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Monday, April 19, 2010

Chop! Chop! Chop!

Some time ago, I visited a garden at Blk467A Level 2 Multi Storey Carpark. It was a community garden with plots and planters shared amongst different residents in that HDB precinct. You registered yourself at the Residents' Council and then you were given claim to a small plot to love and to cherish.

One section of the garden was absolutely stunning. It was a ginger garden more beautiful than the one at the Botanic Gardens. Different varieties of ginger flowers in bright colours danced cheek to cheek in the wind, looking for all the world like European royalty in a masquerade ball. My friend spent $3000 to purchase the different types of gingers and he spent years nursing them till they had grown all up and were taller than the skinny tree planted by a VIP, which after planting, was just left there to languish for lack of love and tender care.

Apparently, someone decided that a nobody's gingers (purchased at great personal cost since nobodies don't earn as much as VIPs) should not be taller than some VIP's emaciated tree. Someone was sent to decapitate the poor ginger blooms and a curt explanation was proffered "Your gingers cannot be taller than the VIP's tree or else... You either trim them or WE, on behalf of VIP, will uproot them for you".

Now, that is a threat loud and clear... and in a society that aims to be gracious and kind, such threats seem out of place.

Now, amongst gardeners, there are plants... and then there are plants. Some plants are trophy plants (think sexy trophy wife). The heliconia sexy orange is such a plant. If you have it in your garden, the world looks upon you with a mixture of respect and envy... and when they train eyes on your heliconia sexy orange, they feel instant lust. Meanwhile, you can saunter around with a jaunty air knowing that you've a heliconia sexy orange waiting back home for you.

My friend's heliconia sexy orange were decapitated too. Now, how would you feel if someone decapitated your sexy trophy wife so that a VIP's ugly and emaciated mistress can grow somewhat larger, even though neglected and unloved? See photo below for what's left of the heliconia sexy orange.

Altogether, this doesn't look good on the hapless VIP (who is a member of parliament). The poor man probably has no idea that the underlings of his underlings of his underlings have committed plant violence in his name. What results however, is that residents looking after the garden at Blk467A Level 2 Multi Storey Carpark feel like they have been taken for a ride... that they have been cheated, swindled, creamed... by someone powerful.

After all, my friend (who doesn't earn very much) spent more than $10,000 of his own money to buy soil, soil enhancements, fertilisers, plants... He even bought a 200m long hose in order to water both those plants that belong to him and those plants that belong to others. Queen Eugenia would have died if not for that 200m long hose!

This manner of proceeding is most ungracious and reminiscent of the times when feudal lords held sway over the serfs on their land. My friend does not own the land he gardens upon, but they are still his plants. He put in $10,000 and countless weekends and evenings.

I think that what pained my friend the most was the way his gingers and heliconias had had their heads lopped off. A skilled gardener knows how to prune such plants and it certainly isn't done with a guillotine. If someone had even asked, my friend would have done the pruning himself. As things stand, the poor man is completely devastated.

And it is a terrible thing because the initial intent of the community garden was to bring the kampong into the HDB estate. There was supposed to be goodwill and good cheer and close camaderie. It was supposed to make Singaporeans bond and beautify the neighbourhood.

Then someone had to come and brandish a guillotine in the name of a powerful man, under the noses of ordinary people... and sow hate and discord.


Blur Ting said...

Oh my goodness! That's downright disrespectful and totaly ungracious behavoir. I am ashamed that we have people like that around!

Chawanmushi said...

Goodness gracious, Pet ... didn't know there was such a reasoning to allow such a destruction of the plants. Really feel the frustration of a fellow CGer got to undergo. Thanks for this write up and hopefully someONE will read this.

rupertstreet said...

seriously, someone should write directly to the "VIP" with the "message". Nothing is more effective than embarrassment. It's amazing there are people out there who still behave like 5 year olds. Even my dog is better behaved.

Teresa said...

VIP, VIP, VIP... really tat important meh?

u noe wat u shd do? Just uproot the VIP plant and u get rid of ALL ur woes..

I really would love to know wat the VIP would tink..

petunialee said...

I don't think the VIP has time for the eugenia oleina. The fellow probably has no clue that all this chop-chopping has taken place in his name.

Really... people shouldn't do naughty things and claim it is done on behalf of the VIP.

VIPs are people too. On each end of the social pole (VIP and poor gardener) the individuals are bewildered and hurt. It's those in the middle that should be whacked.

petunialee said...

Actually... uprooting the plant would just make things worse. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. It'll degenerate into a free for all.

There should be some dialogue. Hopefully, this blogpost will stimulate some respectful dialogue between underlings and ordinary folk.

Anonymous said...

It is totally inhumane and disrepectful to destroy other people's plants indiscriminately. Sending a threat and then lopping off their precious plants without permission is to me, akin to thugs bullying the helpless to get them off their land. :(

With power comes great responsibility (lifted from some movie of which I cannot remember the name now:P) and it is a pity to see power being abused in this way.

Very very disappointed with the human race. :(

Anonymous said...

Petunia, think it will be more helpful if pple who are not directly related to the garden write to the MP concerned. I'm 100% sure the VVIP ain't involved. So help him and help the system too by putting overbearing underlings on the right track.

petunialee said...

I did write to 2 VIPs. There were 2 of them whose names were being used in vain.

Best not to name them here and start another media frenzy.

Just to clarify. Did you mean that my friend should write to his MP? Or did you mean that someone like me should write?

Anonymous said...

Good for you to have written. I hope you got decent replies.

No, wasn't suggesting that the affected party should write, just in case underlings victimise him. However, if he's one of those who doesn't mind the possibility of hassle, he could write too of cose. It's just that I often find kicking up a fuss with officialdom abt things that affect one personally/directly may not be the best way to solve things. Rather, look for someone helpful within officialdom. Then see the magic work without causing direct confrontation and/or loss of face for the other side.

petunialee said...

I didn't get any replies. Probably, the VIPs were afraid that I would be one of those who would take their replies and broadcast etc... Not easy being a VIP these days you know.

I don't need them to reply. Hopefully, once alerted, they'll take some discreet steps and some things are set in motion...

petunialee said...

Gardenlab - The movie was Spiderman I think!!