11 August 2006

Our trees

Once in a while, we should stop and look at our city, in this case, our trees. Tree cover is one of the most distinguishing features of Singapore compared to many cities, particularly Asian ones. Photo essay.


aliene said...

You're so right.

The trees give our city a very special character. I think many of us don't realise how suitable the label "garden city" is. Like you mentioned, cities in Europe are devoid of greenery, save for small patches of park and whatnot that are few and far in-between. And this was something that I had to actually experience for myself with a visit there to fully notice and appreciate just how much greenery we have around us at home. Before my trip, I used to think that every city had this many plants.

Having travelled more in recent years, I have to say Singapore looks marked greener than other cities around us like JB, Sydney, Tokyo, Taipei and Bangkok. Some cities may have the greenery, but probably not as abundant or as "lanscaped" like ours O_O.

So, I think Orchard Road is perfectly fine the way it is. If anything, the retailer-mix needs to be adjusted! Why would anyone want to see the same old Esprit or Giordano at every building along the whole road.... but that's another matter...

Anonymous said...

Exactly, our trees definitely make a difference with other cities. However, if I don't remember wrongly, there was a time when they buy into the idea of planting more palm trees or the likes, first to reduce maintainance cost as we don't hv to sweep so much, and second to avoid breeding mosquitoes among water hold up among dropped leaves (when they piled up). Guess it's always the 'efficiency' that goes into administrators' mind.

And, not long ago, they realise there are also pockets along palm tree trunk that will collect water and hence breed mosquitoes!! I really hope they won't next think of cutting down on trees to minimize denque cases, let alone to make orchard road brighter? There must be other effective ways to brighten things up. Further, there is definitely cost in maintaining our landscape full of trees and dropped leaves, however, it's something I think we should spend on.

I just can't imagine how we can enjoy this tiny tropical island without trees!

Anonymous said...

I like our trees... practical (makes our hot and humid weather more bearable) and makes Singapore unique. Plus, they are also lighted up during festival light-ups (e.g. Christmas, New Year, Deepavali). If one take a close look, one may notice that the trees and bushes are usually not just randomly planted but part of a detailed landscaping effort. Kudos to the National Parks Board.

As for the carpark photo, with the trend towards multi-storey carparks, this scene will become rarer over the years. Anyway, drivers don't like birdshit (from the birds in the trees) on their cars.

Not sure if it just takes time or what, it seems that the species of trees in newer estates just do not spread out as wide a canopy as those in older estate.

As for those in the older estates, sometimes the thick canopy shelter too many birds... which pollutes the environment with birdshit and squawking. Unfortunately when it happens (the animal lovers won't like this), the voluntary marksman team is called in to shoot down the crows, pigeons, etc.

Lastly, I do like that Orchard Road is not so bright at night... walking down the street from one end to the other is so romantic ;)

Anonymous said...

it is also interesting to think about why Ignatius's comments were published in the first place.

I'm just glad enough about the whole idea of "do not let the media (and hence its journalists/editors) set the agenda."

wise heads should prevail.
i love our trees! i think that we will never have enough trees.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the effort taken to make a comparison between the day and night scene and lighting.

i must say that i'm not too concerned about the extent of street lighting. the contrast between paragon and the walkway outside would be lost if both were just as brightly lit.

i would think that building owners should make more effort to make their side of the street as friendly as possible to would-be patrons.

Anonymous said...

I was passing by Bukit Timah road the other day. I was remarking to my friend about the rows of tress planted between the two roads. You could hardly see what's on the other side of the road due to the trees and bushes that grow alongside them.

My first thought was they were there not so much to beautify the roads but to provide shade and absorb the pollutants from the air.

Dicta said...

Reading your piece makes Ignatius' article seem like a redundacy. Perhaps the latter was writing as his job dictates - a hallmark of many a ST article, I'd say. Kudos to you.

boon said...

I've always thought the reason our city centre isn't as bright is because of the lack of gaudy neon light signboards. In most major cities, they're everywhere!

I had the impression that their use is restricted in Singapore, which suits me just fine.

Anonymous said...

I'm singaporean and i've lived in HK for 6 years now. Whenever i come back home, its the trees that i welcome. it makes our city really beautiful.

you'll never know how much you take some things for granted until they take it away from you.

The trees give Singapore its character, much like the neon signboards in HK.

removing the trees to be like someone else is a notion that's not well thought out and debated.


Joel said...

A Japanese concert band recently had a combined concert with my school band, and we were playing selections from the soundtrack of Princess Mononoke. Halfway through, the conductor started talking about how, as in the movie, the music should reflect a harmony between Industry and Nature.

"Your country", he said, "is a beautiful example of this harmony. We (the Japanese band) are so captivated by the nature that surrounds us everywhere we go. Not like in Japan, where we have destroyed nature for our economy (dunno how true this is :P)".

I think that was very pretty, and it gave me a newfound appreciation for the way my mum waxes lyrical about the trees we see all around the place. She loves trees.

Thank you for your article. It's sad when people like this Ignatius whatsit start lambasting the things that make us special- and even the trees, poor things.

Anonymous said...

The way to improve the lighting in Orchard Road at night is to light up the tree canopy, like at the Botanical Gardens or Zoo.

Anonymous said...

Trees along major roads can be a hazard during stormy weather. Trees can get hit by lightning. It can travel for metres. Also fallen branches crushing vehicles becoming a common sight.Many trees are vey old, matter of time one after another it will fall and injure someone!

Anonymous said...

as a supporter of nature, i cannot agree more with the message of your photo essay. it's not only the trees but our imported cow grass as well. the buzz of grass cutting machines go on so much that makes me wonder what on earth are they cutting anyway.

On a side note, in one ST article published in 2005, Ignatius Low wrote about people "missing the wood for trees" when they "gripe about...the insincerity of SMS messages...how ungrammatical and badly spelled the messages are." I can only bemoan the unbalanced approach he had given to his article, ignoring major facts of electronic media communication. And makes me wonder, further -- has he done any research on the topic he was going to write about or did he just write from the top of his head?

Are our journalists well-informed writers?