Being in Lombok always evokes a sense of need to blog again. After a few heartbreaking posts, I am glad this is a high spirited one. So the NUS Tembusu College students initiated, plannned and executed a most ambitious but inspiring multi stop trip to Indonesia as a part of their animal of the year (Komodo dragon) inaugural conservation and learning science trip.
I had the honour of being a part of their journey with The Dorsal Effect as they made Lombok the second stop of their 4-part Indonesia journey. I had been in close contact with some of these students a few months back already when they started planning and to actually see this trip happen after their many months of tireless work, I was truly impressed to see how it panned out.
The Steer Indonesia group of NUS Tembusu College students had a truly powerful team of which each and every single person had a role to play and stepped up to play it well throughout the course of the trip. Their seriousness and sense of focus to the trip progress was definitely heartening and it brought a sense of hope that these young lives were taking action and making ambitious plans for a meaningful trip while still staying grounded and humble.
You know technology is not wasted on the young when I see how the students carefully navigated a drone so well with such calmness and good thought through parts of the boat trip. Not only was it fun to be a part of the drone captures, it was somehow moving too, in a cute way to see hope in these youths as they dared to break boundaries and try new challenges.
On the boat trip itself, I was impressed at how the students went out of their comfort zone and went snorkelling in spite of whether they were comfortable in the water or could see without their glasses, or it was their first time at it or not. They were quietly resilient and brave in many ways and I couldn’t help falling in love with this bunch indeed!
I must say I was particularly impressed with the head of the group who primarily came up with the idea of the trip, KJ. With my interactions with him, he struck me as a really focussed, ambitious yet grounded, far sighted, detail oriented, steadfast and humble leader indeed and his drive and wanting to push for more and beyond his boundaries and possibilities really inspired me to press on in my quest too. He was resolute in decision making and never left once lost his cool yet struck great rapport with the rest of the group, responding to feedback swiftly.
Was really really grateful for Naomi’s help on this trip too and I can hope that her with her love for shark and animals as well as marine sciences background, would love to go on helping out with The Dorsal Effect!
Definitely heartening moments when I saw that the group had listened to what I said at the pre trip briefing and brought their own utensils and lunchboxes for the trip, initiated trash pick up at the beaches, shared and gave feedback honestly and constructively at the night reflection session and asked questions aplenty on the boat trip and at the shark market itself. I will work on making the conservation and educational element of the trip stronger, guys, thank you.
Thank you NUS Tembusu College Steer team and Naomi, there is never a dull moment on the boat trip no matter how many times I am on it, thanks to the diversity of the group and the inspiration all of you bring me. I am always learning and always looking at the issue in different perspectives thanks to all the precious exchanges, experiences and interactions. When I saw how the shark auction people seemed more nervous with your documentation team’s filming, Tembusu College, I am also heartened when we found out that their nervousness came from the fact that rays were caught even though it has been banned now and that shark prices have been falling so they were afraid more cameras and filming will only lead to more drop in prices. This story needs to be told over and over again and I hope they never fear the falling of shark prices anymore because there are better, more ethical and sustainable alternatives provided to them through The Dorsal Effect!
If we are not part of the solution, we are already part of the problem. Let’s press on in the vision now.