The assignment given to us for week 10/11 (to be submitted on week 12) was “Our relationship to Nature“.
We were to talk about our relationship to nature with the aid of these question prompts:
- How or where do you interact with nature?
- What is nature to you?
- How does Singapore the city interact with nature?
- How does the commercialisation of nature effect the way you interact with nature?
(We were required to make three sketches investigating different compositions, then make one final drawing.)
The venue where I decide to base my composition on is Upper Seletar Reservoir.
Nature to me is simple. It is nothing complicated or ‘fancy’. Nature is somewhere I can be myself, be at peace, and appreciate the intricacies of life. Reflecting, I see myself interacting with nature (more so) when I’m abroad. Especially in winter. I remember walking on the pathway of a national park in Slovenia last December – listening to the sounds of water gushing don the stream, the birds chirping, and just taking a deep breath of the cold, fresh air. Bliss. I’m not sure how typical this may be, but my interaction with nature is rooted where the tranquility of it surrounds me. Nature, to me, is not limited to trees, flowers, animals, and water, but the magnanimity of the vast skies included. I love watching the clouds, sunsets, sunrises, and gazing at stars. To describe the sky in one word – breathtaking.
I would say Singapore interacts with nature in a unique way – somewhat like an obligation without (exactly) the negative connotation. For every road paved, or building built, one will notice trees and flowers planted within the vicinity. In fact, Singapore is pride to be a Garden City. Measures as such to incorporate nature into our commercialised state are taken to ensure nature is still present despite our rapid development.
The commercialisation of nature makes me appreciate and value nature – to not take it for granted. It serves as a reminder for me to ‘stop and smell the roses’, or in our context, stop and appreciate the flowers and plants – whatever they may be – and not brush pass them like how Singapore’s increasingly accelerated pace of life is carrying us. Because of the commercialisation of nature, authentic nature became my escape route.
Amongst the three composition sketches that I’ve done, I chose to base my final piece on composition sketch #02 as I found it most apt in describing my relationship to nature, as well as Singapore’s. The sign that displays ‘No fishing’ is an evidence of Singapore’s commercialisation of nature – that while you are given a scenic view and a serene environment, you are not allowed to engage in an activity associated with nature – fishing. Despite the restriction, however, this atmosphere of nature in the tropics is still tranquil – reflecting the authentic nature I seek. One is still able to hear the swishing of the water, observe the reflection of the sun rays glistening on water, see the clouds and birds in the sky, and feel the cozy warm heat on your skin. Albeit the commercialisation of nature in my city, such a venue where authentic nature can be felt exists!
These are some pictures I took at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Do give this lovely place a visit if you’re ever keen! It’s a scenic place to go for a jog in the early morning and catch the sunrise.