The Southern Ridges

Yesterday I ran to the top of Mount Faber without stopping on my fourth try. Fourth try! I’m really out of shape. At 106 meters (348 ft), Mount Faber is one of the higher hills in Singapore. It is part of the Southern Ridges, a trek through nature established and maintained lovingly by National Parks Board.

From Mount Faber, you could run, or walk, to Telok Blangah Green and then to HortPark, a one-stop gardening resource center. There in the orderly park you could run into Ralph Waldo Emerson, or at least his words. He tells us still that “The earth laughs in flowers.” As is characteristic of the American philosopher and writer, the words are unforgettable. Flowers appeal to our eyes and nose. They can even be touched and eaten. But heard? As bursts of laughter from the earth? So they are.

I have the good fortune to meet many flowers of Singapore on this visit. Even in this carefully manicured place, nature works its surprising magic. A younger queer poet who defies good taste by dwelling hungrily on the prepuce of Christ. A literary scholar who wants to chart the cultural exchanges and transformations in the Islamicate world to find a way of talking about Islam without referring to theology solely. A teacher who left his profession to set up a cafe called Populace. A lawyer who left his big law firm to adjudicate heartrending family court cases.

And most surprising, perhaps, the bursts of laughter that still emit from the treasure of an old climbing vine. A well-loved independent publisher who has retired, only to help a friend create from scratch an on-line platform for the printing and distribution of books that looks set to change the game in Singapore. Nature finds a way not only to grow but also to renew. There is hope yet that I will run without stopping the entire Southern Ridges, all the way to the Labrador Nature Reserve.

 

Jee Leong Koh

 

 

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9 Responses to “The Southern Ridges”

  • Rabble-rouser:

    A bit naive type of narrative here! Practically everything in S’pore were man-made, artificially constructed & lavishly maintained at great cost to the population & at great risk to the environment, to nature. Yes, we’re paying through our nose to showcase that S’pore is wealthy, a modern metropolis with skyscrapers & a clean, green eco-system to the world. BUT ALL THAT ARE FAKE, CONSTRUCTED AT GREAT COST USING OUR CPF!
    S’pore mobilised an army of Bangla workers every day to clean & sweep, maintain hygiene & trim, manicure every tree, bush & shrub – all paid from people’s contributions & “blood, sweat & tears”.
    In truth, S’pore isn’t in synch with Nature! It is anti-nature in reality. A small geographical area whose footprint is horrendously overpopulated. A high carbon polluted eco-system with massive & intensive high-rise buildings requiring high electricity outputs to run various services; & water concerns (requiring destination solutions) in the tropics where rainfalls are more than adequate.
    In addition, S’pore economy are so finely tilted towards materialism & money-chasing schemes with no respite. You can’t even stand still in S’pore, costs constantly goes up, foreigners steal your meals & everything is so unaffordable! Even old people are encouraged to work till they die from exhaustion. Life in S’pore is just like squeezing the last drop of toothpaste from a depleted tube. The idyllic thought of seeking a slower pace of life or finding another career path is a pipe dream for S’poreans. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE NOR ANY LIFE MENU SELECTION HERE – YOU HAVE TO WORK TO PAY THE BILLS!
    S’pore isn’t even a dream anymore but is a nightmare!
    And 10 million population target is real! It boggles the mind as to how congested will S’pore be considering how congested it is now @ 5.5 million current population. Can we even get there when automation & robotics are replacing humans in the workforce.

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  • Too Chim!:

    Hello Mr Koh, this is not a Poetry Club. I believe you are a prolific writer but what you have written is too “chim” for me. BTW, I don’t think anyone is interested to know whether you walk, crawl or run up Mt Faber. Please be relevant.

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  • So???:

    What is your point???

    It does not mention pap demise or the toppling of pap or the growing strength of OPPO alliance. Simply a waste of time.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    So???:
    What is your point???

    It does not mention pap demise or the toppling of pap or the growing strength of OPPO alliance. Simply a waste of time.

    bro don’t blame him lah!!!…it is TRE who post it similarly the regular posting of Ahhh!!! Tan kl and the cynical asshole leh!!! cool it and enjoy the other postings especially Brad & Ken plus a couple of Good Contributors unlike the useless CONtributors trying to draw attention to themselves of Blogs that no one goes to

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  • Harder Truths:

    You need to mention all these facilities and great works of civil infrastructure were carried out using public monies at lowest cost, plus are demanded to do a lot of extra works for nothing.

    This is how $G really works – ask any contractor or government supplier how they get cheated and there is nothing they can do about it. This is why are there so many FT contractors nowadays.

    And the reason for all this Great Works of Public Goodness? To create comfort living for the Foreign Talent who are the real owners of this island.

    Locals are too busy just trying to survive day-today, pay house bills and hospital bills. Worry about children and old parents. Do we have any time or money to enjoy these Great Works of Public Goodness?

    No matter – the FT will surely appreciate what was made for them. Every FT knows $G locals are expendable and that our lives have no real meaning.

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  • MountFoolery:

    Rabble adequately conceptualized the price a typical inhabitant has to shoulder to transform dirt led profit, pleasure and glory up the mount of foolery.

    The people want it, the leaders are all too happy to ride/rule on mount dirt over the people

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  • tan kin lian brainless:

    Too Chim!:
    Hello Mr Koh, this is not a Poetry Club. I believe you are a prolific writer but what you have written is too “chim” for me. BTW, I don’t think anyone is interested to know whether you walk, crawl or run up Mt Faber. Please be relevant.

    So???:
    What is your point???

    It does not mention pap demise or the toppling of pap or the growing strength of OPPO alliance. Simply a waste of time.

    Probably belongs to tan kin lian club. All useless talk not one jolt towards toppling pap or forming New Government or indicting pap clown and wife for abuse of S$m positions in gic temasick.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Rabble-rouser

    HIGH DENSITY TALL STRUCTURE LIVING are deadly fire traps and expensive to maintain of waste disposal and general maintenance.

    You also get super gridlock of traffic access and congestion entry/exit to car parks.

    IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE OF ECONOMIC FUNCTIONING. PAPpynomic Population Recycling Economics is destined to fail spectacularly – forget AI displacing jobs/income opportunities for all.

    Rabble-rouser: And 10 million population target is real! It boggles the mind as to how congested will S’pore be considering how congested it is now @ 5.5 million current population. Can we even get there when automation & robotics are replacing humans in the workforce

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    @ oxygen:
    Mate! Jakarta is exactly what you’ve described. It is sinking at a tremendous rate because of:
    * too many people (high population density);
    * too many tall structures adding weight onto the ground;
    * underground water table depleting as people draw out water at a tremendous rate; &
    * supergridlock of traffic & people congestion everywhere.
    Parts of Jakarta would be underwater 30 years from now. Indonesian President Jokowi is trying to shift govt bodies out of Jakarta into another new capital city which would be expanded to ease the pressures off Jakarta.

    And Indonesia’s problems can be resolved because:
    * they have great land masses; &
    * Jakarta is part of a hinterland.
    Unlike Jakarta, S’pore has no such options after we have reached environmental & ecological damage while facing economic discontinuities from a changed global economic situation.

    Population Recycling Economics creates:
    * it’s own ecological problems with huge waste generation & dependency on food, water & energy;
    * geotechnical issues like ground movements causing structural damage, ground sinking even sinkholes, greater incidence of flash floods on heavy rains, flooding from king tides, water ingress into basements, etc; &
    * great potential (with population overflow, foreign agitation) for social unrest, rioting & securities breaches to the contrary (legislation, surveillance but inadequate policing) because HK & Paris were already setting the stage & emboldened their masses for the rest of the world to follow re: displaced jobs/no income opportunities/no future vs. bankrupt politics.

    And AI/Automation couple with a long trade war might be just the catalyst!

    oxygen:
    @ Rabble-rouser

    HIGH DENSITY TALL STRUCTURE LIVING are deadly fire traps and expensive to maintain of waste disposal and general maintenance.

    You also get super gridlock of traffic access and congestion entry/exit to car parks.

    IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE OF ECONOMIC FUNCTIONING. PAPpynomic Population Recycling Economics is destined to fail spectacularly – forget AI displacing displacing jobs/income opportunities for all.

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