Punggol's #instagramtree finally felled

Workers prepare to remove Punggol's famous #instagramtree on Dec 16, 2015.
Workers prepare to remove Punggol's famous #instagramtree on Dec 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: YUEN SIN
Workers removing Punggol's famous #instagramtree on Dec 16, 2015.
Workers removing Punggol's famous #instagramtree on Dec 16, 2015.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A stump is all that remains of the famous tree.
A stump is all that remains of the famous tree.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Sitting atop a small hill in Punggol is a lone tree that has graced many an Instagram photo, often silhouetted against a backdrop of a flaming sunset or a pastel-hued dawn.

On Wednesday (Dec 16), a small crowd gathered at Punggol Waterway Park to bid goodbye to the popular tree, dubbed the "Punggol Lone Tree" or #instagramtree.

Before noon, a group of workers cordoned off the area near the tree as they prepared to cut it down. They started removing the branches at about 12.30pm. Within 15 minutes, the tree was gone.

Sales assistant Tan Siew Kheng, 58, was among those who headed down to Punggol to catch a last glimpse of the tree. "I feel quite pained to see the tree being cut down, it's quite a waste as it's such a picturesque spot. But at least I've taken a video of it as a souvenir," she said.

Citing public safety concerns, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said last Friday (Dec 11) that the tree had to be removed as parts of it had been falling off without warning.

 

Since then, members of the public had been making the journey to Punggol to see the tree in its last days.

The tree, which belongs to the fast-growing Albizia species originating from eastern Indonesia, was struck by lightning in July and lost half of its branches. The HDB said that arborists had had checked the tree earlier this month, and certified that it was dead.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_UgqXTvJuw/?taken-by=dearadear https://www.instagram.com/p/_NyjxozFOq/?taken-by=sheisesthershe

Over 1,711 posts have been tagged #instagramtree on Instagram, with most of them showing the Punggol tree. The tree, marooned on a piece of state land atop a small hill, is so famous that it even shows up on Google Maps as "Punggol Lone Tree".

Another tree located next to the Punggol Lone Tree has been cheekily geo-tagged by a few online users as "The Tree That Tried".

"Hopefully the authorities would be able to leave a placard at the spot where the tree once stood to memorialise it," said student Justin Huang, 17. "It is quite rare to come across something like this in Singapore."