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A Record of Letters to Authorities and Companies, And Their Replies. 


Curb Car Population Now for a More Sustainable Singapore

20 March 2012

Dear Editor,


We are told the new flyover in Bukit Brown will ease congestion and improve traffic flow - expected to increase by 30% by year 2020. At the same time, studies reveal that Singapore has more cars and fewer cyclists than in most developed cities and countries - and is also the highest polluter in Asia.

The question we should really be asking is: What kind of a sustainable Singapore do we want in 2020 and ahead? By building more roads and ensuring more road space, we continue to encourage private vehicle ownership. Public transportation has seen good improvements, with interconnected MRT lines and bus networks. So why is our transportation system struggling to cope ?

The answer is our planners do not view Singapore as a single entity. Our nation has a fragmented view of the social, economic, environmental and infrastructure aspects of Singapore. Visions and policies across these do not weave them together as they should. 

Staggered work hours and telecommuting can reduce the stress on public transportation during peak hours – this approach was tested 20 years ago in one statutory board, but since then nothing has materialised. Flexi-work can start with working from home once a week or month, or changing office hours. The civil service can take the lead in this, being the nation's largest work group.

Buses can be more frequent with more and varied express bus services to busy areas. Bicycle lanes can be drawn within the bus lanes islandwide; half a meter width is all that's needed. Melbourne sets a brilliant example of this approach, and it works.

Cars are highly polluting, during manufacture, delivery and use. They contribute to poor air quality for pedestrians and residents, in addition to noise pollution. Car ownership in Singapore should be given the same treatment as our strict housing policy . Families of 3 or more should be allowed to buy a car more easily than singles. Pollution tax should be incorporated in the cost of cars (in addition to ERP). Parking rates should be made uncomfortably high, as in the case of Hong Kong.

It is time to bring out the stick if we are serious about reducing congestion on roads.


By Mallika Naguran



Tree Felling and Bush Clearance in Kallang

(A letter sent to National Parks Board in Singapore)


Dear Sir/Madam

I have observed that too many trees are being cleared when they seem healthy. This is around the Upper Boon Keng Area. And this morning the bushes lining the canal are all cleared. They are the natural habitats of many birds and creatures, and provide important nutrients to them as well.  I am a witness of the different species in this area, which are dwindling, as I walk through this area every day.

Please see more comments in this blog.


I would like a response from NParks on this matter.

Please stop felling trees and clearing bushes indiscriminately. They may be be indispensable to humans, but they certainly aren't to the birds and bees.

You can also have an idea of the pollution in this home video of mine.



Mallika NAGURAN (Ms)
Publisher & Managing Director, Gaia Publications


Animal Rights Demonstration Refused in Singapore


Dear Mr Ng Joo Hee

Commissioner of Police, Singapore Police Force

I refer to the incident involving the arrest of Mr Edward Basse representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA in Bedok, Singapore in June 2010. The incident was reported in several media such as The Straits Times and Asian Correspondent, please see:  http://us.asiancorrespondent.com/breakingnews/singapore-squashes-peta-chicken-pro.htm

Can the Singapore Police Force please clarify its rationale for not issuing the necessary permit to PETA to carry out its activity in public awareness? According to The Straits Times, PETA had prior to the date of planned demonstration submitted an application to the Singapore Police Force, but it was rejected. According to Asian Correspondent news report, "Basse had planned to don a chicken costume and hold signs saying "KFC: Stop Chicken Cruelty" to protest the treatment of chickens on farms and slaughterhouses." PETA decided to carry on with its mission of public information in spite of its inability to obtain a permit from the Singapore Police Force, which led to Mr Basse's forced removal from the scene through police arrest. 

The people of Singapore who in part, unfortunately, constitute gullible youths and media-charmed children deserve to be informed of unethical practices of commercial organisations, even if the method of awareness is the staging of public speaking or demonstrations at strategic, populous locations. This is to enable consumers and citizens including me - a Singapore citizen - to make an informed choice of our purchases and actions.

A copy of this letter and its reply will be posted on Gaia Discovery. 

Thank you.

Yours truly


Mallika NAGURAN (Ms) 

Managing Editor, Gaia Discovery 


Disallow Long Net Fishing in Singapore Rivers, Canals

(This letter was published in Today newspaper's website in Singapore)

2 April 2010

Dear Editor,

Of late hobby fishing has taken off along the Kallang canal. The methods include rod and line, small and long nets. The long nets can stretch across the width of the canal, up to 40m.

The long nets are getting more popular as they haul in larger quantities of fish at a quicker time. However, these nets are a hazard to the cleaner boats (see photos taken near Block 14 Upper Boon Keng Road this morning) as it jams the propeller. As rubbish of all sizes flow down the river, they are trapped by these nets making them hard and risky to pull out by the cleaners. The nets also trap other marine animals such as turtles and iguana, plus other fish species including juveniles. Fishing has contributed to greater pollution; more styrofoam, plastic bags and bottles are strewn into the river once the hobby has been served. Birds, including migratory ones, depend on the fishes for food. With pollution all round, the marine ecosystems and wildlife are being threatened.

The authorities should step in to curb this problem, and ban long net fishing altogether. I had written to the NEA three years ago complaining about the lack of rubbish bins along the canal, and repeated the problem to officers in person appealing for more bins (including recycle bins), but I have yet to see any improvement. Monitoring against littering is also needed. Perhaps our Permanent Resident Voluntary Constables can offer their valuable services to this matter.

Thank you.

Best regards

Mallika Naguran
Managing Editor, Gaia Discovery


Responsible Tourism Growth Needed in Singapore

(This letter to The Straits Times was not published)

6 March 2010

Dear Editor

I refer to a Prime News article in The Straits Times on 6 March 2010.  Singapore hopes to receive 17 million visitors by year 2015 and the government is gearing up the tourism industry to overcome the challenges involved in meeting this target. This, according to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education S. Iswaran, refers to not just investments in hardware infrastructure but also transformation and adaptation to "emerging competitive challenges".

Tourism industry globally contributes to economic growth but not without harm to the environment. Tourism's share of global warming has been said to be 12.5 percent, of which aviation alone contributes 5 percent. It has been forecast that carbon emissions from tourism will grow by 162 percent in the period 2005-2035. The tourism industry should thus play a responsible role in reducing its carbon footprint by considering environmentally-friendly processes, systems and solutions.  Areas that can be looked into include office administration, event management, travel and transportation, food and catering, efficiencies in water, waste and energy, and the offer of carbon offset schemes.

Information on various aspects of sustainable tourism, education, training and certification can be found on websites such as The International Ecotourism Society (http://www.ecotourism.org), Green Globe or Earth Check (www.earthcheck.org), and Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (http://www.crctourism.com.au).

For Asian models of sustainable hospitality operations and to participate in a recognition programme, hoteliers can refer to the not-for-profit WildAsia's Responsible Tourism Award (www.wildasia.org).

Thank you.

Best regards

Mallika Naguran
Managing Editor, Gaia Discovery