DEBRA TENG

Actress, Host, Marine Conservationist, Corporate Role Player

I am an actress trained in London and based in Singapore. I have been acting and dancing since I was a child, even though I trained as an architect originally. I still try to keep a foot in the corporate world by using acting in corporate training programmes. I am often seen on Singapore television, film and sometimes stage. I have just been signed for Singapore's longest running English soap called Tanglin, shoots will start in September this year (2017). 

I started scuba diving in 1988/89. In the 90s, I would go diving a lot in Thailand because it was relatively easy to get to, and safe for a lone female traveller. The natural landscape was spectacular, people are beautiful inside and out, and the diving was good, easy, varied and safe... Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Railay, Koh Tao, Khao Lak... on one of these trips I met Brendon Sing who started Shark Guardian. We became good friends and kept in touch over the years.

I was very shy growing up. Which may sound strange for an actress, I know, but I was. Diving is an activity that suits me well. Underwater I feel completely relaxed and distracted. It takes me to another world and leaves me in awe of the beauty, colours and shapes of the corals and fish around me... It is such a special environment and I feel so privileged to be a part of it. Sharks, in particular are breathtaking to encounter. They are the guardians of the ocean, almost as big as I am, often bigger... gliding through the water like the class monitor keeping everything in check... I am just so in awe and full of respect for these creatures.

In some of the places that I have dived over the years, I have seen some practices which can be so much better, dive guides torturing creatures for the amusement of the customers... pinning down the gentle leopard sharks, letting customers take a ride on the turtles, puffing up the porcupine puffer fish, catching and manhandling creatures and critters so that customers can get a good underwater shot, letting the customers grab and break corals, picking and bringing shells and creatures from underwater up to land, throwing their trash overboard... the worst of all, the mass killing of the sharks for their fins... I get quite emotional when I encounter these practices... in some places, you could be diving amongst trash underwater and sometimes you would surface to plastic bags and even soiled diapers. The underwater world don't stand a chance against our destructive practices, they cannot campaign or sue us for destroying their homes and habitats, or tell us how much they are suffering, someone has to speak up for them, to try to protect them.


There is so much education that needs to be done to promote respect for the marine environment and to ensure that our shark population continues to flourish. I am so honoured to be one of Shark Guardians' Ambassadors, and to be a part of a cause that I believe in strongly, and hopefully help make a change for our future generations.

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