By: B Goode
This Valentine’s Day, I thought of going to the Botanic Gardens to snap a photo of myself under the giant Tembusu tree just like I did so many years ago. Just me and my hand.
But alas, the tree is gone, bringing with it the life of a woman. RIP.
Unlike the Nparks, I am not going to blame God for it. I am however, will blame good ol’ Father Time.
All living things will die someday. Surpise!
The thing is that, we know of a species’ life span. Humans about 60-80 years. Cats about 10-15 years etc.
I don’t know about Tembusu trees but 200 over years old is one freaking old tree.
Google told me that in the tropics, the only tree that could live for thousands of years is the Banyan. The others are about a few hundred years because of the humidity. If you heard about an old oak tree somewhere in England that was a sapling when Jesus was born, it didn’t mean that all trees could grow to that age. Especially in the tropics.
What I am trying to say is that, trees growing in an overly populated citystate like Singapore need to be cut down after they reached a certain age to prevent them from toppling over because sooner or later they will topple. Surprise!
In the forests and jungles, the toppling of trees is very common, according to Sir David Attenborough of course. But we hardly ever heard of it unless we lived in the jungle. But in a concrete jungle like Singapore, the natural toppling of trees not only can be heard, but will have dire consequences.
Already in the current monsoon season, trees were toppling left, right and centre. Not only the trees, but the branches too.
So again like everything else, Singapore will have to consider our uniqueness when it comes to managing our environment. The authorities need to study the lifespan of each tree species growing in our crowded land and to cut them down when they reached a certain age, and to replace them with new saplings.
This is called regeneration. If regeneration from natural means like what happened with the fallen Tembusu tree will have fatal consequences, we need to regenerate our flora manually.
I agree that old things give us a sense of nostalgia. I would love to revisit the old Tembusu tree for another snap. I guess now I just have to snap a photo of me and my hand at East Coast Park BBQ Pit No: 267.
But that lady who died when she was pinned down by the old Tembusu tree, could never celebrate another Valentine’s day.