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Residents of Lim Chu Kang are used to hearing gun fire and combat, being situated near the SAF live firing area and the National Shooting Centre. For the last two weeks, however, they have been hearing volleys of a different sort as two unlikely adversaries have engaged in bitter verbal combat over land rights. The Farmers Union (FU) has complained to the Ministry of Complaints that the Singapore Techni-hub for Astronomical Research (STAR) has been encroaching on their land.
“This land always been used for agriculture,” claimed Mr Lao Eng Chik, a FU representative. “We are now producing crabs locally, since they are the best outcome we can hope for. We tried other animals, but they always run away. Crabs can only go side to side, so after a while, they just hentak kaki.”
“Now these STAR people here obsessed with stars think they can wave papers in our face and say they need to build telescopes on our turf.” He lamented.
In response, Mr Li Bi Gee of STAR was adamant that their land claim was more valid and legitimate. “These FU people think they own the place just because they have been here forever. However, you will find that ours is the more meritocratic claim based not just on governmental approval but also on the needs of the nation. We don’t care about the stars just for their own sake. Rather, we are always trying to find ways in which the stars can help the nation.”
“For instance, we have found that using the stars for navigation is the most reliable method for controlling public transport systems. We have been relentless in finding other ways in which stars can be used in major public companies and institutions to assist with nation building.”
Mr Li hinted that there if the land is not given to STAR, it may resort to police action. “These people should be happy to have their crabs at all. They could easily be stuck with warrants.”
While the dispute rages, the land has been untended, leading to some concerns from environmentalists. Ms Amy Green from a local animal rights group expressed concern over a group of freshwater squid which has become trapped in a pond within the disputed area. The squid have begun dying since they are unable to escape.
However, responsibility for their deaths has not been accepted by either claimant. “It is not our fault that the blur sotong are dead,” said Mr Lao. “Those STAR people created this pond when they started going after their stars. It is their fault.”
Mr Li in turn promised to create an STAR committee to investigate the matter of the dead squids. “We feel deeply for the loss of each and every squid,” he stated, “but we must not lose sight of the big picture and the positive impact that stars can have on the nation.”
The Permanent Court of Arbitration has refused to intervene in this dispute. A spokesperson stated that while they have been able to resolve deep seated geopolitical conflicts and end long-running civil strife; this war between the farmers and the scholars would likely rage forever.