New exhibition documents 200 significant natural history events in Singapore

   200: A Natural History was opened by guest of honour Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on June 3, 2019.
200: A Natural History was opened by guest of honour Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on June 3, 2019.PHOTO: LEE KONG CHIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

SINGAPORE - It may seem hard to imagine now but such was the popularity of turtle meat in 19th Century Singapore that the creatures were often kept alive by being placed upside down until people got hungry.

And less than 30 years ago wild elephants roamed Pulau Tekong for a week, after a family of three swam over from Johor and co-existed with national servicemen, until the trio were captured and moved to a national park in Malaysia.

These are some of the 200 stories documented at a new exhibition at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

200: A Natural History was opened by guest of honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, on Monday (June 3).

It is being held in conjunction with Singapore's Bicentennial and chronologically highlights 200 significant natural history events in the island's past.

Ms Fu said that it "helps us understand and appreciate our natural environment better, and informs us of impact on our biodiversity as a mark of infrastructural development".

She also said that the "treasures" it showcases "remind us of our past, help us appreciate our present, and guide us in charting our future".

The year-long exhibition is supported by the National Heritage Board.

A corresponding book thematically categorising the 200 events was also launched.

Mr Martyn Low, 37, research associate at the museum and one of the key people behind the exhibition and book, said: " I want people to realise that history is not just old and boring. People used to do all kind of things - strange, weird, stupid. I want people to read the snippets and be excited to find out more for themselves."