Our Founding Team

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Dr Carl Grundy-Warr

Founder & Team Leader

National University of Singapore
(Senior Lecturer)

Our extraordinary experiential field investigation focused on rivers as the blood vessels of life. Central to this theme is the annual flood pulse which delivers monsoonal and run-off waters, particularly the remarkable reverse flow of the Tonle Sap River into the Great Lake of Cambodia, literally transforming huge areas of dry land into a seasonal water-world.

Sharing this remarkable linkage between hydrology, biophysical processes and human geographies in the region is one of the aims of our field investigation. For me as an educator, taking students to experience for themselves what life is like in a floating community on the Tonle Sap is immensely rewarding, for it contextualises so many aspects of natural resource management, human-nature relations, and environmental issues that relate to the flood pulse.

Equally, taking student participants to the rapids, islands and channels of the Mekong River near the Laos - Cambodia border riverscape provides many lessons - about the hydropower developments transforming the region, about cross-border relations between people and the ecological flows up and downstream. Finally, taking the students on a river cruise in Phnom Penh enabled them to appreciate the vital connections between the growth of this capital city and its intersecting blood vessels, namely the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers.

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Shen Hao

Digital Content Coordinator

National University of Singapore
(Alumni)

Shen Hao spearheads the development of all of RiverWetland.Org's digital content efforts from the website, to all social media platforms.

"I was a participant in Field Investigation 2018 which allowed me to witness the threats of anthropogenic changes to the people living along the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake. With little help from the government, the villagers have constructed huge water tanks to store rainwater for their daily needs. Such ingenuity to take ownership of the problems have made me appreciate the good infrastructure we take for granted in Singapore and also inspired me to think out of the box for ideas for improvements.

I returned in 2019 in the dry season in February and again as a coordinator in September and gained a more in depth understanding of other parts of Cambodia and the threats that the communities face due to global warming and urban development of rural areas.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find out about how diverse Cambodia is as we got to live amongst different indigenous peoples and descendants of Lao and Chinese Hakka immigrants.

I look forward to going back again in 2021/22 after the pandemic."

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Matthew Lu

Video Content Manager

National University of Singapore
(Teaching Assistant & Alumni)

I have conducted field studies research before but this time, planning research projects centered around various human-ecological themes in Cambodia in a more streamlined format was challenging. But, I am grateful for making new friends in Cambodia and getting to know my batchmates better. I hope that you would find the projects interesting and that they would inspire you to consider a topic outside your comfort zone, should you decide to join us.

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Megan Sim

Fieldwork Content Manager

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

The reason I joined Field Investigation was for the field work experience and being able to experience the diverse culture in SE Asia. I really enjoyed myself in this short 10 days in Cambodia and understood how Geography (Nature) and the locals (People) interact together, and learn to live together. The project topics were really interesting, giving us all a greater insight into  the social issues and how geography plays a part in  them.

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Daniel Tan

Fieldwork Coordinator
(Singapore)

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

 I am passionate about meeting different groups of people. I have realised that learning geography allows me to explore how different people in the world are so diverse but share the same humanity. Field Investigation, offered by the Department of Geography, has opened my eyes to the everyday life that unfolds in floating villages of Cambodia -- joys, difficulties and aspirations that the villagers experience.

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Kheang Ratana

Fieldwork Coordinator
(Cambodia)

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia
& Institute of Technology of Cambodia

(Alumnus)
 

As a Fieldwork Coordinator, I greatly appreciate this unique opportunity to immerse in fieldwork within my own country. My university conducts fieldtrips, but students are not provided with a chance to live in homestays amongst villagers. I am very glad to be part of this international team of professors and students who study various subjects, including Geography, Environmental Science, and Water and Ecological Engineering.

Some things I have achieved during the fieldwork are:
1) applying academic knowledge to the real-life situations with different environments and cultures,
2) enhancing my communication skills through formulating research methodology in advance and jointly working with Singaporean students, and
3) building of strong relationships with new friends, professors, and co-partners.

 

Moreoever, FI has enabled me to develop soft and hard skills that are really useful in work place, such as responsibility, commitment, being flexible, communication skills, independence, decision-making in field situations, and leadership skills. I strongly recommend FI as a means to forge collaborations among international students and as a hands-on learning method that allows a deeper understanding about environmental problems and socio-nature relations. I believe that, only by applying skills and knowledge to everyday issues, will we be able to help rural water-dependent communities in future. The skills and knowledge to be applied can be effectively learnt through this kind of international collaboration.

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Mompich Sreyneang

​Fieldwork Co-Coordinator
(Cambodia)

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

To be added

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Lim Xin Ying

Film Producer &
Social Media Manager

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

Through this experience, I was able to understand concepts that were discussed in lessons and see first hand for myself what everyday challenges locals faced.  Everyday is different for us and every region of Cambodia is unique on its own as well. What inspired me the most was how rich Cambodia's culture was and its people’s resilience in the face of change. I hope that you can see what we have learnt on this website and be inspired by them!

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Goh Fang Min

Social Media Manager

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

I joined Field Investigation because I love getting to experience the vividness of ways of life I didn’t even know existed! Our trip was wonderful. It was challenging in all the ways humanistic fieldwork is difficult, but only in the best way of making you learn. Above all, I will miss the warmth, openness, enthusiasm, and frankness of conversation that sometimes feels like the rarest coincidence of all the right circumstances.

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Mindy Ong

Fieldwork Coordinator
(Singapore)

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

I am Mindy Ong, formerly from Actxplorer, a Singapore-based social business that brings people to explore and do good in Southeast Asia. I am an alumnus of NUS Geography, and I participated in the field studies in Thailand in 2011.

 

By a surprising twist of events, I was back in the field with a new generation of young NUS Geographers in Cambodia - not as a student this time, but as a field coordinator together with Dr. Carl, Ratana, Anjana, and Sai. It was extremely encouraging to see the students excitement, empathy, spirit of excellence, and enthusiasm as they learnt from the people and environments we were in. The weather was really hot, living conditions at times challenging, yet the students managed to keep their spirits high and ploughed on with field work together with the equally brilliant Cambodian buddies from PUC and ITC.

I believe that this FI to Cambodia has opened up the eyes and hearts of the NUS Geography students, to see the reality and relevance of what they are studying in university, and to start thinking about how their Geographical knowledge can be applied to make the world a better place to live in for other people. Learning is really done best in the field!

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Bunthann Sai

Community Relations Manager (Cambodia)

Freelance Consultant / Fieldworker 

I am glad to be part of the field investigation. I have learnt a lot about the geography, environment and culture of Stung Treng Province and the Mekong River. I was very happy to work with a strong team of professionals and students from NUS, PUC and ITC.

I hosted three groups of students who were studying about cross-border connections between Cambodia and Laos, riverbank erosion, and Khmer and Lao ties on the Lngo Island. Whilst these students were new to this area, they managed to engage in their fieldwork. They have learnt about local lifestyles that are connected to the Mekong River (e.g. fishery), negative impacts that development programs could have on local livelihoods, and ecology and hydrological processes of the Mekong River. These insights can be be gained from firsthand experience and fieldwork in the region I strongly think that this programme is useful to students, it would allow them to apply their learnings in working with other communities and NGOs particularly involved in environmental protection, eco-tourism, and conservation. Also, this programme provides local people with opportunities to share about their own situations and concerns about their livelihoods. I really hope that the the students will share their work with wider audiences as well as with the local participants in the field investigation. By doing so, we could encourage planners and developers to do less harm to the nature and local life. I appreciate the programme organisers for focusing on this area of the Mekong River and hope that tere will be more field investigations in future. I am always happy to encourage such educational ventures focusing on the environment, indigenous people's lives and rivers - the basis of aquatic resources and livelihoods.

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Nicole Chin

Webmaster &
Artistic Director

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

FieId Investigation was not just a great platform for participants to understand more about fieldwork, it was where we were able to witness geography coming to life. It was an authentic, challenging yet real and fruitful experience. The reports which are produced by us give you a glimpse of the lives of others and the challenges they are facing now in this fast developing world.

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Kong Ying Xuan

Webmaster

National University of Singapore (Alumni)

I was interested in the opportunity to conduct field research overseas while living with locals. What we have on this website are our best representations of what we saw, heard and experienced on our short stay in Cambodia.  Field Investigation was one of the most memorable experiences in my university life and I hope that our projects will pique your interest, even if just a little, in this spectacular country and its people.

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Feng Yikang

Artistic and Technical Coordinator

National University of Singapore
(Alumni & former NUS Library staff)

Hello, I'm Yikang, formerly from NUS Libraries and I'm helping out with the web platform. I was fortunate to have been part of Dr. Carl's field studies modules (2006, 2007) and Cambodia field trip (2007). To me, field investigations encourage critical thinking and reflexivity in tourism, geopolitics and human-nature relationships, amongst many other themes. The vivid experiences serve as memorable reference points long after graduation. I hope this web platform can help to archive and promote the students' thinking and rich observations in relation to the worlds on water.

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Dr Yong Ming Li

Fieldwork Advisor
(Cambodia & Singapore)

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (Lecturer)
National University of Singapore (Alumni)

I am a researcher working on transboundary water governance and hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin, with a focus on the opportunities and challenges relating to community-based natural resource management, civil society movements, public participation, and institutional arrangements that influence environmental governance. Participating in the NUS Geography field studies programmes to Thailand and Cambodia was a truly transformative experience which has strongly influenced my research interests and work. Field investigation provides students a first-hand and in-depth understanding of the environmental, social, cultural, and political-economic issues and dilemmas present in Southeast Asia, particularly along the Mekong River that serves as a lifeline for millions in the region. Most importantly, students learn to challenge their preconceptions and to develop a strong sense of connection to and empathy for the people who become a critical part of their encounters along the way – which in turn provides the foundation in understanding how practical issues on the ground may be resolved.