2017
Aug
4

From Park to Jungle (and back)

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[a contribution by one of our walk participants earlier this year: Raymond Yeo]

From Park to Jungle (and back)

Raymond Yeo

instagram.com/raymondyeo.sg

I had been looking forward to this Jane’s Walk not just because I had never been to Bukit Brown, but also because it promised to be a long and leisurely walk on a Sunday afternoon, with the Bukit Timah entrance to Botanic Gardens as its starting point.

You see, I enjoy walking from Points A to B when they are fewer than 5 bus stops apart – it is cheaper than riding shared bicycles too, haha – and I occasionally take a slow walk home after visiting the civic district. So I was pleased to learn from 1 of our 2 sunny guides that we would have covered 10 kilometres on foot, give and take, by sundown. When I posed my question, we were deep inside Bukit Brown. 3 hours ago, I had linked up with the group hoping to walk off the lingering effects of a cold* and “shooting” pain in my right sole (metatarsalgia, according to WebMD.com). I
definitely got what I wanted…plus an unexpected bonus:

A timely reminder of what it means to have a calling.

You see, the most poignant moment of that day came after the walk had concluded. “Dinner, anyone?” The same guide, silver-haired, yet sprightly Claire, kindly invited everyone to join them for dinner. It was when we were making our way to the nearest but not-that- near bus stop together that the fact she had walked as much as I had and was still going strong struck me. I remember thinking my discomfort was no big deal…

Over a sumptuous 7-course set dinner at their post-walk haunt The Curry Wok (Coronation Road), Claire and Bianca as well as Darren (who had led another group because ours was oversubscribed) traded stories that illustrate as clear as day why they have kept going since 2011, sharing all things Bukit Brown with 18,000 visitors and counting! These stories featured a few visitors who had driven past Claire and another Brownie (an apt nickname) thinking they were spirits, those who ask for help to locate the graves of deceased family members mid-walk, and many who turn up for walks in “improper attire” such as hot pants and slippers. Indeed, the 500-odd words of this write-up can never do the stellar work that they have done and continue to do justice. That said, perhaps I will try again, after my next jaunt with the Brownies.

In the hallowed words of T.S. Elliot (from Four Quartets), “we shall not cease from exploration.”

Top: C J Koh Law Library, National University of Singapore | Bottom-left: Eco-Lake, Singapore Botanic Gardens | Bottom-right: A jungle path leading to…where else? [photography by: Raymond Yeo]

Top: C J Koh Law Library, National University of Singapore | Bottom-left: Eco-Lake,
Singapore Botanic Gardens | Bottom-right: A jungle path leading to…where else? [photography by: Raymond Yeo]

* I’m reminded of this riddle posed by my friend Annisa recently:

Q: Which travels faster, warmth or cold?

A: Warmth of course, because you can catch a cold!

Along with many teachers-in-training, Annisa and I studied in the same university campus more than 15 years ago, when its lush environs was home to the National Institute of Education (NIE). Claire and Bianca, thank you so much for sharing information about various buildings and points of interest that I used to know a lot less of during my NIE days – ahhh, nostalgia – before the turn of the 20th century. ^_^