Nature Society (Singapore)’s Conservation Committee’s big LIE

posted in: Conservation | 0

Sophie Chew’s article published in the Rice Media: Before There Was Dover Road Forest, There Was The Lower Peirce Golf Course Saga of 1922 attracted my attention to a one page “document” by the Nature Society (Singapore) dated 5th September 2017. It was headlined “Nature Society (Singapore), NSS’s Response to Internet Comments on the Projects of its Conservation Committee: A Review of its Facts.” There was no signature attached to this document. The document however, claimed to have the “endorsements” of the President (Dr Shawn Lum), two past Presidents (Dr Geh Min and Prof Ng Soon Chye), Chairman of the Conservation Committee (Leong Kwok Peng) and Vice-Chairman (Dr Ho Hua Chew) – see below.

Part of the one-page document authored by the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Conservation Committee

BIG lie number 1

As the document carries no signatures of those who endorsed it, I suspect that Shawn Lum, Geh Min and Ng Soon Chye had their names used without their knowledge and permission. As such I wrote to Shawn on 21st May 2021, asking specifically whether he knew of the existence of the document that claimed his personal endorsement. As I received no response, I wrote another letter saying that unless he replied, I would personally write the Geh Min and Soon Chye to confirm their endorsements. This did the trick and I got Shawn’s reply. He confirmed that that he was not the author of the document, claiming that he only came onto the scene after the controversy of the Lower Peirce Reservoir-Golf Course controversy was settled. This imply that he had no knowledge of the “document” and that his name was used without his permission. I assumed that since Geh Min and Soon Chye also became Presidents well after the golf course controversy and both never discussed the saga with me, they too had no knowledge of the of the existence of the document or its contents. The contents point to Ho Hua Chew as the author. Shawn’s reply to my letter did not mention that he would be talking to Hua Chew about the latter’s number one big lie, although this was a serious deception on the the part of Hua Chew.

The Straits Times clipping of 26th May 1992 on the Lower Peirce Reservoir controversy showing YC Wee and the late Subaraj Rajathurai.

Big lie number 2

Within the document are my comments that I had earlier requested Hua Chew to deal with the Lower Peirce forest threat, which he, until today, denies ever being asked. Instead, he falsely claimed that he in fact wanted me, being President of the Nature Society (Singapore) then, to lead the “save Lower Peirce forest.” Hua Chew further claimed: “Together with Sutari, Dr. Ho invited Dr. Wee, the then President of the Society, to visit the bird survey transacts, which he agreed to do.” If I was really invited, the invitation failed to reach me. And during that period (and until today) I have yet to met up with Sutari.

One way to prove who is lying is to get the Nature Society (Singapore)’s office to trace the letter alerting the impending building the golf course where I scribbled a note to Hua Chew to deal with it and his replied, something to the effect “you do it”. This letter was written sometime around March 1992. And if my memory serves me right, it was written by Richard Hale. Incidentally Richard is currently overseas. I can confirm with him when he returns in a month or so. Are you, Hua Chew, willing to prove that you are not a lier in this instance?

Now why did I instruct Hua Chew to lead the battle to save Lower Peirce forest? Well, from 1990 to 1994, every single call for site conservation, and there were five (Kranji Heronry, Khatib Bongsu, Senoko Marina South and Punggol Grassland), was led by Hua Chew as Chairman of the Conservation Committee. And I only became aware of what happened the next day when I read The Straits Times. And in none of these instances was I ever told that “I was the best person for the task…”

Big lie number 3

During the thick of the confrontation with government to save the Lower Peirce forest, I was never informed of the signature campaign. I only knew of it very much later. To claim that the draft was sent by me to Hua Chew is another big lie – unless there is a medical condition involved.


As to the minor comments re conservation matters, they are petty ramblings unworthy of comments.

Acknowledgement: Featured image courtesy of Wikiquote.


YC Wee

7th September 2022

This is an addendum to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum’s Oral History Project

Follow YC Wee:

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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