Maybe I haven’t been trudging about the mangroves as often as Otterman or Inertia-is-a-sin recently but for the first time, my attention turned to the bivalve*-strewn mangrove floor. I must have lost my habituation to a forest surrounding or walking aimlessly gave fresh perspective. I found this rich manifestation of life hard to ignore; what an energy rich habitat the mangrove must be. But just like a teeming rainforest, the energy is contained in the ecological cycle of birth and death of its peculiar denizens and once cleared, it gives a few good years of harvest and then lays waste, never to return to its former bio-rich state. Its like the mangroves that are deforested to be made into prawn ponds; surely the single prawn species in the pond cannot measure up to the energy that manifests itself richly in the complex cycles of natural mangroves. Just like how the distribution of grass determines the annual migration of beasts in the African savanna, so too the distribution of mangroves determine the migratory routes of over-wintering birds. Oh yes, in Mandai on Monday, we heard the calls of the egrets that flock the Mandai flats. A bit shrieky but still you’d have the satisfaction of listening to such a primeval call. Better than music delivered in an MP3 player.
Polymesoda expansa (vernacular: Lokan)