Let Trees Stand

Living in Singapore, an urbanized island city of astounding economic growth, I am convinced that the authorities here lack respect for trees and fail to recognise its full value to humans, birds, insects alike. Walking Monty every morning by the Kallang river, I have noted a number of instances where trees, big and beautiful and shady trees, are felled to make way for a new carpark (Kallang Distripark) or development (renovation of Geylang West Community Center).

Where once the chikku tree was there bursting with fruit for all birds to enjoy, and spread out branches for the winged creatures to perch on and nest, now there's concrete, and the birds are gone.

We had chatty mynahs, quarrelsome crows, fidgety sparrows, acrobatic terns, standoffish herons, regal long neck egret.... all at once, which caught the attention of eagles too. These days the egrets are lording over the river, but have to step away from the eager fishing ah-peks (old men). Joggers, walkers and cyclists now have less shade on this park connector (Upper Boon Keng to Boon Keng stretch crossing over Kallang Bahru). Monty is kinda disoriented too; his usual pee spot and favourite tree to rub his back against, is no longer there.

Over behind Block 18 of Upper Boon Keng Road, the block facing the famous Kallang market (which has apparently one of Singapore's best kambing soup or mutton soup), massive renovations are taking place of the community center. I was shocked to see trees outside of its premises, lining the drains in a public area, being hacked off. These trees face the Indian coffee shop where many of us go for teh tarik and dhosai. So there's less shade now.

Why tear healthy trees down? Why not build around them instead? Who gave the community center the go ahead to kill nature? A marvellous example of retaining an old tree with all its grandeur, history, and aesthetics is at the front entrance of the new School of The Arts building next to Cathay Cinema on Zubir Said Drive.

Let trees stand. Please.