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

still withstand

the roar of our folly –

perhaps we should look heavenward

and know

that nature’s birds

do not collide with nature’s trees


Jonathan Lim, October 2001

Tree garland montage

You can see more photos at Lai Chee Kien’s FB photo album



Postcards by Tan LL

Developing MacRitchie 

It is a mixed media installation created by Chu Hao Pei, a student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Art, Design and Media department in 2015. Check out his work. http://developingmacritchie.com/about.html


Official Video of Love our MacRitchie Forest

The Line 

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!
Unilateral acquisitions
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

Do visit their website (https://lovemacritchie.wordpress.com/) to learn more about the MacRitchie Forest and the plan for development.
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