Don't kill the money tree
I really don't want to put any dampener on our youth (I think they are great!) but history does not prove petitions work in Singapore. You can petition but no one will listen. Of course, to romance a few, there was Chek Jawa.
However, we cannot always blame the government, you know. They are in a damned position. (Do and don't do also cannot type of situation). For example, what if the old tree fell and collapsed on someone causing bodily injury one day? Or worse, the Bodhi tree made everyone so enlightened about what is going on in the matrix?!
Perhaps, we should devolve the authorities of such accountability and liability by providing a proposal that even the 66.6% of Singaporeans think it is a no-brainer decision. When everyone thinks so, then no problem. It would be a collective and honest mistake that we made as stakeholders of this tiny little global city.
Most importantly, understand what makes this country ticks. MONEY. JOBS.
So, in submitting the petition to save an old temple, one must cut to the chase. Symbolic and nostalgic references are good but not good enough. Too clean and wholesome. More buzz needed. Open up our vista and hearts to see the temple as something more crucial to our survival.
By all means keep the temple because it is an integral part of our IRs. Without them, the IRs may make money but not good enough. C'mon, who will visit our casinos? Muslims around the region?! Who likes to gamble most? the Chinese. What do they do before and after they gamble? they pray for good luck. More so after they lost a lot of money. Visiting the temple before the IRs is an essential ritual for more good luck (gamblers think they are lucky to start with). When one loses too much (like 200 million? ask the chap serving sentence now), going to the temple might help too. Ah Loong Sans don't hang out in temples.
Imagine the possibilities of integrating the temple with our IRs. We could levy a visiting fee or a pay per pray mode of cost recovery in maintaining the temple. We could also provide entertainment in the form of charity show times. We have local monks who can perform dangerous stunts too. Or we could import some shaolin monks from China if we don't have enough of them.
When the temple becomes world famous, a national tourism icon like the Merlion, we will stand to benefit hugely from its merchandising as well. Temple T-shirts, mugs, holy yellow ribbons to be tied onto the Bodhi tree and etc etc. The ultimate experience would be to pay to sit under the Bodhi tree. Yep, let some of Buddha's wisdom filters through so you will know which slot machine to use later.
I tell you, this one even better than our Spaceport. Imagine its immense potential to create jobs for Singaporeans, tour guides, dong-lui ah peks, joss-stick sellers and its various spin-offs to the food and beverage and hospitality industries. We can even hold MICE events for the world's spiritual leaders.
So while the authorities hear the chingling sounds of dollar and cents, devotees will still be able to chant for these people's delivery from their lives of wanton materialism. It's really a win-win for all.
To end, I must clarify that my entry is not meant to hurt any followers of any religion, especially not the Buddhists. I have many friends who are devout Buddhists. In fact, they always tell me that attaining wisdom (nirvana) is an individual journey, a lonesome pursuit. They usually don't believe in all that rah-rah in singing and holding hands. That's why Buddhists don't seem to be very 'hip and happening'.
Buddhism is about wisdom, a much needed intangible which sadly, not many of us have. For those who seek, there is still hope.
Singapore, Boddhi tree