DipteroWhat?

DipteroWhat? This was my question, when I initially came across the words Dipterocarpus and Keruing on a field trip with Nature Society Singapore (NSS) a year ago. The words were spoken by Dr Shawn Lum, president of NSS, who guided the trip in MacRitchie Nature Reserve. He had found a big fallen leaf on the forest floor and talked vividly about this leaf as being an indicator of primary forest, i.e. a forest that is relatively untouched and unlogged by humans. The leaf belonged to the majestic dipterocarp trees, whose seedlings and saplings can only thrive in the shadowy primary rain forests.

"DipteroWhat?", a handmade zine by Who Cares? for Singapore Art Book Fair 2014 hosted by Squelch Zines 

I had recently relocated from the decidious forests of Scandinavia to the tropical rainforest of Singapore and knew very little about trees from this part of the world. But I was hooked from the moment Dr Shawn Lum talked about this kind of tropical trees as being the defining trees of the original rainforest in Singapore and tropical Southeast Asia. The dipterocarp forests are the tallest and most diverse rainforests in the world and once proudly stood where now stand shopping centers, factories, housing estates and endless palm oil plantations. Many of the 500 different species of the Dipterocarpaceae family are endangered due to extensive illegal logging.


I wanted to know more and was happy for an opportunity to stay focused in the midst of the overwhelming diverse tropical rainforest.
During the last year I have spend much time in the forests of particularly Singapore, but also Borneo and Malaysia. I am collecting personal notes using botanical studies, photography, video recordings, intuitive ink brush paintings etc. I read books and articles and I use all my meditative energy to become one-become two-become-TREE in order to try to grasp the phenomenon of dipterocarps.  
Thanks to botanist Joseph Lai, who is so passionate about MacRitchie and kindly has taught me a lot and pointed out many dipterocarps, and thanks to LoveMacRitchie and Toddycats for their highly informative and interesting field trips.





For now, I have made a handmade collection of notes for Singapore Art Book Fair 2014 (thanks to Squelch Zines for hosting), but the work is still in progress, and my quest(ion) is as ever: DipteroWHAT?