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What are trees without leaves and branches?

by Constance Singam

What are trees without leaves?

What are trees without its branches?

Two days ago the trees in my neighbourhood looked like this.

After they have been attacked by chainsaws they look like this.

I don’t know what idiot sitting in the town council office gave the orders to trim the trees. Like so many things happening now the reaction to control is aggressive and show no bounds.

In Singapore, everything has to be controlled and disciplined. Punish the trees because they drop leaves, branches and mess up our well-ordered space. Nothing is ever allowed to grow to its full potential.

I took pictures as the trees were being cut. I was almost apoplectic at the sight. I looked around at a few men standing around asked at nobody in particular “Why are they doing this?” and the response was the leaves dirty the car. “Leaves dirty the car”!?

So for the benefit of this neighbour and the town council man who gave the orders to emasculate the trees here are some facts about trees and why they should be allowed to flourish. And I list only some of the benefits.

Research shows that within minutes of being surrounded by trees and green space, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows and your stress levels come down.

The only bright spot in our dull, characterless HDB blocks are the trees that surround it. Trees block things: Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots, and unsightly views. With the constant flow of traffic and the noise of construction, we need the trees to muffle the sound and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare.

More importantly, trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen.

It’s easy to take trees for granted. After all, it seems to the ignorant it looks like they stand around and do nothing. It was painful to watch.

To escape the ordeal of watching the trees being emasculated and the grating racket of the chainsaw I took myself off to the Orchid Show at the Botanic gardens.

They are stunning, incredibly beautiful. I have never seen such a variety of orchids.

This was first published at Ms Constance's blog and reproduced with permission