Jonathan Lim wrote this poem after 911 and when he heard that by reclaiming Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin, the tallest tree in the island, a Pulai (Alstonia angustiloba), would have to make way for this development.
A group of passionate Singaporeans who wanted to celebrate the life of this old giant gathered around the tree on 20 October 2001 to read poems, monologues from plays and sing. A dignified way to garland and honor the Pulai giant. Our quiet way to object to the lost of such a majestic heritage.
The authorities surprised everyone by deciding to reverse the decision. Chek Jawa was saved. We rejoiced that the coastal forest with the old history was spared in the process. If MND could reverse that decision more than 10 years ago and found other creative solutions for the development of Singapore, would LTA do the right thing and also re-route the line? We must remain hopeful and hope that LTA would be equally enlightened.
A month ago we proved that we could fell each other’s trees
Steel oaks with leaves of glass
Proudly unshaken as a city, a world, grew around it, grew from it
But we proved that even they could fall
Proof we did not need but had to have
Proof that the trees we build, we destroy
Perhaps through no fault of our own
but habitual blindness
What are we here for then?
These are not our trees
Not built, but grown
An architect far wiser put them here
based on blueprints we will never see
Did we, in some ordered fit
imagine that we had a part
to play in changing this design ?
We who cannot keep our proudest towers from falling
who are we to upgrade god’s housing ?
Perhaps we should be grateful that some things still stand
the roar of our folly –
perhaps we should look heavenward
that nature’s birds
do not collide with nature’s trees
Jonathan Lim, October 2001
Postcards by Tan LL
Official Video of Love our MacRitchie Forest
Song – Written & Performed by THE PANGOLINS
Music Video – Produced & Directed by Wang Wang
THE LINE (The Pangolins)
What does it matter to me
If we hurt one more tree?
Why should it matter to me?
I don’t live in MacRitchie
So the forest and the waters may not exist
If the trespass still persists
So the turtles and the fishes may be confused
If we carry on as wished
Cross the island with more stations
Breakin’ up Mother Creation!
What we give up we cannot restore
So yes it matters to me
Where do we draw the line?
Not just about some ole tree
It defines us, you and me