Just a couple of years ago, my duck could dirty the waters of Labrador Park with his unwashed feet and still catch sight of an unruly horde of curious creatures in the tiny stretch of shore below the fishing jetty. Since then, the construction of a major new port terminal, the laying down of massive submarine cables, land reclamation, nearshore dredging and dumping have conspired to colour the waters a pretty and permanent shade of parchment brown. Helping to muddy the picture were well-meaning and ill-thought experiments that inspired scepticism and left positive signs of disarray on the intertidal zone. Instead of new recruits to revive the worn and littered strand line, the tides bring wave after wave of reminders that the world is just not big enough to house a few free hectares of soft and quiet sand.
At Labrador Park, nature dwells in a vacuum of momentous activity created by minds that see a clear-cut line between human pursuits and the world at large. In this vision of progress unshrugged, the reefs of Singapore's sole southern rocky shore labour in vain to reclaim even a fraction of their former glory. Besieged and begrudged, this island's unpaved outposts enjoy the protection of powers too mighty to feel the pain of their loss and too meek to consider the true costs of a future where the wildest thing left in the world is that untameable beast known as human nature.