I was invited to stay at Kelab Alami, a single-storey house set in the middle of a cluster of homes in Kampung Ladang, Johor Darul Takzim. The environmental youth club founded by local Shalan Ju’mat and his wife Serina Rahman is strategically located close to the Gelang Patah R&R, the Second Tuas Link into Singapore, and Pak Ngah jetty, the latter being the jumping off point for excursions to the natural wetland areas of southern Johor.
One of Kelab Alami’s initiatives is to teach the youth how to be citizen scientists to help study and monitor island and coastal habitats; and to provide them with entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.
At the beginning of my stay, I was teaching two teenage boys how to craft a simple website using a freely available hosting service. By mid-week, a teenage girl joined our class, and by the end of my stay, the class size had grown to a dozen inquisitive children sitting cross-legged on the linoleum-covered floor. Shalan had requested that the children, from nearby villages, learn how to use e-mail. We just had enough time to share safety tips when using the Internet and set up e-mail accounts for everyone. Hoping to share with them more digital skills so they can use social media to promote Kelab Alami.