Car & Parks

This is the first time in my life that I face the prospect of not ever owning a car again.

This is also the first time I kept a car for so long, all 10 years until this week when it had to be scrapped because of this one-of-a-kind scheming scheme that forces good cars off the road way before they’re broken. See my earlier post “World’s Most Expensive Cars”.

It upsets me greatly. The system promotes so much waste in this country and bitterness towards the policy makers. It generates a lot of revenue for the country though, money that’s used to build and upkeep highways and glossy spaces in this concrete jungle of sorts.

To me, a car isn’t so much of a status symbol but a mode of transport to run errands and get to places away from the hustle and bustle of our crowded over-developed cemented city home.

A home which is an artificial oasis with everything imported, a five-star state with no soul, a paradise designed by the rich for the rich. Or is it?

Completely carless and no longer able to go places sitting down, I remembered a Chinese saying Irene taught me on our Camino.

马死, 下地走 which means “when your horse dies, you must get down to the ground and start walking”.

So I did. Yesterday I walked from home to the office about 10 km away. This morning from home to Pasir Ris Park and back, 12km.

pasir-ris-beach-scene (2)

I must say it was a delightful discovery to find so many parks and park connectors. Most of the connectors are under the train tracks which provide shelter from the blistering sun. Didn’t even notice the trains running overhead to be honest. The connectors with separate walkways and cycle tracks cut through housing estates and malls, and when you don’t want to walk anymore, just hop on the train or a bus to get home.

Along the way I’m surprised to see things close up that is impossible to know of their existence when I’m driving. The parks are especially welcoming with mature evergreen trees and flowering shrubs, pockets of bird sanctuaries, local vegetable patches, exercise spaces, benches, picnic areas, bicycle kiosks and more over the other side that I’ve not explored.

Now I take everything back…about Singapore being all concrete and what not. That’s an unfair statement. Singapore is a well-planned city, so much so that we often feel uncomfortable about the impeccability of it all. That’s why we have petty rants about the absence of the odd nuances that make us feel human.

And sometimes we need to be forced to take a walk to appreciate what we have around us and not simply live life from one destination to another in the comfort of a car.

Joan Yap

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