National Geographic : 1966 Aug
As such, it is one of the world's newest and smallest emergent nations, and certainly its most reluctant. I decided to see for myself the fact of geog raphy that makes Singapore an island: the narrow, causeway-spanned Johore Strait, physical symbol of its separation from Malay sia. I drove northwest past Bukit Timah Tin Hill-a tree-smothered rise which, at 581 feet, is the island's highest eminence and contains no tin at all. Here, in the center of the country, govern ment decree has preserved a few thousand acres of original rain forest-a world of jade green twilight where growth is almost audible. Pythons twine unseen among lianas as ser pentine as themselves. Monkeys move silently in their lofty galleries. Bird voices like bells 284 and flutes sound from hidden places. The steady sibilance of cicadas pervades the forest like a sustained sigh, startling only when it ceases and the ring of silence jars on the ears. Earlier, I had wandered deep into this sanc tuary, searching for a sense of Malaysia with out man. Now I skirted it, more engrossed in the problem of man in Malaysia. Causeway Carries Vital Water Over a rise at the north shore of the island I found the problem epitomized. Here lay the turbid stretch of the strait, and the three quarter-mile-long, pile-supported causeway stretching from land to land (page 280). The span carried a roadway, a railroad, and two great conduits through which comes most of Singapore's water.