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  Straits Times Forum 22 Jun 07
Strike a balance between loving nature and modern living
Letter from Richard Goh Chee Kok

Straits Times Forum 20 Jun 07
Don't take our lovely trees for granted
Letter from Yap Yang Ming

I WOULD like to share my thoughts on recent calls for action to be taken to prevent trees and branches falling, in the wake of two deaths.

Everytime when I return from an overseas trip, I never cease to be amazed by the large and beautiful trees lining our streets. As I savoured the awesome sight from the taxi window, I would feel a sense of pride in our Garden City.

Make no mistake, greening our city comes at a huge price in terms of effort and money. It is the tremendous foresight of our leaders that our city is what it is today.

Effort? Planting trees in carparks and along streets starts at the planning stage, where space is allocated. In our congested city, this conscious effort to set aside space for trees is commendable indeed. The returns are great - trees provide the all-important shade, purify the air, trap carbon, regulate the water cycle, give a sense of well-being, etc.

Money? Yes, planting and maintaining trees requires much financial resources. So when one enjoys a walk or drive under the shade of a row of majestic trees, do think about the effort and money spent to put them there. They are not there by accident.

I think Singaporeans are beginning to take our trees for granted. Yes, the trees must be there to give us shade (notice how all the parking lots under trees are taken up on a hot afternoon?), but, no, none of their branches are allowed to fall.

In our heavily-industrialised society, many of us have lost touch with nature, thinking that everything in our environment can be controlled.

Can lightning strikes and landslides be prevented completely? We can only try; that is why there is a clause in insurance policies about 'acts of God'.

Is the National Parks Board not doing enough? Just look at the numerous road diversions on weekends for tree pruning.

Ultimately Singaporeans have to decide whether they want their trees. Road accidents cause hundreds of deaths a year; do we get rid of vehicles? There are tens of drownings each year; do we stop building swimming pools? Do we want our roads and parking areas to comprise just ugly, hot slabs of concrete, contributing to ever-worsening global warming?

If the answer is no, let us give our beloved trees a break.

Straits Times Forum 22 Jun 07
Strike a balance between loving nature and modern living
Letter from Richard Goh Chee Kok

I REFER to the article, 'Don't take lovely trees for granted' (ST, June 20).

Like the writer, Mr Yap Yang Ming, many Singaporeans also appreciate greenery and want to have a Garden City instead of a concrete jungle.

They are also concerned that trees might be damaged unnecessarily which will contribute to global-warming. The public knows that much effort has been put in by NParks and understandably also with high costs to upkeep the trees for a good cause.

The recent calls for action to be taken to prevent trees and branches from falling, in the wake of two deaths, did not arise out of disregard for nature, the trees and their benefits, but rather out of concern to prevent further tragedies.

The so-called 'ugly, hot slabs of concrete', to quote the article, are man-made out of necessity. And so are 'vehicles and swimming pools' which were also highlighted.

Unless someone is hankering to go back to medieval times, I am sure we will still want to have our man-made inventions with us.

However, they and our lovely trees must co-exist safely for all.

It is great to love nature and help prevent further global-warming. Nevertheless, one should ponder and rationalise on an issue between having lovely trees and risking human lives.

I am sure all nature lovers like Mr Yap will not find it too difficult to make a choice.

Related articles on Trees in Singapore
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