Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Friday, September 09, 2005

Autumn is Early

The days of my favourite time, summer, are numbered. Autumn, which officially begins 21 September, is edging its way in and muscling out the sun.

But somewhere in Courcival, at my friend's chateau in the Sarthe, autumn has already begun... as the 50 chestnut trees in the alley have already started losing their leaves three weeks earlier. Because they are diseased, and just too expensive to treat. It makes my friend sick, and feel the melancholy of autumn, to think they will be gone from the alley in a few years' time.

It makes me sick to read about it too, because they've been there for almost 200 years, planted by his ancestor when he returned after the revolution. Each individual tree has its own wonderful fragrance. Soon they will be gone, like the apple trees that have been felled recently - all because they were too old to maintain.

When the apple trees were cut, it was not just the trees that were destroyed, but a beautiful view from the chateau library's window at sunset. The window, the trees, and the sun were all aligned to the West so the sun would spread its glowing colours over the impeccably white flowers blossoming on the apple trees in spring.

Somewhere in modern, season-less Singapore, the special fragrance produced by the trees lining the path opposite the French Embassy (at Botanic Gardens) is already gone with the demolition of the trees - to make way for an MRT station smack in the middle of the garden.

Yes, they are going to have an MRT station inside the garden - which city has that?! You may have a station near or across the garden, (as in Paris or London) but never inside - as if it's part of the landscape! Jogging at Botanic Gardens now is like jogging through a construction site... and in future, it will be like jogging along Orchard Road.

I am no puritan. But an MRT station - with screeching trains, cranking ticketing machines, billboards of half naked women in Triumph push-up bras and commercial shop spaces selling fast food and fashion items - to invade the tranquil ponds and swans at the gardens! This is heresy.

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