actually stand up for us, and offer words of advice for us and the public. These security uncles and aunties are not only doing their job, they are also caring for the community.

We also have compatriots in the restaurant area that is Rail Mall. As a common presence in Dairy Farm, we naturally dine at Rail Mall often. Many of the RESTAURANT STAFF in the mall (namely Nam Kee Pau and Teck Ghee Chicken Rice) know about us, and will check in with us through small chats and banters. These little connections give us a reassuring sense as we build relationships. They, in their small ways, watch out for our mental and emotional welfare as a community. They also provide us with valuable information about the crowd dynamics and environmental changes should they occur. 

Lastly, we have more regulatory individuals and organisations, who will watch out for us in terms of policies and regulations. Such as NPARKS and our beloved SISTER COMMUNITIES. The information and reminders we are able to be aware of due to their presence and connection is one that is often forgotten by many who do not see the work that goes behind the scenes. We absolutely love the relationships we have with them.

Without all these individuals and their multitude of elements, we wouldn’t be able to do what we have done for this long a period. It truly takes a village to raise a child. 

For all the Welfare and Policy watching-out that we have enjoyed, we have also received double the amount of stories that many individuals have shared and blessed us with. 

In Part 2, we will explore all our lovely storytellers and their amazing oral documentation of what is our land and the people of the greater Bukit Timah Forest.

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