Planting a Greener Aljunied-Hougang Town
On a sunny Boxing Day morning, Workers’ Party parliamentarians were seen “working the ground”, literally, at a park in Aljunied-Hougang Town.
On 26 December 2015, Aljunied GRC MPs, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao and Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, together with NCMPs Leon Perera and Dennis Tan, were seen using hoes and watering cans to prepare the ground at a park in Hougang Avenue 1 for the planting of tree saplings.
Ten tree saplings of the Sterculia parviflora (a species of plant in the Sterculiaceae family, also known locally as ‘kelumpang burung’) were planted by the MPs, NCMPs and residents. This indigenous tree was chosen as it grows fast, is of hardy stock and easy on maintenance. When fully grown, it sprouts brilliant orange or red velvety seed pods with large black seeds that attract birds (hence, the name ‘kelumpang burung’ meaning ‘shell bird’).
A grassroots initiative of MP Chen Show Mao, tree-planting has been a feature of Aljunied GRC’s Paya Lebar division since 2011. According to Mr Chen, tree-planting is a big part of the “Paya Lebar Clean & Green” campaign, which had been freshly launched in 2015. 25 trees had been planted in 2015 and there are plans to plant more trees in 2016 and beyond, so as to create a greener and more shaded Aljunied-Hougang Town.
Singapore has come a long way from the first Tree Planting Day held on 7 November 1971 when a rain tree was planted on the summit of Mount Faber. Subsequent Tree Planting Days were held at the start of the rainy season in November in order to minimise watering. The 20th and last Tree Planting Day was held in 1990. With its end came the first Clean and Green Week (CGW) which aims to promote awareness and appreciation for a clean and green environment. Since CGW is meant to be a community-based campaign, residents are always invited to be a part of the tree-planting activities in Paya Lebar division.
Events have also been organised by the Paya Lebar grassroots to share with residents on the importance of planting trees and taking good care of them. All these efforts aim to raise awareness amongst residents of the importance of keeping Singapore clean and green, and to encourage residents to take ownership of public property through a heightened sense of civic-consciousness.
MP Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap gave a thumbs-up when he finished planting a tree sapling. He quipped, “Planting the tree sapling is akin to playing a part in the country’s developmental journey. Planting the sapling is only the beginning. Just as the sapling needs water and sunlight, and lots of tender loving care to transform into a full-grown mature tree that provides shade and enjoyment to all, my colleagues and I, as newly re-elected parliamentarians, together with our NCMPs, will continue to do our utmost best, in and outside of parliament, for the interest of all Singaporeans.”
Did You Know?
- Singapore’s newly-acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, is home to a 6-hectare plot of the only primary rainforest left in Singapore, pre-dating 1859.
- More plant species could be found in Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve than in the whole of North America.
- The rain tree, a very common sight on Singapore’s streetscape, is not native to Singapore. This South American tree was introduced to Singapore by the colonial administration in the 19th century as a shade-providing tree due to its umbrella-shaped canopy.