Oliver Huang is a Secondary 4 student who underwent an internship at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) in 2016. He has written this blog post during his internship at SCS.
Walking into the Butterflies Up-Close exhibition at Science Centre Singapore, you first notice a myriad of colours, with a backdrop of lush green bushes. Your hair is dappled by the light streaming through the foliage; your nose is tingled by the sweet aroma of the flowers; your ears prick up at the soft thudding of butterfly wings… It is truly a treat for all 5 senses indeed.
However, maintaining a tranquil experience for guests is no easy task, and in these two weeks of internship, I am honoured to have met some of the dedicated individuals that strive to improve the experience of guests and butterflies alike.
Stepping into the exhibition for the first time, I was trembling from both excitement and nerves. Hailing from a concrete jungle, I never had many experiences with butterflies. In fact, the last time I heard anything about butterflies was in science class… and that was 6 years ago! A total newbie like me, working amongst professionals, let’s just say I definitely felt like a fish out of water.
Nevertheless, the staff patiently took me under their wing, giving me a walkthrough of the exhibition, and teaching me how to handle butterflies. I was impressed by the level of detail present in the exhibition, which recounted the life cycle of the butterfly in a lifelike manner.
No matter how realistic the exhibition was, it could not beat seeing the real thing with my own eyes… and that’s where the butterfly enclosure comes in. As the saying goes, “Seeing is believing”. That’s what the butterfly enclosure aims to achieve, and it provides more than enough creatures to see. With around hundreds of butterflies from 16 different species, I definitely had a blast admiring and trying to identify the various species. In the short time that I was working there, I found my favourite species, the Malay Lacewing. Found commonly across South East Asia, the Malay Lacewing is known for its bright colours and intricate patterns. Looking at the picture, I think it is understandable why artists and ancient cultures all chose the butterfly to represent the beauty of nature.
I can assure you reader, that admiring butterflies is an experience like no other. Whenever there were no visitors in the enclosure, I often found myself sitting on the dew covered rocks, lost in the world of fluttering butterflies, deep in a state of relaxation that I have never experienced before. Time slowed down, and I took this chance to take a closer look at these “angels of the jungle”. Under the sunlight, its colours seemed to ignite in the light, a combustible mix of amber-orange and gunpowder-black. This violent streak of colour contrasted against the peaceful surroundings, further bringing out the dazzling nature of these insects.
Of course, taking care of the butterflies was not my only task, since I also had to guide the visitors around the exhibition. I had many opportunities to interact with young children, answering their queries, helping them overcome their fear of butterflies, and all in all, develop their passion for science and nature.
At the end of the day, this work attachment was an extremely fulfilling one. Not only was I able to educate the public on butterflies, I was able to make a difference in the lives of the future generation. It might only be a small difference, but small differences add up to big changes. As youth voice expert Wendy Lesko once said, “If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!”