What we saw this morning of the well-loved Toa Payoh god tree at Blk 177. This once majestic banyan which pre-dates the Toa Payoh development used to stand 6 storeys high until it was struck down by lightening in September last year, crushing 6 cars. Residents who witnessed the incident said the tree fell slowly and “chose its direction” so no one got hurt.
Mr Chen Zhou Rong, 53, caretaker of the shrine and son of the monk who brought the statue of Goddess of Mercy here, used to sleep under this tree. He has since moved away, despite pleas from residents for him to “stay and protect the god”.
“I do feel an attachment to the place and the people in the neighbourhood, having lived here most of my life. But it’s time to go.”