As we entered the forest, we were welcomed by convoys of mosquitoes.
Thankfully, the mosquitoes left us alone for the most part as we ventured deeper into the woods, away from the river canal.
We were also greeted by a wide array of flowers, such as daisies, mimosas and morning glories.
Along the way, we saw some other wildlife, such as bees, dragonflies, baya weavers and an eagle.
Since eagles are at the top of food chains, their presence implies that there is a fairly complex ecosystem of plants, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores in the forest.
The impending destruction of Tengah forest would result in a significant loss of biodiversity in this region.
No amount of artificially created “forest” in the upcoming “forest town” would be able to replace or restore the current biodiversity.
In addition, what will happen to the baya weavers’ nests when the forest is cleared for urban development?
Wouldn’t the birds, as well as other animals, experience trauma from being displaced from their natural habitats?
History books have traditionally been written by the victors, and it is perhaps high time that the marginalised wildlife be given a voice and be heard.
At the rate things are going, it is probably not too far-fetched to imagine a dystopian future whereby Singapore will end up in some kind of self-destruction.
It is a stark future where Tengah forest will be gone, only preserved in memories, pictures and videos.
When our grandchildren and great-grandchildren look at the high-res screen showing pictures of the forest, they can only see the surface of things.
No amount of high resolution pixels can enable them to feel the earth or smell the flowers or inhale the fresh air or soak in the healing energy.
Not even virtual reality technology can recreate the actual experience of being in a real forest.
Then they will ask us why they cannot experience the forest first-hand like we once did, and we can only sigh and apologise.
“We tried to conserve the forest, but they will not listen to us. I am sorry….”
Meanwhile, the much hyped “forest town” will have become something like a “forbidden city”, where the land prices will skyrocket out of nowhere.
And only the elites and the “haves” could dwell on a piece of land that was once inhabited by wildlife and visited by nature lovers freely.