Capturing Pasir Ris Park's wild residents in short film

Pasir Ris residents Dan Ng (left) and Jayaprakash Bojan, who produced Residents Of The Park at Pasir Ris Park on Dec 31, 2020.
Pasir Ris residents Dan Ng (left) and Jayaprakash Bojan, who produced Residents Of The Park at Pasir Ris Park on Dec 31, 2020. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, two photographers who usually spend most of their time travelling outside Singapore decided to document the wild residents at Pasir Ris Park in September.

On Christmas Eve, they released a video entitled Residents Of The Park, which was commended by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan on Sunday.

"When I first watched the video, I was awed by the content and quality of production and it was only towards the end of the documentary that I realised it was shot entirely in Pasir Ris Park, and by two Pasir Ris residents," said Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment as well as an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, in a Facebook post.

The short film follows the results of a poll on wild animals in Pasir Ris estate released on Dec 8 by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The results indicated that most of the residents wanted wildlife roaming in their neighbourhood.

Fighting mudskippers and mating horseshoe crabs are just a few exhilarating sequences captured by professional nature and wildlife photographer Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan and artist Dan Ng, who both spent almost every single day following the animals.

"We wanted to help people fall in love with nature by showing them a different perspective. We also made it free because nature should be for everyone," said Mr Jayaprakash, 46.

The 11-minute clip marks the first collaboration between Mr Jayaprakash and Mr Ng, 26, who met just four months ago at Pasir Ris Park.

The unlikely partnership began when a starstruck Ng asked Mr Jayaprakash, who was awarded National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year in 2017, for a selfie at Pasir Ris Park on Sept 1.


Most of the Pasir Ris residents wanted wildlife roaming in their neighbourhood. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM JD WILD PRODUCTIONS/YOUTUBE

Said Mr Jayaprakash: "Dan said he was a fan of my work on Instagram when he asked for a selfie. I bumped into him again at the traffic signal. After taking a look at his work, I asked if he was keen to meet at 5.30am at Pasir Ris Beach to shoot some photos."

That set off the project, which saw the duo spending around half a day recording footage for about three months.

"Most of it was waiting for things to happen. Everything is first hand when shooting animals so there's no room for error," said Mr Ng, who is also a travel and lifestyle content creator.

"Travel photography can be staged but for nature and wildlife photography, you need to have the patience to wait and find it," added Mr Jayaprakash.

They credited their success in recording unusual sights partly to the residents living near the park.

"We relied a lot on residents to inform us about sightings of wildlife in the park. One resident, Peter, has been observing these creatures for around 20 years," said Mr Jayaprakash.


They credited their success in recording unusual sights partly to the residents living near the park. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Beyond sightings, making the video has also brought them closer to frequent visitors to the park.

"I really appreciate all the genuine connections that we have made while shooting at Pasir Ris Park," said Mr Ng.

"There is this dog called Summer who is credited in the video. She's like a therapy dog for everyone in this park," added Mr Jayaprakash.

The budding partnership between the two is set to continue, with at least two episodes on wildlife in Singapore in the pipeline.

"Dan was my find of 2020. He is an amazing storyteller. Considering the fact that he was new to wildlife, he surprised me with his ability to learn so quickly in a short three-month span," said Mr Jayaprakash.

To which Mr Ng added: "All of this wouldn't have happened without him. Teamwork makes the dream work."