Park Portraits: Botanic Gardens

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Traipsing from one of the Botanic Gardens to the other on a balmy Wednesday afternoon may not sound like a good idea for leisure to most. Yet that was exactly what I did yesterday. Admittedly it was daunting getting lost in one of the myriad mini-gardens on my way from the Bukit Timah Gate to the Cluny Road entrance, but at the times where I could slow down and relax, the picturesque tropical vegetation looming on both sides of the cobbled paths that wind their way through the park seemed to put me under a drowsy spell with its beauty. Visitors were few and far between, appearing suddenly from around bends in the path and going on their own way with seemingly purposeless strides. But wherever you get a park, you’ll be bound to find nature-lovers and other people with good hearts. At least, that was what I learnt from the conversations I’d been fortunate enough to have with some individuals I chanced upon while walking.

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Serene (left), Isabella (middle) and their mum

I saw these three as I was walking away from the Symphony Stage, addressing Isabelle’s worries about a doctor’s kit for her little companion Annabelle in a pink toy pram. After some coaxing, they finally managed to get the little girl to look into the camera. The older girl in this picture really inspired me, to be honest, in how she patiently tagged along by her sister as they were walking and took the initiative to help her open her water bottle and prevent her from straying off the path. It’s people like these that add so much joy and meaning to what I do.

Mum: “The park is very quiet on weekdays, isn’t it–Singaporeans seldom come to parks. They don’t know how to enjoy them. We like to come here just to walk around, but not on weekends! Too crowded. Serene is 17, Isabella is 2 1/2 years old; quite a big age difference. I didn’t really plan to have another child; I feel Isabella is God’s blessing. Their relationship is going to be quite different from other siblings as they grow up, because it’s going to be the elder sister who’s always looking after her. Young children remind us that life is meant to be carefree, so it’s nice to have a reminder of that. Of course life will always have its worries, but you can be carefree if you know how to deal with them.”

Serene: “I try to be a good older sister. I don’t really think about my career prospects; I think the most important thing is to stay curious and continue learning. My favourite thing about my sister…. She’s innocent. She’s pure. She knows how to enjoy the moment.”

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Not in picture: boots.

Cody the Corgi with Boots (2-yr-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi) with his human

“We got Cody from Taiwan; most Corgis here come from Australia. Our family has a history with Corgis, so we decided to get him. He’s our second attempt at a dog. Our first dog was quite aggressive because we didn’t really train him properly, but we still loved him. He passed on at 16. So now we make sure we do things right with this dog. We bring him here once or twice a day; if it rains we bring him out in the morning. He has a collar, but we use a harness so we don’t hurt his neck. Sometimes he wears boots to protect his feet, because his feet get rashes when he steps on cleaning agents on the floor. The cleaning agents around our area are quite strong especially. My favourite thing about him… would have to be his personality. He’s very cheeky. Mischievous.”

Cody even has his own Facebook page and Instagram account!

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