Bukit Brown not worthy of World Heritage status

ST Forum, Jul 11, 2015

I disagree with Mr Edwin Pang's suggestion to boost the status of Bukit Brown Cemetery ("Bukit Brown deserves World Heritage status, too"; Wednesday).
Considering the cemetery's state, it would be ludicrous to make it a Unesco World Heritage Site and it may even damage Singapore's reputation if it became one.
Take Borobudur, a ninth-century Buddhist temple in Indonesia, and Cambodia's Angkor Wat - both Unesco World Heritage sites. These are architectural wonders of the world and have long histories.
Our land area of 718.3 sq km now holds a population of 5.5 million and this will increase in the years to come. The needs of the living should supersede those of the dead.
The Land Transport Authority has started work on building a new road to join the Adam Road flyover and the MacRitchie viaduct. With it, the traffic jams of Thomson Road will be eased considerably.
We cannot afford to be too sentimental over preserving an old cemetery like Bukit Brown, which is today nothing more than a forlorn place with broken tombstones and overgrown lalang.
Bukit Brown Cemetery pales in comparison with Bidadari Cemetery, which was started in 1908. Early pioneers Lim Boon Keng and Song Ong Siang were buried there until the site was exhumed in 2004.
The beautiful marble statues there were demolished and some were sent to the Garden of Remembrance in Old Choa Chu Kang Road. The HDB is building homes there, to be ready by 2018.
The so-called flora and fauna of Bukit Brown are too insignificant to be preserved as you can see only butterflies, snakes, spiders and some trees such as the African tulip. By comparison, Pulau Ubin has a more diverse range of flora and fauna worth preserving.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Pasir Ris Park have some rare flora and fauna, too, which, if not protected, will soon be extinct.
Heng Cho Choon