We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
~ Native American Proverb ~

The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.
~ Psalms 24:1 (NASB) ~


Making a difference...

The Starfish Story

  • Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
  • The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
  • At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

~ Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) ~

This non-profit site started in 1998 after our first visit to Redang. Back then, we found little information on the web to help us plan our trip. We figured other visitors would find such information useful. We were also touched and inspired by its natural beauty and wanted to help protect the marine environment there. So this site was set up with the dual objectives of providing useful travel information while promoting marine conservation through education and responsible tourism.

As Redang developed commercially, we became increasingly concerned for the marine environment especially when we noticed the deteriorating health of the housereefs year after year. With more visitors searching the web for information, we focused on creating a content-rich site in the hope that visitors would land on this site and take away not just useful travel information but more importantly, the message of conservation.

It is basic human nature to defend and protect the things we love and care about, the things we value and find worthwhile. Rules and regulations and their enforcement can only bring about compliance and to maintain law and order but these do not change the hearts of people. It is when people understand the reasons and motivations behind these rules and regulations, and when their own values and beliefs are aligned with these that there will be inner motivation to act responsibly. Knowing this, our approach was to try to educate people through this website and help them to understand the importance of coral reefs and the marine ecosystem. Armed with this awareness and together with the first-hand experience of being touched by the underwater beauty of Redang when they visit, we hoped visitors would begin to care enough to find it worthwhile to protect. When visitors care enough, they will begin to behave responsibly and influence others to do the same.

It has been and will continue to be an uphill battle to change the hearts of visitors, and also of resort operators and staff who have to find the delicate balance between commercial profitability and conservation. It takes great courage and conviction for resorts to take action against paying guests who behave irresponsibly and ignore resort staff when told not to step on or trample on corals. It is an even greater challenge when park regulations are not often enforced by the local authorities, who are often slow to react to complaints or worse, take no action against irresponsible visitors and resorts.

We were often discouraged, especially when we visit, to witness first-hand such irresponsible actions. We have seen snorkellers ignoring the snorkelling guides when told not to step on corals. We have seen resort staff transporting leaky oil-drums onto the beach. We have experienced being in waters off the housereefs where there was a visible layer of oil floating on the surface which caused our wetsuits to reek of petroleum. We have seen visitors discarding litter and cigarette butts into the sea. Sometimes we wonder if all the time and trouble we put into this non-profit website is worthwhile. That's when we are reminded of the starfish story (see box). We only need to be responsible to do what we can with what God has given us and make that positive difference, no matter how small. Progress may seem slow or non-existent, but if we do nothing, we can be sure things will only become worse. Conservation begins in the heart. And so we soldier on, driven by the fact that perhaps each day, this site will help change the hearts of a few visitors to act responsibly and in turn be mouthpieces for marine conservation in Redang and any other coral reef environment in the world. The ocean may be one large body of water but it is still made up of many drops. We just need to make our drop count. You too, can make a difference.


Just fans...

protect our coral reefs

Sometimes we receive email asking for price quotations for Redang tours and holiday packages, and even enquiries about job openings or student internships. We apologize that we are not able to entertain such requests. We do not own any resorts and we are not travel agents. We are also not affiliated with any of the resorts, travel or tour agencies featured in this website. Please contact a travel agent or any of the featured resorts directly for such information.

We also do not work in the travel and tourism industry. We run our own usability consultancy where we help our clients improve the usability and user experience of their hardware, software and web products. So while we try to keep the information on this site up to date as much as possible, you should also check out the Forum pages for new information or to post your questions. If you still have queries after visiting the Forum, drop us an email and we'll do our best to answer them.

We are just fans touched by Redang's natural beauty. We enjoy the sun, sand and sea and we love the colourful and wonderful marine inhabitants of her coral reefs. Her beauty is not something we all inherited from our ancestors but borrowed from our children. Our desire is that it remains unspoilt for our children and your children, and their descendents, to enjoy. We hope you share our desire too!

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