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.