With the wanton and illogical chopping down of some fabulous trees along the Esplanade Road (Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah) in George Town, Penang.
This has always been one of my favourite spots of the Esplanade: a shady piece of land outside the Fort Cornwallis and directly across the road from the Royal Malaysian Navy base, where some nice shady trees had been planted and growing well since goodness knew when. A long time ago, actually.
I can declare that the trees were still around when I took part in the FMM Heritage Explorer Trail in July this year. The walk had taken us along the Esplanade Road and when we walked past the Fort Cornwallis and the Lighthouse, I had commented to my wife and fellow participants from The Old Frees' Association that these trees made the nicest part of the Esplanade.
Well, they are gone now. All hacked away and uprooted, including one huge tree where only the stump remained. And of another huge tree outside the fort, it has been pruned of all its leaves and the stark naked branches stand out like sore thumbs. Undoubtedly this tree will sprout new shoots but it will never regain its former glory. I hold the public authorities, including the Penang state government, responsible for the destruction of this little square which is located smack within the UNESCO World Heritage core zone.
Here is how the area looked like in the past. The pictures were taken more than two years ago (July 2010, to be exact).
This tree is gone, all gone. All that's left is a stump!