One story starts with a 4.7m crocodile, killed Singapore 1888 and offered to the British colonial Raffles Museum where it was filled with straw stuffing. The origin of this stuffing is still unknown, but inside we have found an ecology of potentially-living, wheat and rye grains, and as-yet-unidentified plant and flower seeds. Ancient varieties of cereals are now of value as possibly more resistant than industrial ones to global warming. Organic farmer, Magnus Selenius and his niece Embla Lindblad from Nyby Gård Espoo, specialise in rehabilitating ancient cereals and have agreed to help try germinate and cultivate this ‘crocodile meadow’.
Another story thread concerns the historical figure of Pang Limah Ah Chong, a 19th C. Chinese, Taoist mystic and tin mine Triad leader during the Perak Larut Wars in Malaya, turned anti colonial freedom fighter. The spirit of Ah Chong, is according to a 1948 Singapore Straits Times article, said to reside in this very same crocodile. In January 2023, The Migrant Ecologies Project, National University of Singapore Museum and Aalto University Finland, funded a team of 10 dedicated artists, researchers, curators and art historians from Finland, Singapore and Malaysia on a ‘Crocodile Spirit Ecology’ field trip to Perak, to trace multiple histories of Pang Limah Ah Chong and possible remaining crocodiles.
How might incongruous materials and beings hosted by this colonial trophy, still on display in the Singapore Natural History Museum, seed stories that inspire in a time of climate change?