Forum: More restrictive nature laws may lead to a sterile environment, Forum News & Top Stories

Ms Sharon Szto Hwei Fung’s letter (Nothing like exploring nature for oneself, so please don’t restrict access, June 19) struck a chord with me.

She said she is “saddened at the thought of Singapore going down the road of restriction, legislation and more physical barriers to getting close to nature”.

A decade ago, I was able to visit the Istana Woodneuk with my young nephews. We went there to explore the dilapidated palace.

They were excited to see a century-old istana that was still standing, with creepers growing on the roof.

Today, if you alight at the bus stop in Holland Road near the site, you are confronted by a big signboard that says “no trespassing”.

I grew up in Singapore in the 1940s. In the 1950s, I used to visit Labrador Park with my fellow scouts during the school vacation and we used to camp near the sandy beach. Today there is a fence to prevent the public from gaining access to the beach.

At low tide, this beach was full of crabs, clams and starfish. Today, children can only gaze at the sea creatures on a boardwalk and there is no opportunity to feel and hold the sea creatures.

I used to visit Bidadari Cemetery and Bukit Brown Cemetery. I saw the oriental whip snake and collected seeds from the saga tree. Today, Bidadari Cemetery has been replaced by flats, and part of Bukit Brown Cemetery has been replaced by the Lornie Highway.

Yes, Singapore has come a long way in its social progress and development, but I fear that the next generation will face a sterile environment should more restrictive laws be enacted.

Heng Cho Choon