Durian Spat in Singapore: Tree ‘Owner’ Clears the Air
Ng Kai Ling – Straits Times
Singapore. Go ahead, enjoy the durians — but leave some for everyone.
Richard Lim, 60, who was said to have forbidden his neighbors from picking up the fruits of a durian tree near his home, has come forward to clear the air.
The resident of Block 69 Moulmein Road told The Straits Times yesterday that he had no problem with people taking the fruit home to eat.
He said his beef was only with one neighbor, Madam Lily Wee, whom he described as greedy.
The spat came to light after Madam Wee called the police last week and complained that Lim had used expletives on her for picking up durians from a tree, which he claimed was his. The tree, however, is on state land and does not belong to anyone.
Lim claimed that he only called Madam Wee “yao gui” (greedy) last Tuesday after he saw her returning for more durians after she had already taken four.
“I told her that she shouldn’t be so greedy and leave some durians for our other neighbors,” he said.
Madam Wee had said she picked up two durians at about 4 a.m. that morning before going back at 6 a.m. for a third one.
Although some residents have accused Lim of not letting them so much as eye the durians, Lim said this was not true.
“Whoever sees the durians can take them. When I pick the durians, I always share them with my neighbors,” he said, adding that of the more than 20 durians he picked this year, he gave 18 away.
Yesterday, Lim’s neighbor Chin Y.H. said he gave her durians from his harvest every year. “He is not selfish, he shares it with some of us who are close to him.”
Lim said the durian tree, which began to bear fruit in 2006, was planted by his late father in the early 1980s.
Asked if he had argued with other neighbors, Lim said: “I’ve never scolded anybody else, only Madam Wee.”
He added that the neighbors who spoke out against him were people he did not get along with.
After the area’s town council weighed in on the issue to say that the tree did not belong to him, Lim now says residents are free to pick as many durians as they like — even if it is more than what he thinks is fair.
He said he wouldn’t mind even if the tree was chopped down, adding: “It is not worth quarrelling over durians.”
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times