My first tour guiding experience!

Written by Loh Chee Hee

Chee Hee studied Animal Health and Production in UPM. He joined TCS as an intern in 2016.

3 May 2016

To be honest, I am not a social butterfly and I will get all nervous talking to strangers. On Saturday, 30th April 2016, I was assigned to lead the first Turtle Discovery Trip (TDT) of the year, together with my course mate and fellow intern, Wei Li.

A few days before the trip, I was so afraid that I might not be able to lead and meet the expectations of the TDT participants! I searched for information regarding turtles and terrapins from the “almighty internet” to prepare myself for any questions that might be raised by the participants. I read and memorized my script a few times a day to ensure that everything goes well and that I won’t disappoint both the TDT participants and my supervisor, Pelf.

A week before the trip, we were taken on our first training session. And three days before the trip, we had our second training session. It was a very stressful day for me, because I was scheduled to give the first introductory briefing. All the well-scripted dialogues and information just slipped my mind the moment I started speaking. My confidence level kept dropping as I spoke and finally became a complete stutterer. I screwed this one and only training opportunity and I knew I was going to get some ferocious feedback but no. Pelf and her mother gently pointed out my problems right away and encouraged me that it’s all going to be fine. It was really a relief because I did not get scolded. But on the other hand, I felt like my shoulders were heavier than before because of the trust, faith and expectations that they had in me as well as the feeling of not letting them down.

After that, I had a small introspection with myself, trying to fix my mistakes and what should I improve to be able to speak with more confidence in front of people as well as presenting the information in a logical sequence.

The thing that I am afraid of the most, Turtle Discovery Trip finally came. My nerves were tight and my muscles were shivering. I kept revising my script while Wei Li was driving to the Turtle Sanctuary in Cherating, to meet up with the participants. Meeting up with these adult participants was not easy for me. I flinched and spoke doubtfully, thinking that they might not like my presentation, worrying about what people around me will think, etc. Thankfully, these feelings started to fade in just a while. I was then able to speak spontaneously, even better than reading my script. TDT participants also started to blend into my world as well, they were inquisitive and asked many questions about turtles, which is a good thing, as it pushes my self-esteem to the peak because I am able to answer all their questions and I never felt more confident before. The trip ended quite well, at least that’s what I think and I gained a lot from it.

From this one-day trip, I learned that one’s achievement is not from his/her sheer hard work but is also affected by many aspects such as people around you who give you courage and support. Reading and memorizing the script didn’t make my life easier but expressing the knowledge I had in my own words is a lot easier. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Pelf, her mother and all the TDT participants for their support and recognition.

“Hidden potentials will only come out when you get out of your comfort zone.”

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At times, I practiced the talk several times and improved on my presentation skills, after all, I’d be talking to a group of 11-year-old students! I was excited and nervous at the same time!

An eye-opening experience leading a big group of students

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A day before the 2D1N programme, I had a fear of facing the big group of students and I was worried that I might forget any of the duties that were assigned to me. I kept thinking to myself, “Cabita, you can do it. Do it with full confidence and always be aware of the critical situations that you might face during the programme.”

Up close with the Green turtle

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It was an amazing experience, being able to witness the nesting of a Green turtle. First, the turtle digs a body pit big enough for her to be comfortable in. Then, she carves an egg chamber for the eggs. When she is ready, she lays her eggs, 2-3 eggs at a time, and then she covers her egg chamber. Before leaving the nest behind, she sand bathes for about an hour, in an attempt to camouflage her nest. The entire nesting process may easily take 3 hours to complete!

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