22 October 2004

Poetry as Criticism of Life

Istana Park

so much depends

how fast you walk

this short green carpet

a little red


If you live in Singapore long enough,
you start noticing strange details.
Like the trees.
You can't escape
the trees in the Garden City.

Looking at them
you start to wonder how people here think.

Notice the less shade a tree gives
the higher its status and prestige.
Palm trees, coconut trees, shrubs -
Our architects fall over themselves to plant them outside the holy sites:
embassies, state buildings, malls and condos.

Trees serve a decorative function.
For shade, please use a sheltered walkway
or an underground tunnel.

Green Plan

Docile, domesticated
garden is nature denatured
colonised for human living.

Come, let us draw lines
to fence in nature.
Let us tear up the forests
pave the ground with concrete
then plant midget shrubs between the cracks!

For this is our green plan:
"We will keep nature as long as possible,
even as we cater to a growing population."*

* quote from Ms Juliet Hang, Asst Dir Public Affairs for Ministry of National Development and Ms Angeline Yap, Asst Dir Corporate Communications for Ministry of the Environment, in a letter to the Straits Times forum page on 10 May 2003.

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