What they love about Singapore: Greenery

William Wee, retiree

Their first trip through the new Gardens by the Bay last week summed up for Mr William Wee, 74, and his wife, Mrs Nancy Wee, 73, what they like best about Singapore.

"It's beautiful," the couple said.

Bougainvilleas are among Mrs Wee's favourite plants. She said she particularly likes how they line the roads and expressways here, especially on the way to Changi Airport.

"The flowers brighten up my day and it occurs to me how beautiful Singapore is.

"The Government did so much for the people, developing the nation and yet keeping our country green," she said. Greenery is, for them , also tied to memories of their life here.

During their kampung days - his in the Ah Hood area, hers in Kandang Kerbau - trees were in abundance: Rambutan, chiku, mango.

"We climbed trees like monkeys. We never went hungry," said Mr Wee, who spent 45 years in the navy.

During their courtship, they would go to Elizabeth Walk, Fort Canning or the Botanic Gardens.

When they married and had children - a daughter now 50 years old, and two sons, aged 48 and 38 - they would take them to these places on occasions like their birthdays.

They would picnic on egg sandwiches or store-bought food, watch monkeys and take photos.

The couple are particularly proud of the kampung spirit in Singapore.

"When you're short of cooking oil or salt, you just borrow from others. Malay friends would give ketupat during their holidays and we would give two oranges, cookies during Chinese New Year," said Mrs Wee.

"Neighbours in Singapore are always very caring and comfortable to talk with."

This sense of togetherness is strongest during the National Day Parade, which the Wees have been attending yearly, for about 30 years.

Reflecting on Gardens by the Bay, Mr Wee said: "There are so many types of trees, plants, flowers, rocks. We must give credit to the people in charge who imagined everything."

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