Collecting red seeds a family affair for Singaporeans from three generations

The Tang family of three generations and a family friend picking up Saga seeds on Dec 28, 2020. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY
The Tang family of three generations and a family friend collected more than 200 seeds. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

SINGAPORE - Deep in concentration, the Tang family picks up saga seeds scattered on a sloping grass patch next to Block 341 Hougang Avenue 7.

Led by Ms Yvonne Tang, the five family members spanning three-generations and a family friend split themselves, aged between eight and 68, into two teams to pick up the seeds on Dec 28.

Her nephew, nine-year-old Tidus said he enjoyed the challenge of racing to pick up the most seeds, while his sister Estee, eight, simply found the bright red seeds pretty.

The group collected more than 200 seeds and plan to use them for arts and crafts or as decoration.

Holding a used plastic container filled with seeds, Ms Tang showed how the container that used to contain apples had been recycled and turned into a mask holder.

The 48-year-old project manager said that she initiated this activity on the first day of phase 3 of Singapore's reopening as they were able to gather in a larger group.

"As everybody would crowd the malls due to phase 3, this activity is something away from the crowds where we can gather as a family and do things together in a healthy way," she said.

Saga seeds come from the Adenanthera pavonina tree, also known as the saga tree.

According to the National Parks Board, the saga tree grows up to 20m in height and drops fruit pods carrying seeds every six to eight months.

The Tang family of three generations and a family friend collected more than 200 seeds and plan to use them for art and craft or as decorations. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

The inedible seeds have a uniform weight (four seeds make up 1g), which made them an ideal tool to help measure silver and gold in ancient India.

Ms Tang began collecting saga seeds more than three decades ago when her family friend Pek Lay Pheng, 50, asked her for her help to collect the seeds for a secondary school project.

Ms Tang's mother Heng Sai Keng, 68, had also collected the seeds as a child.

"It is an easy form of exercise for the kids and my mother, though it can be quite strenuous because you have to bend over and squint your eyes as well. So after 15 minutes, you will feel a light kind of strain that shows you have exercised. And because there's a slight slope, it trains up our leg muscles," said Ms Tang, who rekindled her love for collecting the seeds when she moved to her flat in Hougang five years ago.

"It's especially fun when the whole family gets together and we form this kind of healthy competition to race and motivate each other."

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