Monday, January 18, 2010

tie a yellow ribbon round the old, old tree

did tony orlando get his idea or inspiration for the title of his song 'tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree' from what he had seen during his travels to india or some south-east asian country?

in this part of the world, it is not uncommon to see a large yellow or orange sash wrapped around the trunk of the banyan tree and sometimes, around the bodhi tree.

why do buddhists and hindus tie a ribbon or sash around the banyan tree and its cousin, the bodhi tree?

to the hindus, the banyan represents immortality. the banyan is viewed by hindus as the male plant to the closely related peepul or bodhi tree. i have blogged about the mystique of the banyan tree here.

the bodhi tree is revered by the buddhists because gautama buddha attained his enlightenment while seated under a bodhi tree. one of the heritage trees in singapore is the bodhi tree at pearl's hill city park. the tree is about 18m tall and it has a 6.2m girth.

there is also the belief that some spirits reside in these trees. it is regarded as a sin to destroy either of these trees.

now, what is the significance when a bodhi tree, like the one above, is tied with a red and white construction tape? if you are familiar with the national parks' practice, you will know that the tree is marked for execution.

like this clump of raintrees along upper bukit timah road, just before cashew road and across the canal from the espa condominium, they are all condemned to be cut down because they are in the way of the downtown line 2.


peter said...

I shall take some photos of some strange things in my area like:

1. Significance of triangular flags tied to trees. Looks like from a Chinese templ.

2. A used "gantung" with a wire tied to a tree.

Can you please explain?

yg said...

peter, triangular flags must have come from some taoist temple. those that i have seen at the old changi hospital are squarish or rectangular in shape.

Lam Chun See said...

Just this afternoon I saw them cutting the trees along Bt Timah between 4th and 6th Ave for the same purpose. Good thing I took those photos of 4th ave not long ago. Before long I will be able to do a "Second Shot".