When looking for apartments, one of the things you quickly learn about Singapore is that new construction is pervasive. It takes a lot of looking to find a centrally located apartment that’s not adjacent to a construction site or within earshot of major development. Even if you DO locate that rare apartment that exists within a modicum of acceptable city noise, that doesn’t mean it will remain that way. Old stuff goes down and new stuff springs up relatively quickly around here.
The first time we looked at the apartment we now live in, one of my first questions to our agent was regarding the big, beautiful tree to the south of the building. It looks like an enormous piece of broccoli, with a “trunk” made of lots of smaller trunks that cover a large area on the ground (some type of a banyan?). I asked him if he thought it would be cut down to make room for yet another apartment building — which are often shoe-horned into the smallest of spaces, the tightest of corners, built skinny but tall to take advantage of the unlimited vertical space. No, he replied. Due to its size, he thought the tree might be a Heritage Tree.
As a mountain girl, I ♥ Heritage Trees. Located throughout the city, Heritage Trees are protected by law and have been selected and endorsed for protection by a panel of nine experts. The Heritage Tree Scheme started in 2001 and there are currently 183 trees with Heritage status. Criteria for selection include girth, rarity of species and historical significance.
Upon reviewing the Heritage Tree register, our neighboring tree is unfortunately not included. But the great thing is… I can fill out a nomination form for consideration! Until then, there seems to be some activity around the tree indicating there are no plans for its removal. A new fence has been erected, surrounding trees have been planted, grass and gravel have been added (see progress in two photos), and the tree has the good fortune of being located (along with us) next to a school where its value is likely appreciated. Perhaps it’s the school undertaking the additional landscaping and regard for the tree. Whoever it is, we thank you for preserving this bit of green, shady, beautiful foliage in the city.