LKY100 tree-planting initiatives all around Jurong-Clementi

by Our Neighbourhood
LKY100 tree-planting initiatives all around Jurong-Clementi

To commemorate LKY100, Jurong-Clementi Town Council organised an array of tree-planting ceremonies that celebrates the contribution and foresight of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister.

It was in 1963 that Mr Lee Kuan Yew hosted Singapore’s very first tree-planting campaign in hopes of creating an urban landscape that can seamlessly incorporate Singapore’s flourishing organic life. This has set a strong precedent in Township planning, so much so that the community celebrates “Tree Planting Day” as an annual tradition.

This year’s series of tree-planting ceremonies pay tribute to the man who cultivated the vibrancy and harmony that the nation enjoys today.

Clementi: Building a generational legacy on top of a flourishing garden city

It was a vibrant morning for Dr Tan Wu Meng and his constituents at Block 333 Clementi Avenue 2

The fields facing Pei Tong Primary School were teeming with enthusiastic tree planters in the wee hours of the morning of 24 June 2023. Most noticeably, however, was the congregation of PCF Sparkletots pupils who were in attendance.

Helmed by Dr Tan Wu Meng, MP for Jurong GRC, this occasion remained true to Singapore’s dedication to the themes of sustainability and organic growth. By involving young students, it reminded participants that each generation’s work in greening Singapore is about building a tomorrow that current and future generations can be proud of.

He prefaced the event with a fundamental yet critical question: “Why do we plant trees?”

“We want a Singapore that is greener and cooler. The trees will grow tall and strong, just like our young kids who will eventually grow up. We plant trees because we want a future that is better for our young,” said Dr Tan. He also stressed the importance of multiculturalism, a notion that has been reiterated time and time again by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the founding generation of Singapore’s leaders. In each generation, as children play together, build friendships together, grow up together, that racial and religious harmony is strengthened and reforged — building harmony, amidst our different paths and different journeys.

Yuhua: Committing to a greener future

Ms Grace Fu stresses on the importance of environmental preservation at Jurong East Street 13

Despite a downpour in the wee hours on 1 July 2023, the enthusiasm of 120 residents remained unwavering as they gathered with Ms Grace Fu, MP for Yuhua SMC, for the LKY100 tree-planting event. She told residents that Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was a firm believer in environmental protection and sustainability, had rejected investments from companies whose activities would have caused damage to the local environment.

“When I was a young MP assigned to Yuhua, Mr Lee Kuan Yew assured me that residents in Jurong would be able to live in a clean and green environment with no pollutants, even though Jurong is an industrial town,” said Ms Fu. She planted Cratoxylum formosum (Jack) Dyer, which is also the same tree planted by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore’s inaugural tree-planting ceremony in 1963. strengthening the significance of the tree-planting initiative’s history. When the tree is in full bloom, it will spot a crown of light pink flowers nestled among a flush of reddish foliage.

When the rain subsided, a rainbow soon formed, reminding her of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his many contributions to Singapore’s greening endeavours.

Jurong Central: A new pop-up garden comprising lush trees and wooden benches crafted by residents

Mr Xie rallies his constituents to do their part for the environment at 497 Jurong West Street 41

On 30 July 2023, Mr Xie Yao Xuan, MP for Jurong GRC, led 150 enthusiastic residents to partake in the LKY100 tree-planting event. The group planted 15 trees and 500 vibrant shrubs, transforming the once bare area into a flourishing green space. Resident Ms Aileen Tan, a sculptor, carved 12 wooden benches shaped as various animals that were installed at the site.

According to Mr Xie, the objective is to transform the open field into a mini pop-up garden and turn it into a new community living space. Three different tree species, including Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers, Dendrolobium umbellatum Aurea and Cratoxylum formosum (Jack) Dyer, were planted at the event.

Ms Aida was glad that her children, who were there for the first time, had the opportunity to be part of the greening experience. “Through this event, they learnt the steps of how to plant a tree, and they told me that they will take care of the tree they had helped to plant,” she said.

Bukit Batok: Beautifying our communal landscapes with organic greenery

Residents gathered at 190-193 Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 to hear Mr Murali Pillai’s impassioned call for a flourishing garden city.

Planting trees helps to reduce global warming and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, explained Mr Murali Pillai, MP for Bukit Batok SMC, as he fronted a tree-planting ceremony on 19 August 2023 with a group of young residents.

Madam Lala, who attended the event, was incredibly pleased that her two daughters were able to learn the fundamentals of tree-planting, such as its process and basic watering. Her husband, Mr Nazri, enjoys walking around the neighbourhood and was incredibly excited to see more trees. “The green colour in plants can help calm our eyes and make them relax,” he said.

Bukit Batok East: A sustainable future for all

Madam Rahayu recalls Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s founding principles with her constituents at 240 Bukit Batok East Avenue 5

Fifty eager residents comprising parents and young kids gathered at Block 240 Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 at 8am on 19 August 2023 to join Madam Rahayu Mahzam, MP for Jurong GRC, in a commemorative tree-planting ceremony. A tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s inspired vision of a garden city, the event was a reminder that the nation’s greening initiatives can only flourish when people work together collectively, ages and backgrounds notwithstanding. The residents planted 10 trees with Madam Rahayu, including the Pink Mempat and Pink Cassia.

“This is how we do things in Singapore. Our values, our efforts are centred on building a sustainable future for our community and young ones. So I think it’s very important and very meaningful that our children are joining us today. We are all living in this estate, this community. So to the young ones, when you grow up and one day you pass by the trees, you will remember and say, ‘Hey, there’s the tree that I planted,’” said Madam Rahayu.

Taman Jurong: A unifying love for the environment and the future

An abundance of happy faces at Block 116 Ho Ching Road as residents join Mr Shawn Huang to plant trees.

At the open space in front of Blk 116 Ho Ching Road, located near Jurong Lake Gardens, Mr Shawn Huang, MP for Jurong GRC, is joined by 50 people, among them PCF students, their families and residents, for the LKY100 Tree Planting event on 11 November 2023.

In his opening address, Mr Huang said that now is the best time to plant a tree for future generations to enjoy its shade. “When the Jurong Lake Gardens first opened around eight years ago, the trees were much smaller and shorter. But today, you can see the flourishing flowers, shrubs, trees and fauna. And that’s really like how we built Singapore to be a multi-religious and multicultural society. Just like a garden, making sure that not just the big and tall trees exist, but we also look into the co-existence of the undergrowth, grooming flowers, fauna and biodiversity so that everyone can come together,” he said.

Paying tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the 100th anniversary of his birth, Mr Huang said tree planting events align with Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s vision of a clean and green garden city that is built on sustainable fiscal policies and way of life. Mr Huang proceeded to plant six Gymnostoma sumatranum trees with needle-like twigs and a soft, bushy appearance with the residents.

Resident Mr Mohd Aliff, who came with his son, is happy that his family can contribute a tree to the community. “Planting more trees helps to reduce the temperature and provide shade for the community,” he said.

Mr Pepsi Zewet said his daughter enjoyed watering the tree and tilling the soil around it. “Planting more trees will bring fresher air and make the whole estate look greener and beautiful,” he said. A nature lover, he enjoys jogging around the estate and bringing his family to Jurong Lake Gardens for a weekend walk. “Seeing all this greenery makes me feel relaxed and happy.”

Seeing new buildings sprouting around her, school teacher Madam Prema wants her children to learn the importance of planting more trees in an urban built environment. “My kids learnt how to use the spade to plant a tree, and they also learnt how to put the shrubs into the soil. Having more trees can help to reduce the amount of toxic fumes that we inhale from vehicles,” she said. “After staring at the computer the whole day, looking at greenery helps to reduce eye strain and stress.”