Yesterday was the 15th day of CNY. Chinese celebrate CNY for 15 days and yesterday marked the formal closure of CNY. No more lion dancing in the coffeeshops, residences or other establishments. No more collection of red packets. I spent my last day of CNY in an interesting place – a “beer garden” created by my innovative friend Rodney. I received an invitation to visit his beer garden few days ago. He insisted that I pay him a visit. Together with Enche, we made our way there around 8pm last night.
When Enche and I reached the dimly lit carpark at Blk 171 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 on my nearly 10-year old bike, we could see the radiantly lighted enclosure. I told Enche it should be the beer garden Rodney was talking about. True enough, we found Rodney and few of his neighbors sitting at one end inside the fenced-up enclosure enjoying his beer chit-chatting kampung style! I was impressed with the set-up. Many questions came to my mind. But first let us – Enche and myself explore the surroundings with some photo shots.
According to Rodney, it’s a 50 feet by 20 feet fenced-up enclosure right below his flat gifted by Yishun Town Council. Three and half months ago, the town council merely handed over an empty enclosure with a gate to him and his partner (neighbor). It’s to be used for gardening purposes. Water is free flow from the tap at the void deck using a long rubber hose. Rodney tapped the electricity from his 2nd floor flat giving lights and radiance to the otherwise dark garden.
How did it come about? Did he apply to the town council for such a facility? I told him for the 90% of us living in HDB flats, it’s an unheard luxury to get such a big plot of land for gardening. Only those living on landed property enjoy such luxury. The best part is that it’s free. No need to pay anything for such a big plot of land to do whatever gardening he wishes. It’s indeed a surprise to learn that my good friend Rodney who is 12 yrs older than me spending so much time and effort on the garden to keep fit on his retirement years and getting immense satisfaction out of it. He has single handedly turned an empty plot of land into an impressive garden of labour and love. It’s a monument of his love for nature and outdoor with endless toil and sweat!
Rodney told me that his place used to come under AMK Town Council. During the last election, it suddenly came under Yishun Town Council. Before AMK, it was Yishun and now it swings back to Yishun again. Yup it’s quite confusing swinging to and fro whenever there is an election. Anyway, his partner and the neighbors used to plant some flowers on that plot of land. AMK Town Council would remove and get rid of those plants and flowers painstakingly cultivated those residents. The residents would plant again and those people from the town council would also destroy them again. The tug of war went on for quite some time until those residents couldn’t take it anymore.
It so happened that some time last year, Rodney’s neighbor met the MP of the area, Henry Kwek who was on his weekend rounds at Mayflower hawker centre and market opposite their place. The neighbor let go his pent-up frustrations and complained bitterly to the MP by relating how their painstakingly cultivated flowers and plants by the residents were willfully destroyed by the town council. Henry Kwek listened sympathetically and told Rodney’s neighbor to give him 3 days to come up with a solution. The neighbor told me that he met the MP in the morning and by afternoon on the same day, a phone call came to him to say that they would be given that piece of land to plant whatever they wish!
In Rodney’s word, they have “prayed to the correct Tua Peh Kong” to get rid of senseless minions!
Needless to say the residents of the area were delighted. Now they have got an official plot of land to build their dreamed garden. True enough after three and half months, that empty plot of land is turned into a green piece of sanctuary amidst those concrete blocks of flats. When I entered the cosy enclosure, I could feel the fresh luxuriant greens and natural flagrance from the flowering plants with sounds of joyous Japanese carps swimming in the little pond. Little windmills and twirling morning glory creeping around the fencing greeted me as I entered the curved walkway towards the end of the little green sanctuary to take my seat with nearby residents gathered around there welcoming me. Their pride and satisfaction indeed! I could sense the kampung spirit and camaraderie amongst the residents gathered there.
When I examined the little garden closely, I could see the painstaking effort with much sweat and toil in creating such an impressive garden within such a short space of time – three and half months to be exact. Amongst my circle of friends, Rodney never failed to impress me with his ingenuity and resourcefulness in converting discarded rubbish into something of value. Everything – the racks, poles, ceiling, table etc within the garden is re-cycled from unwanted waste! I’ve ever blogged about him here.
Rodney – the prime motivator of the garden has big plans. He’s experimenting with many types of plants on the piece of barren land. He said that the ground is not so conducive to planting. He’ll need to pump in lots of fertilizers to grow his plants such as Chye Sim.
I suggested to him that he should plant sour soup cuz it’s so much easier and also they sell like gold in the market due to it’s anti-cancer properties. When I was a child living in a kumpung, there were sour soup trees all over the place. Now, those sour soup fruits are imported from Malaysia and they cost a bomb. He told me he already planted 3 saplings and he’s an expert on that.
The little garden is named “Hill Top Garden”. Enche and myself left the beautiful garden around 10.30pm after spending two and half hours there. Given time, by next CNY, Hill Top Garden should be much better than now. We wish them luck and success.