This website was created with the aim of generating greater awareness of JLS (Jin Long Si Temple) and the biggest and oldest Bodhi tree in Singapore, and the bleak future they would face if nothing is done to save them.
Jin Long Si Temple houses something very special that represents living Buddhist heritage. It is none other then the biggest and oldest Bodhi Tree in Singapore.
However, on 20th January 2003, URA issued a compulsory land acquisition order to acquire the plot of land belonging to JLS as part of URA's redevelopment plan for Circle Line Stage 3 construction. If nothing is done, both JLS and the Bodhi tree will have to make way for redevelopment in 2007.
Nature Society and National Parks Board have verified the age of the tree and have in fact recommended the tree be preserved as a Heritage Tree.
According to Heritage Tree expert Wong Yew Kuan, the roots of the Bodhi tree and JLS have become so intertwined that saving one means that you have to save the other and "any land development at the tree's location has a high likelihood of causing soil movement and undue strees to the tree roots."
Located at the heart of busy Orchard Road, SMU is Singapore's latest University. During the construction of the university, admirable efforts were made to preserve numerous mature trees in Bras Basah Park. Among the mature trees being preserved is a 70-year old Bodhi tree which currently sits at the heart of the parkland.
These far-sighted actions by the management of SMU shows that preservation of old heritage and modern development can go hand in hand and in fact complement each other. These old mature trees adds to SMU's appeal. In the same way, we hope URA would help preserve Jin Long Si Temple and the 100-year old Bodhi tree as we believe that the preservation of these heritages does not clash with redevelopment effort. Preserving these heritages can, in fact, add to Singapore's appeal and diversity.
Click on the two links below to find out more about SMU's effort to preserve its matured trees:
View it on YouTube
"Old trees are very potent symbols of contunuity. They are not only living embodiments of our history and heritage; they also inspire hope for the future"
- Dr Geh Min, Chairman of Nature Society
“The Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa) at Lorong How Sun must be one of, if not the, most regal example of this species in Singapore. At least on paper, the exercise is fairly straightforward – the tree sits on land that is slated for extensive redevelopment, and therefore it may be deemed necessary to cut it down. However, one look at a tree of such majesty, and moreover one that has been an important part of the lives of so many people, must surely render the decision to cut it tinged with some regret and sadness. As they develop, trees become intertwined with the landscape and the people of a particular place, and become an important component of the area’s history.”
“The Bodhi Tree roots have over the last century or so positioned at various angles into the slope where the tree and temple are situated to create the natural equilibrium to support the tree. Any land development at the location of the tree has a high likelihood of causing soil movement and undue stress to the tree roots resulting in the tree losing its natural balance. ”
“The bodhi tree somehow is fortuitously situated at the southern edge of the temple site, separating the site from the adjoining state land which is earmarked for residential development.
In view of the situation, I feel the authorities ought to re-consider whether it is necessary to amalgamate the temple site with the state land for redevelopment, especially when the temple site is miniscule (constituting less than 5% of the size of the adjoining state land) and the ground level of the temple site is well elevated above the general level of the state land. The situation of the Chinese temple adjacent to the places of worship of other religions could be a showcase of the harmonious relationship enjoyed by a multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-lingual population in a uniquely Singapore nation.”
“As the Temple is in a unique location proximate to other religious buildings for many decades it provides a marvelous example of harmonious multi-religious and multi-ethnic Singapore. Preserving the Temple at the present location will have an insignificant effect on the proposed comprehensive residential development which has been ear-marked for the adjoining state land. He hopes that the government will accede to the requests of the Temple devotees to reconsider the compulsory acquisition of the Temple land since the Temple land will not affect any public infrastructure development in any respect whatsoever." He added,” It will be a pity if, in our desire for technical perfection, we erase all vestiges of a bygone Singapore that many still cherish fondly as part of our heritage. Suppose the Temple land is left untouched, what is the deleterious effect, if any, on the government's plan for comprehensive housing development in the area?"
“The Temple has rendered very significant contributions to the Braddell Heights CCC, CCMC and RC over the years. They have participated in many of our events organized by our CCC, CCMC and RC, and have also contributed significantly in funds and manpower to our activities. The Temple and their representatives have been very supportive of our grassroots organizations and have also rendered great assistance to many needy people in the community in their sterling charitable spirit to help the poor, the infirmed and the sick. The government should give due consideration to their appeal to preserve the Temple at the existing location since their continual presence will not have any effect on the government’s plans to develop the adjoining state land, in any respect whatsoever. The government has been encouraging community bodies and organizations to develop the “gotong royong” spirit, and here is one fine example of a charitable organization which has been doing such good charitable work for the last 60 odd years. I would urge the government to kindly accede to their appeals.”