a number of times she has come to Singapore, and yet i never had the time to go down to meet her. today, i did. i had the car, i drove to geylang east library and we waited for her…… and she came. and boy was there a loud loud applause. what a feeling it was to finally see this woman who’s defined what studying animal behaviour is all about!
she is such an inspiration and to hear her talk abt her passion almost brought me to tears a couple of times (but you know its a full hall and there were adults and kids around and of course i didnt want to embarrass myself).
when asked abt how she managed to go to africa to study chimps, she said (apart from the support from her mom), “if you really want something, you work hard, you find opportunities, you’ll find a way”
its all abt using the opportunities. sometimes, creating the opportunities, like im starting to do for myself. perhaps a little fast sometimes even for my liking. but, im glad im doing what im doing now for myself cos i really want to be happy.
when asked abt how she is able to get over the negatives, and still find the passion, she recounted this story of someone she met during her travels. this guy told her this story abt how he managed to get the rapidly depleting numbers of black robins back up.
“when the whites introduced cats to the country, the numbers of black robins went terribly down. this person, having a special interest in black robins, kept asking the govt to allow the birds to be preserved in another area, though countless times got rejected. by the time the govt accepted his proposal, there were only 27 black robins (in the whole world). he brought all these 27 birds to this other area where there were no natural predators. of these 27 birds, only 1 was female, and her mate happened to be sterile. usually these birds stay together when they pair up, but this single female happened to mate with a younger male and eventually laid 2 eggs. his man took a risk and took away the 2 eggs and left it at another bird’s nest to be harvested. this stimulated the black robins to lay another 2 eggs, which once again he took away to be harvested by some other birds. and this stimulated the black robins to lay the final 2 eggs. all 6 eggs hatched, and were fully grown and they continued to mate naturally. now, there are over 400 black robins in the world.” (this should join the list of 5 species that cheated extinction.)
Dr Goodall said, the success stories of how ppl help these animals in need motivate her to continue. she said that he told her, “things may go wrong in your life, but dont give up”
and you know what, as appropriate as this seems for me, things might have gone wrong in my life, but, happiness can be found and i dont want to give up on life yet.
after the talk, i desperately wanted a pic with her… but there were all these ppl who wanted her autographs and she had to visit all these booths and i was so afraid that she’d just go off once she was done with them, then i might have been a little anxious trying to ask the ppl around her 3 times whether i could get a pic with her. i hope they werent too irritated with me…
when i finally did get the chance, she remarked, “i waited years to get to the chimps, surely you could wait 10 minutes?” hahaha………….. it wasnt 10 min… it was half an hour… but thats alright. i knew she had booths to see and i sure hope those kids knew how gifted they were that she spoke to them and shared their stories. and she knew i was trying to get to her. after the photo, i told her how it was such an honour to meet her and that she is an inspiration. we smiled, shook hands and parted.
and then i wanted to jump up and down, but you know like its a public library. so i behaved like a demure girl.
but, you know what, i’m really really really glad i met Dr Jane Goodall. Its such a fulfilling experience to hear from someone who passionate abt chimpanzee and animals. and abt how its all abt whether the younger children can believe in the cause.
normally i never put up photos of myself, but i think this is something im really proud of.
here’s the photograph with her. the 78 year old lady who has accomplished SO much and has been a pioneer in the field of understanding primate behaviour. so close that they are her friends. i feel so blessed.