In his book Youngblood Hawke, Herman Wouk wrote these words:
Death is only a sadness.
Tragedy lies in waste.
Although he was referring to the death of a young man, I think his remark applies to some extent to all living things. Those of you who are nature or animal lovers will find what you are about to read a tragedy of no small proportions.
Ever since I took up brisk walking as an exercise, I have frequently walked past a huge piece of vacant land not far from my home. Can you guess where this place is by looking at the pictures below. (Hint: This area used to be heavily wooded. A narrow and winding road once ran through it)
A short stretch of the old road still remains, though not in use
A narrow winding side road used to link to this temple
Give up? It is called Old Holland Road. It joins Ulu Pandan Road to Upper Bukit Timah Road.
About 7 or 8 years ago, they cleared this huge swathe of land – apparently for a housing project – and since then it had been lying vacant. Every time I walk past this place, I feel a certain sadness because I am reminded of Mr Wouk’s words. I think of all the hundreds, maybe even thousands of trees and shrubs which provided a habitat for countless insects, birds, lizards, snakes and squirrels that have been needlessly destroyed.
I am also reminded of an animated movie called Watership Down . Anyone of you remember this rather sad movie? It was produced in the late 70’s. The story was about a family of rabbits which were forced to leave their homes because the field they lived in was being developed for a housing project. The movie’s theme song, Bright Eyes, sung by Art Garfuunkel was also one of my favourites.
But an even greater tragedy happened here slightly more than 20 years ago. I wonder how many of my readers remember the rape and murder of a Catholic Junior College student who was jogging along this lonely stretch of road. I believe this case has not been solved up to this day. Let’s pray that the long arm of the law will catch up with the wicked perpetrator of this evil deed some day.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
Footnote: I hope none of this girl’s loved ones are reading this blog. In case they do, I apologize for stirring up sad memories.
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