My earlier post lamented the demise of a few magnificent trees in Singapore, for no rhyme nor reason. Of course not all trees are hacked to bits; there are plenty still lining streets and roads of this busy country - 46.5% green cover I understand down from 95% just four decades ago (not centuries!). How 46.5% is worked out I'm not exactly sure as I sure see lots of concrete more than greens, and a lot more buildings sprouting up than new trees. I wonder what the figure for concrete cover is? Interestingly 10% of Singapore's land space is reserved for parks and reserves. Some people think 10% is a good figure, and include that in the justification for calling Singapore a green city.
Today (while walking Monty along the Kallang river with the remaining trees of course) I struck upon an idea. Why not celebrate trees in a way that can be personal yet persuasive by paying them tributes? Why not write letters, eulogies and poems, or tweet, or take photos or make a video of a tree that mean something to us? I'm usually tempted to photograph trees when I'm out on a travel assignment, and because trees are my hero, I have quite a few of snapshots. But unless they are used specifically to illustrate an article, they remain hidden in my files.
So I'm opening this Miracle Tree project to everyone who cares enough to take part. Essays, notes, poems, photos submitted will be first featured on Gaia Discovery Miracle Tree page then made into a little Miracle Tree e-book for all to enjoy. Entries will be Facebooked as well. Send your entries to Gaia Discovery's Facebook page or to me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why call it a 'miracle' tree? While reviewing Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa in West Malaysia for Gaia Discovery, I came across a tree that had a sign declaring it a "Miracle Tree". I stepped closer, looked at it, made a wish, and walked on, hoping that I'd win a million bucks in lottery the next day. I didn't, damn it. But it left an impression on me.
Here's the story behind this tree (a rather ordinary looking one, I'd think you will agree with me). The gardener of the eco-resort chanced upon a chopped down tree trunk along the side of the road in Kuah Town of Langkawi island. It must have been in the way of a new development. They must have thought, oh dear, why kill nature when it can live, so trucked the trunk back and re-planted it at the resort. The trunk, bare and feeble it must have been, miraculously grew shoots, then branches of new leaves, and now stands tall and healthy, giving shade to humans and birds alike. It's a Rose of India tree.
The Miracle Tree of Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa is the inspiration behind the Gaia Miracle Tree project. See how one action impacts another? I'm now hoping that you will bring me and all tree lovers out there huge happiness by sending in a photo and description of the tree, be it the name of the tree or simply why it is special to you. Oh, add the location as well please, be specific right down to street name, city, state, and country.
I'll see if I can rummage a prize to give away every quarter for the most inspiring entry; and in saying this, I am calling hotels, resorts, tour operators, restaurants, green companies to sponsor vouchers for this cause.
Here's Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa's miracle tree. Where is yours? Don't forget your name, contact details and address for me to mail that special voucher to you. -Mallika Naguran