This news came out of the blue and was hard to equate with a very fit individual, who is at least a decade younger than I.
Not that I am induly worried, as such operations these days are realtively common and I have every confidence that he will pull through just fine.
However it does make one pause and reflect on the transcient nature of life. As the song says:
There is a season
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven"
It would seem that this phrase, adapted from the book of Ecclesiastes, also applies to some of the natural heritage landmarks of Singapore.
The Mandai gardens are a botanical site of some historic interest if only for the fact that they were established by one John Laycock in 1951. It is Singapores' oldest commercial orchid garden and is about to close as its lease will soon expire.
My Laycock's other claim to fame is that he gave Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew his first job, and an early taste of politics when he acted as an election agent for Mr Laycock and his pro-British Singapore Progressive Party (SPP).
While no doubt there is degree of sadness that these gardens will close, the hard reality is that they are a commercial operation in a country where land is at a premium. The Mandai operation has clearly seen better times, and patronage is down on what it was during the garden's hey day.
Any heritage value needs to be measured against the Botanic Gardens which are with doubt a national treasure of international significance. Can the same be said for Mandai Gardens, whatever the tenuous linkages the orchid garden has with M.M.? I suspect not.