Forum: Keep beauty of Bukit Timah Hill intact

Trekkers at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, on Feb 2, 2017.
Trekkers at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, on Feb 2, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

Climbing Singapore's highest hill - or any other hill or mountain - has never been about only the destination, but the journey as well.

Mr Edwin Pang was missing the point when he lamented in his Forum letter that he was faced with an "uninspiring experience" after reaching the top of Bukit Timah Hill (Build a lookout tower at top of Bukit Timah Hill, Feb 25).

In the 30 minutes or so it takes to get to the summit, one would have encountered Singaporeans from all walks of life, seen dozens of tree species and heard the melodious calls of the many different birds known to reside there.

Even the constant cacophony of cicadas is something we do not usually experience in the urban environment we live in, and is something to enjoy.

Along the way, there are also various educational signs explaining the wondrous curiosities of the flora and fauna, and why it is important to protect and conserve them.

The effort it takes to reach the top is also a key reason for many people visiting regularly.

As the area is one of the few remaining patches of primary rainforest in Singapore, development there should be kept to a minimum. Constructing a lookout tower - and one with a cafe for no other reason than human enjoyment - would require materials and machinery to be transported up the hill.

The deep drilling required would also cause unnecessary disturbance to the animals and the surrounding greenery.

It would go against the intent of having Bukit Timah as a nature reserve in the first place.

There are plenty of other places to enjoy a cup of coffee with an unobstructed view of Singapore, such as Mount Faber and rooftop restaurants in the city.

Tan Yi Shu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2020, with the headline 'Keep beauty of Bukit Timah Hill intact'. Subscribe