As a botanist by training specialising in tropical ecology, I have always harboured a deep interest in nature. One of my favourite haunts was the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – a small 410 acre area of lush primary rainforest, and probably the only place in Singapore where you can see tall towering dipterocarps in all their glory. Housing over 840 species of flowering plants and 500 species of fauna together with the Central Catchment area, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve was established way back in 1883 by the British Straits Settlement government. Dr David Bellamy, a renowned conservationist, once pointed out that the number of plant species growing in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is more than that in the whole of North America! It is indeed a green jewel in our concrete jungle – a natural oasis in the hectic city.
To celebrate Shutdown Day (yes I switched off all computers and did not SMS or call for 24 hours) last week, I brought my wife and kid to Singapore’s highest hill (at a grand 164m tall) for a couple of hours in the morning.