Arguments over Durian Trees in Singapore

Singapore flat residents involved in a thorny issue

Thursday June 21, 2012

SINGAPORE: A durian tree in Moulmein Road, Singapore, became a thorn in relations among residents of a HDB block of flats nearby when fights ensued over who could claim the fruits.

The Straits Times reported that the dispute began three years ago when a resident, known only as Chua, said he was just looking at the tree when another resident, R. Lim, shouted at him to stay away from “his tree”.

He claimed his father planted the tree 20 years ago.

Last week, resident Lily Wee called police after Lim, a businessman in his 50s, shouted expletives at her when she wanted to take a durian.

Root of a problem: A resident looking at the durian tree that has become a bone of contention among neighbours in Moulmein Road, Singapore.

“There are three kinds of people in this world – the good, the bad and the ugly. He belongs to the last group,” said Wee, calling Lim a “durian bully”.

Residents would wait under the tree each fruiting season, sometimes for hours, to take the ripened fruits.

“We can always get fruit from Geylang, but we choose to wait here to kio liu lian,” said a resident known as Patrick, referring to a Hokkien phrase expressing the thrill of getting free durians.

About 100 durians could be harvested each year from the single tree, which first bore fruit seven years ago.

Frustrated over the fiasco, some residents had asked for the tree to be chopped down, but the Moulmein-Kallang municipal council had let the tree be.

It will, however, put up two notices stating that the neighbourhood trees belong to the Housing Board and are maintained by the town council.

Resident Peter Yang approved of not chopping the tree, and said neighbours had begun to bond as they queued and chatted while waiting for the fruits to fall.

“Despite a little bit of nonsense, you still get some good out of it,” he said.

From the Singapore Straits Times

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