MOST young adults would be content with a stable job, but Ms Kathy Xu was looking for something more.
Last year, at the age of 30, she quit her teaching job of seven years to start Dorsal Effect, her own project to save sharks.
It came about after she stumbled across a documentary called Sharkwater and was so convinced by its conservation message that she started showing it to her students.
She began volunteering with advocacy group Shark Savers Singapore two years ago and has been going to schools to give talks on the topic.
The former Orchid Park Secondary School teacher, who was a history major at the National University of Singapore, then realised that not much was being done to stem the shark's fin trade.
So she went thrice to a fishing village called Tanjung Luar, off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, to find out more about it. Ms Xu spent nearly $800 from her own pocket on each visit.
She is now in talks with potential investors and partners on plans to build a sustainable eco-tourism business for the village's shark fishermen.
The former teacher intends to help them develop an alternative livelihood by assisting them with refurbishing their boats and arranging sea excursions for tourists, for example.
Ms Xu made it through to the first round of the Singapore International Foundation's Young Social Entrepreneurs Programme and hopes to win seed funding for her project after the final pitch in October.
Her brave decision to give up a teaching career and delve into uncharted territory did not sit well with her parents, an aircraft technician and a housewife. Her older brother, who works in Sydney, gives her emotional support.
"When I first broke the news that I was leaving the job, (my parents) were really angry," she said. "They're still worried this will not work."
These days, Ms Xu has to get by on the roughly $2,000 a month she earns giving tuition - less than half of what she used to make as a teacher.
"I watch fewer movies, take taxis less often and try to eat at foodcourts and hawker centres instead of restaurants nowadays," she said.
"I do get my moments when I feel like I've hit the wall, but I truly believe in this and I see the potential in it, so I'm going to persevere."
- See more at: http://sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore/story/teaching-saving-sharks-20130613#sthash.ebHOMQSl.dpuf

Most young adults would be content with a stable job, but Ms Kathy Xu was looking for something more.

Last year, at the age of 30, she quit her teaching job of seven years to start Dorsal Effect, her own project to save sharks.

It came about after she stumbled across a documentary called Sharkwater and was so convinced by its conservation message that she started showing it to her students.

She began volunteering with advocacy group Shark Savers Singapore two years ago and has been going to schools to give talks on the topic.

The former Orchid Park Secondary School teacher, who was a history major at the National University of Singapore, then realised that not much was being done to stem the shark's fin trade.

So she went thrice to a fishing village called Tanjung Luar, off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, to find out more about it. Ms Xu spent nearly $800 from her own pocket on each visit.

She is now in talks with potential investors and partners on plans to build a sustainable eco-tourism business for the village's shark fishermen.

The former teacher intends to help them develop an alternative livelihood by assisting them with refurbishing their boats and arranging sea excursions for tourists, for example.

Ms Xu made it through to the first round of the Singapore International Foundation's Young Social Entrepreneurs Programme and hopes to win seed funding for her project after the final pitch in October.

Her brave decision to give up a teaching career and delve into uncharted territory did not sit well with her parents, an aircraft technician and a housewife. Her older brother, who works in Sydney, gives her emotional support.

"When I first broke the news that I was leaving the job, (my parents) were really angry," she said. "They're still worried this will not work."

These days, Ms Xu has to get by on the roughly $2,000 a month she earns giving tuition - less than half of what she used to make as a teacher.

"I watch fewer movies, take taxis less often and try to eat at foodcourts and hawker centres instead of restaurants nowadays," she said.

"I do get my moments when I feel like I've hit the wall, but I truly believe in this and I see the potential in it, so I'm going to persevere."