Reflections: root problem
Wee Kek Koon
The banyan trees along Tsim Sha Tsui’s Nathan Road seem to be dying, one after another. While trees don’t live forever, it would seem that the main cause of these deaths is neglect. No matter. Think of the valuable retail space freed up by yanking these economically unproductive giants up by their roots!
Hong Kong should just stop playing at heritage conservation and urban greening. Focus on what it does best – making money – and leave these non-essential diversions to other cities.
The majestic beauty of Huangshan, in Anhui province, has long been a draw for visitors. Among the attractions of this mountain range are its many pine trees, which have been identified as a separate species, Pinus hwangshanensis. Individual trees of exceptional beauty were given lyrical names, but most have died due to natural causes. One example was the pine tree Mengbi Shenghua, literally “dreaming of a flower blossoming from a writing brush”, so named because the gnarly tree stood precariously at the tip of a pointed rock, resembling a writing brush pointing skywards. The phrase refers to a story of a young Li Bai (701-762), who dreamt exactly that and subsequently became one of China’s greatest poets. Alas, Mengbi Shenghua died in the 1970s or 80s and, in true mainland fashion, a plastic replica was erected on the spot, so tourists would have the photo opportunity they came for.