Values In Action @ Coney Island
27 May 2016
Since the announcement that Coney Island was opened last year, I have been wanting to go check the place out. Currently, there are limited nature reserves in Singapore and nature lovers like me often choose to go overseas to explore places rich with nature.
However, due to my very hectic work schedule, I have not had the chance to do just that. When the staff announced that we would be doing our Values in Action (VIA) in Coney Island, I was thrilled. VIA is a community service that the organisation had been faithfully doing on a yearly basis. Last year, we cleaned up a rare mangrove swamp in Singapore and even though most of us ended up muddy, dirty, smelly and plagued with back pains, the experience was worth it. For the first time, we saw how disgusting it was to have plastic, packets of snacks, bottles, trash and all sorts of unidentified rubbish embedded in our nature reserves. It was an eye opening experience.
After a short briefing, we departed at 3 pm. The sun was at its peak from 12 pm to 3 pm so attempting to be outside for prolonged period is never a good idea.
We arrived at 3.30 pm and started to walk to Coney Island. There is a carpark at Punggol Settlement and that is the nearest place you can park your vehicle.
Coney Island, alternatively known as Pulau Serangoon, is located off the northeastern coast of Singapore within the town of Punggol. I would have enjoyed the walk among nature more, if it was not too scorching hot. Some of my colleagues were seen carrying umbrella, unable to bear with the piercing sun rays. This is a sad reality of climate change and global warming. Even though we were surrounded by a lot of trees, it was still far too warm at 36 degrees celsius.
After about 25 minutes of walking, we finally arrived at this little beach.
I was feeling too warm and drinking plain water does not seem to help so I figured that we should quickly spread out and pick up the trash on the beach. The faster we finish what we were supposed to do, the earlier we can escape from this sun.
How gorgeous is this slanting tree?
Unfortunately due to my lower back injury, I was not able to go in the bushes and pick up the rubbish there. Some of my colleagues were dedicated and brave enough to go into the ‘jungle’ and pick up all sorts of trash. Most of the trash seemed to be swept by there by the sea. Some were also buried deep into the soil. It took a lot of strength to do a little digging and take it out from the ground! I began to wonder how long all the plastic trash has been there.
For instance, this blue tank was deeply rooted in the sand. It took a few of us to dig through the sand and another very strong man to pull the tank out!
Success! It was finally out. Gosh, people have got to stop thinking that it is ok to dump trash into the sea.
All smiles even though we were hot and tired lol.
My colleagues are obviously a fun loving bunch. Most of them are good looking too yes? I know most of them in person and their kindness clearly radiates onto their faces.
It was difficult to get everyone into the group photo (too noisy, too hot, too distracted, too stubborn haha) but I guess this was ok!
Yeah, from this trip, I realized that our favourite activity is photobombing into others’ photographs lol.
Fortunately, the walk back was a lot more pleasant because it was cooler. The other most important thing was to have fun while giving back to the community.
Trying to take a decent photo at the iconic gate.
As you can see in the background, the crowd was starting to come in bikes! I would definitely recommend anyone coming to explore Coney Island to cycle instead of walk. You will get a lot more covered in a shorter period of time.
Nevertheless, walking with the people I work with was a good experience. We were relieved when we spotted the 7-11 store selling cold water. We gobbled down the cold drinks like we have been thirsty for a month lol.
Even though it was warm, I would definitely want to come back here and explore this place thoroughly next time. There is a shop for you to rent bikes near the car park, it would be hard to miss it.
My only plea to visitors is, to throw rubbish rightfully into the dustbin. This place will stay this lovely only if we keep it clean. It is everyone’s responsibility. We don’t have many nature reserves here in Singapore so all the more we should preserve it. Clean and natural.
All photos taken with my reliable Samsung Note 5 except group photo taken by the slanting tree. Thank you Lydia. ❤