Understanding Singapore (I)
Singapore has transformed from a third world country to a high tech and developed society over the past few decades. There are many external factors that influence how we live and how our nation develops. Learning more about surrounding conditions such as physical, geographical, social and so on, helps us appreciate our country’s progress, constraints and challenges.
This library guide highlights selected resources on how the environment influences the lives of people in Singapore such as land planning, urbanization and conservation of physical resources.
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2. Knowing the place I live in
- Biodiversity surveys on Southern Islands, nature reserve. (2019, November 29). The Straits Times. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/biodiversity-surveys-on-southern-islands-nature-reserve
- Gardens and parks part of gracious living. (1972, April 16). The Straits Times, p. 9.
“Singaporeans should be taught the importance of nature conservation for healthy and gracious living”, the acting director of the Botanic Gardens, Mr. A.G. Alphonso, said. “And the best way to achieve this was to teach the young in schools.”
- Hoe, I. (1985, March 24). Is the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve dying slowly? The Straits Times, p 3.
The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve may be dying a slow death. Some naturalists here believe that the 75 hectare reserve, one of the last patches of primary forest in Singapore, is too small to regenerate.
- Ministry to build six new major parks. (1986, August 19). The Straits Times, p. 28.
Plans to attract the birds back and to grow more varieties of fruit trees. Singapore will have more and better parks, new varieties of fruit trees, and perhaps, more birds over the next few years.
- Northern coastal areas to form second nature park network. (2020, August 20). The Straits Times. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/northern-coastal-areas-to-form-second-nature-park-network
Singapore Infopedia - articles
- National Library Board. (2015). Bukit Timah Nature Reserve written by Lee, Meiyu. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Singapore Infopedia.
The Bukit Timah Reserve, situated along Upper Bukit Timah Road, 1019 ha, is part of a limited area of primary rainforest left on Singapore island. Within the reserve lies Singapore’s highest point, the Bukit Timah Hill, which stands 162.5 m above sea-level and is composed of ancient granite.
- National Library Board. (2009). MacRitchie Reservoir written by Mohamed, Zaubida. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Singapore Infopedia.
MacRitchie Reservoir, located off Lornie Road and completed in the late 1860s, was the first water supply system implemented in Singapore. The Impounding Reservoir or Thomson Road Reservoir, as it was originally called, was renamed MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922 after James MacRitchie, the municipal engineer of Singapore from 1883 to 1895.
- National Library Board. (2017). Mangrove written by Ahmad, Nureza. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Singapore Infopedia.
Mangrove is a highly adaptive plant in tropical intertidal forest communities. Before the rapid post-war development of Singapore, mangroves were growing freely along Singapore’s coast, especially in the north and west. The plant’s existence is now limited to mainly some offshore islands and the wetland reserves of Sungei Buloh.
- National Library Board. (2015). Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve written by Loo, Janice. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Singapore Infopedia.
Sungei Buloh Nature Park is designated a wild bird reserve and nature park for mangrove flora and fauna in 1989. It is the first of its kind to be established in Singapore, and lies directly along the East Asian Flyway, a migratory route for birds. On 1 January 2002, the park was officially gazetted as a nature reserve and renamed Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) to reflect its new status.
- ButterflyCircle. (2020). Butterflies of Singapore: a tribute to nature’s flying jewels. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from ButterflyCircle website: https://butterflycircle.blogspot.com/
ButterflyCircle is an online resource founded by a group of butterfly enthusiasts in 2004. The group has a Singapore-centric focus with most of its activities held in Singapore. ButterflyCircle’s objectives and focus are in the areas of community engagement, publication, research, conservation and photography.
- Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. (2017). The biodiversity of Singapore: a digital reference collection for Singapore’s biodiversity. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from The Biodiversity of Singapore website: https://singapore.biodiversity.online/
A growing online digital reference collection of the species that can be found in Singapore. It is also a research database that tracks the numerous species discoveries made by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. This ranges from colonial-era heritage specimens to recently-collected species that are new to science.
- National University of Singapore. (2020). Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum website: https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/
The museum inherited the natural history collection from its predecessor, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (established in 1998), whose collection was that of the Zoological Reference Collection (formally opened on 31 October 1988), which stems from the original Raffles Museum that was renamed the National Museum of Singapore in 1965.
- National Parks Board. (2020). Mission and history. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/about-us/mission-and-history
The National Parks Board (NParks) was established as a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development to manage and enhance the national parks, comprising Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park, and the nature reserves in June 1990. It continues to spearhead the maintenance of the garden city and its roadside greenery, as well as the development of new parks and upgrading of existing ones. NParks also embarked on the development of a comprehensive network of park connectors to bring the island’s parks and green spaces to the community and vice versa.
- Singapore Tourism Board. (2020). Nature & wildlife. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Visit Singapore website: https://www.visitsingapore.com/see-do-singapore/nature-wildlife/
A visitor guide to Singapore’s parks, nature reserves, green spaces, islands and attractions with wildlife experiences, diverse habitats, vast conservatories, historical sites and Singapore’s last-remaining kampong (traditional village).
- Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. (2014). A virtual tour of Chek Jawa. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Chek Jawa website: http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/news/chekjawa/ria/index.html
A photo gallery of the100-hectare wetlands teeming with wildlife located in a corner of Pulau Ubin. Visitors could view the rich plant and marine life from a boardwalk and bird watching via a viewing tower at Chek Jawa. Guided tours are available at the Visitor Centre and viewing jetty.
3. Physical environment
All rights reserved, Singapore: Draco Pub, 2008
Baker, N., et al. (2008). Wild animals of Singapore: a photographic guide to mammals, reptiles, amphibians and freshwater fishes. Singapore: Draco Pub. Call number: RSING 591.95957 WIL
A comprehensive account of Singapore’s wild animals. Almost all terrestrial vertebrates are described and illustrated in brilliant habitat photographs taken in Singapore. There are additional chapters on how and where to find wildlife in Singapore, as well as checklists of species in the country, including those extinct, introduced, or of indeterminate status.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Federal Publications, 2004
Cheng, V., & Tay, D. (2004). The new resource atlas for social studies. Singapore: Federal Publications.
Call number: RSING 300.0705957 CHE
A colourful and stimulating resource book with comprehensive text, colourful maps, charts and illustrations specially designed for upper primary pupils.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Nature Society, 2008
Davison, G. W. H., Ng, Peter K. L., & Ho, H. C. (Eds.). (2008). The Singapore red data book: threatened plants & animals of Singapore. Singapore: Nature Society.
Call number: RSING 591.68095957 SIN
This book is an important reference for conservation plans and efforts for natural resource use and information on biodiversity. Information about species and ecosystems is also included.
All rights reserved, Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
Jeyarajasingam, A. (2012). A field guide to the birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Call number: RSING 598.095951 JEY
This field guide to the birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore covers more than 650 species known to occur in the region. Lavishly illustrated with bird paintings, this book will be a useful reference for experienced ornithologists and beginners alike.
All rights reserved, Singapore: NUS Press, 2008
Koninck, R. D. (2008). Singapore: an atlas of perpetual territorial transformation. Singapore: NUS Press. Call number: RSING 912.5957 KON
Based on an extended series of diachronic maps, this book illustrates the nature and depth of the territorial changes that have occurred since the early 1960s. The commentary that accompanies the maps shows how Singapore has used this ongoing territorial transformation to support its position in a globalized economy, and also as a tool of social and political management.
All rights reserved, Singapore: NUS Press, 2017
Koninck, R. D. (2017). Singapore’s permanent territorial revolution: fifty years in fifty maps. Singapore: NUS Press. Call number: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS]
This atlas illustrates through diachronic mapping of the changing distribution of all forms of land use, the universality of what has become a tool of social management in Singapore.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Small Books, 2005
Leng, Grace S. Y., & Small, T. (2005). Discover nature with–. Singapore: Small Books. Call number: JRSING 508 LEN
A small activity book for children to better appreciate and care for the natural environment. It includes delightful drawings, facts, as well as things to do, explore and learn.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Nature Society, 2010
Lim, K. S., & Chew, J. (2010). A field guide to the birds of Singapore. Singapore: Nature Society.
Call number: RSING 598.095957 LIM
A comprehensive and colourful reference on birds and their behaviour. Also includes topics such as climate, habitat, and conservation in Singapore.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, 1999
Ng, Peter K. L., & Sivasothi, N. (Eds.). (2001). Guide to the mangroves of Singapore. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre website: http://mangrove.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/contents.htm
A guide to the mangroves found in Singapore, including its history, ecosystem, flora and fauna, values and uses, and a guide to visiting them.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Ministry of National Development, 2019
Pang, A., et al. (Eds.). (2019). Groundbreaking: 60 years of national development in Singapore. Retrieved April 9, 2020, Centre for Liveable Cities website: https://www.clc.gov.sg/research-publications/publications/books/view/groundbreaking-60-years-of-national-development-in-singapore
The book draws on newspapers, interviews and photos to explore 200 years of urban planning in Singapore as well as the Ministry of National Development’s most significant milestones and achievements in shaping Singapore as a city and transforming the lives of citizens through key initiatives and policies.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2010
Polunin, I. (2010). Plants and flowers of Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. Call number: RSING 581.95957 POL
The “species” section of this book categorise the plants by type - herb, shrub, tree, fruit, vegetable - and by habitat - seashore, mangrove, forest, etc. Each species is illustrated in colour and the extended caption contains a wealth of information about the plants, its origin and its use. In addition, there is a double-page feature on the Botanic Gardens, with a map showing where some of the species may be found.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2008
Small, T. (2008). Explore Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. Call number: JRSING 915.957 SMA
A unique and exciting guidebook for children and families to discover more about Singapore’s history and culture. Significant places of interest such as Little India, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Fort Canning Park are included.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, 1992
Tan, Leo W. H., & Ng, Peter K. L. (2001). A guide to seashore life. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre website: http://mangrove.nus.edu.sg/pub/seashore/index.html
A simplified, practical and unconventional guide to the many species of Singapore’s shore plants and animals with descriptions of various common seashore life for the beginner reader.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Prentice Hall, 2010
Tan, Hugh T. W., et al. (2010). The natural heritage of Singapore. Singapore: Prentice Hall. Call number: RSING 508.5957 NAT
A comprehensive introduction to the natural history of Singapore. The book introduces the primary and secondary vegetation of Singapore, and the different habitats including intertidal, subtidal and managed habitats. It also examines the human impacts on Singapore’s environment and the importance and challenges in preserving Singapore’s biodiversity.
All rights reserved, Singapore: National Parks Board, 2009
Tee, S. P., et al. (2009). Trees of our garden city. Singapore: National Parks Board. Call number: RSING 582.16095957 TRE
A colourful and illustrated book which tells the story of the greening of the Singapore, followed by chapters introducing tree and palm species, tree biology, tree care, rooftop gardens and the relationship between trees and the environment.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Pearson Education Asia, 2008
Teng, J. (Ed.). (2008). Atlas: Singapore and the world. Singapore: Pearson Longman. Call number: RSING 912.5957 ATL
An atlas which contained over 1000 maps showcasing Singapore, Asia and other world regions, as well as insightful sections highlighting contemporary geographical trends.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, 2012
Wang, L. K., et al. (Eds.). (2012). Private lives: an exposé of Singapore’s rainforests. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. Call number: RSING 577.34095957 PRI
A collection of short stories and anecdotes about the life and times of the various organisms in Singapore’s tropical rainforest. This book is packed with information and stunning photography of the animals and plants.
All rights reserved, Singapore: Pearson Education Asia, 2002
Yeoh, Brenda S. A. (2002). Longman atlas: Singapore and the world. Singapore: Pearson Education Asia.
Call number: RSING q912.5957 PEA
A comprehensive resource and reference atlas which contains maps, information and statistics about Singapore and the world. It has a “map skills” section, more than 20 Singapore maps, Asia and World pages featuring maps and useful key facts, World Insights pages providing a look at important issues and a “world statistics” section that provides statistics about individual countries.
4. Accessing the Resources
Accessing the Print Materials
You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home (http://catalogue.nlb.gov.sg). The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types, language holdings or location of the collection.
To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings
If you wish to search for only materials available in the above library, please always select “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library”, after you have keyed in your search term in advanced search. Followed by clicking on “search”.
Things to note:
Once you have identified the title that you need, please check the following and write down the necessary information:
i. The “Status” of the item: the item is unavailable in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.
ii. Check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Library”.
iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.
Accessing the Databases
The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.
If you are having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to email@example.com for help.
Sara Pek and Lee Meiyu
The information in this resource guide is valid as at April 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2020.