Decaying Angsana tree beside SOTA cut down

Gaya Chandramohan Channel NewsAsia 21 Jan 18;

SINGAPORE: The prominent Angsana tree that stood sentinel at the junction of Bras Basah Road and Prinsep Street for around 40 years was cut down on Sunday (Jan 21).

Known affectionately as the Tree of Knowledge to The School of the Arts (SOTA) - whose grounds the tree occupied - it was recently found to have a cavity at its base and significant decay that had worsened over the years.

SOTA vice-principal Pauline Ann Tan, who was on site to oversee the removal of the tree, said she was sad to see the iconic tree go but agreed it was a matter of safety.

"It came to a point where every heavy downpour worried us, in case the tree fell in strong winds. Even yesterday's downpour had us worried," she said.

Henry Tan who attends church in the vicinity was taking videos of workers cutting down the tree when Channel NewsAsia approached him.

"I pass by this tree every week after church. It's sad that it has to be removed because it provided shade for those waiting at the traffic light," the 53-year-old accountant said.

Housewife Melanie Woo who frequently jogs in the vicinity was also sad to see the towering Angsana tree go.

"It's a very majestic tree, but that also means if it falls, it could be a disaster because the area sees a lot of foot traffic," she said.

But new beginnings will soon take root when sapling is planted in place of the SOTA Tree.

"We're in talks with NEA to select a suitable tree to be planted to replace the tree," said Tan.