Sunday, February 12, 2017

Botanic Gardens: Tree Crashes Day After Valentine Gig

12 February, 2017, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

An iconic tembusu tree, near the Symphonic Stage and very close to the statues of Chopin and his wife, toppled and crashed late yesterday on Chap Goh May afternoon of 11 February, just three days before Valentine's Day on 14 February.

The night before the tembusu tree toppled, my wife and I were witnessing the last half an hour of a concert by well-known duet Jack and Rai (image) during the Botanic Garden's Valentine's Day celebration this year. 

The guitar strums of the duo were vibrantly contrasting and bright to the still and quiet of the evening, but they seemed to mellow with the trees and cool breeze. And Jack and Rai played with excellence and skill. Very talented twosome indeed.

There was a good evening crowd, with many young couples, some with children. A few stalls, by the wayside facing the iconic white gazebo, were manned by youth, selling food, drinks and souvenirs. 

It was actually our routine evening walk in the Gardens and we just managed to catch Jack and Rai singing two Beatles songs, the last one, Hey Jude. The duo surely spurred the spontaneous crowd to sing the refrain. Only a few weeks ago PM Lee Hsien Loong obliged a selfie with me at the same spot where the gig was held.

After the show we had to pass the tembusu tree and walking towards our car, near the coffee house on the Dalvey Road/Nassim Road side of the Gardens. We were discussing how old many of the trees were. They were perhaps older than the Gardens itself. 

With the present heavy rains and thunderstorms, we were concerned about the safety of people who patronized the area. It was a strange co-incidence to have discussed the calamity before it happened the next day.

According to news reports one lady had passed away and a few others were injured during the incident. We send condolences to the bereaved family and hope the rest who were at the scene are safe and unharmed.

The Botanic Gardens is a lovely place to visit, having been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by its Committee during its 39th session. My grand children and I visit it often, most times in the late afternoon. The kids could run wild and scream in the large open areas. 

But be more careful walking by the side of the lakes when feeding the fishes and turtles. There is no fencing around the lakes and the pigeons could be too friendly, flying close to children who are near the edge of these lakes. A safe place it is but sometimes danger lurks as it would anywhere else.

This posting explains the incident as it is. There is no intention to criticize any organisation, party or individual. Please write to blogger if information is inaccurate and post will be deleted.

Images: Botanical Gardens Facebook and Website.
           Jack and Rai Make You Feel My Love: (cover Bob Dylan)



Trees around that area are a hazard.

In 1985 a tree dropped on my car and split it into two, around the Botanics. I survived miraculously. Not my time yet.


Yes, so unfortunate. At least that person got crushed at a beautiful ground. May she RIP.

This is a difficult situation or case for lawyers. My father's friend has his car damaged by a fallen tree branch. Tried o claim damages but was told... This is an act of god.

LIM KUAN MIN said...

My goodness... tragic indeed when I read the news. Fortunate you and wife were not affected.

Botanic Gardens management have a lot to answer. I saw the picture of the fallen tree and wonder how come the roots that must be large, strong and sturdy could not hold, despite the people in charge claiming they checked its health condition last September.


National Parks compensated me with a paltry $2,000 while the car was a write-off.

Pat Chan said...

Hi Oliver you said"In 1985 a tree dropped on my car and split it into two." My God ,this was serious but thank God you survived.I too had a similar experience. Driving down Dunearn road,my car was suddenly shaken and i heard a loud bang at the boot of the car. A branch of a big tree hit the boot. I can tell you i was so frightened. I told my family that it was an unlucky day for me but they said no,you were lucky because you survived. Looks like it was also not my time yet.
-Pat Chan

Chris said...

Hi there,
In any case, all events for weekend at botanic gardens have been cancelled.
But if am not wrong, the tree that toppled in that fatal accident was near the symphony stage and not that famous one.

PETER CHAN said...

These tall trees somehow don't have deep roots as what we think or were made to believe. I have seen fallen trees or cut trees on the beaches and roadsides bearing testimony to what I said.

These trees are best left in their natural terrains like in the jungle unless there is plenty of space for them to grow well or fall away from people, like in the jungle.

Even the Christmas tree in my garden fell' all because it has no deep roots. Usually the wind is the cause as it weakens the ground support. At best a metre deep, how can that support a big tree?

I am not a trained horticulturalist but I see so often that I found the answer as to why they fall.

These trees have roots that love to grow horizontally. Perhaps this provides support at the base. Many of my neighbours grow in their small garden plot trees that reach four storey high and crooked. Each time the monsoon rain or wind comes the family gets fearful. Swaying. We have to drive our cars to another safe spot, like next to a lamp post.

LKM said...

If one looks at the base of the tree and observes the roots that looked thin and shrivelled for a 270 year old tree. What happened to them? Where safety is concerned, don't take chances. Maintenance is still short of standards.

Wonder how BGardens going to explain. Tree fell in 5 seconds. At a World Heritage Site. News around the world.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

8 comments and nothing about Valentine's Garden gig or the pop singers. We all feel dearly for the lady who passed away.

Thanks again for early response. This posting has hardly cooled since I published it. My intention was to explain how lucky my wife and I were not to have encountered problems during the evening gig and the years we spent walking in the Gardens.

I think the comments speak for themselves.


Sad... Condolences to the bereaved family. May her soul rest in peace.

chakap chakap said...

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Trees lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, JERRY VOGEL MUSIC CO. INC


We always think that it only happens to others. Nowadays I try to avoid tree-lined roads in heavy storms but sometimes we have no choice.

SAM said...

Especially most new trees are transplanted. Don't think the roots are deep enough to hold itself up under high winds.

CamMi Pham said...

CamMi Pham

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is following this blog on TWITTER.

chakap chakap said...

From a modest beginning as part-time musicians playing covers to a grand total of four patrons in a local pub in 2002, singing duo Jack & Rai have built up their name to become one of the most popular acts in the live gig circuit.

Today, the pair are full-time artists who not only entertain crowds at nightspots, weddings and major events, but have also put out an originals-only album which spawned radio hits. Their songs are also in demand as soundtracks for local television shows as well as advertisement jingles.

Both their repertoires consisted of acoustic renditions of radio-friendly alternative rock hits by the likes of British bands Travis and Coldplay.

They both attribute their rising popularity to their set list - covers of early- to mid-2000's folksy, rock chart-toppers by the likes of Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer and Jason Mraz - which they say were favourites among their mid-20's peers.

In 2008, the pair took their biggest step out of the "covers band" tag by releasing their debut album, In Stores Now!, comprising original songs that they co-wrote themselves.

It sold moderately - about 3,000 copies - but two of the songs, The Fa La La Song and Fiona, got frequent airplay over local radio stations.

More importantly, the CD cemented their reputation as songwriters. In the wake of the album launch, the pair received multiple offers to write themes, jingles and soundtracks, including for MediaCorp television shows such as Polo Boys and Dream School.

From Straits Times Press 29.12.2014. (Edited)

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi guys,

The tree that toppled at the Gardens? It happened the day after a Valentine gig and just before the big celebration of Canada's anniversary which I wanted to attend that evening.



National Parks:

Only when a big tree in Botanical Gardens fell and killed a woman executive and injured her family over the weekend do they get off their big a--es. They came now to inform me they will cut down the tree outside as it is too tall.

I said I had written to them on this matter and they said it wasn't necessary. When do these people need a mishap before they do anything!

RC said...

Which department is responsible for ensuring that the older trees are safe and sound. Minister taking big salary so head need to roll.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Another tree toppled onto a van in Jurong and a lady was hospitalised. From channel 5 news at 9.00 pm tonight 13/2/2017

OB said...

Time to get rid of all aging trees since many were planted during Mr Lee Kuan Yew's time.

ex fried ice dude said...

like a butterfly's wings... a tree falls in 2017 feb and ripples across the ocean until feb 2018 about 2 weeks before chap goh mair , it was reported that a tsunami almost hit vancouver! like i told everyone there 5 years ago,...time to move east !!!
but they all go.. buf !!! chi cho...(eat vinegar!) because rich dudes don't move east.
anyway, a spoonful of cho is better than 50 feet of water . someone said they are preparing for it with warm clothing,etc. LOL i told them, when the tsunami hits, vancouver would be under 50 feet of water , you have to be fish to survive.

Anonymous said...

LOL, the mere mention of LKY would topple any tree for sure :D