Call me old fashioned, but I don’t fancy any of the newfangled tourist attractions popping up all over the Marina Bay area one bit.
Yes, they’re majestic. No, they’re not beautiful.
Some friends say you must be crazy, Quah. Look at those man-made supertrees and the sprawling rows of fresh flowers and flora in the new Gardens by the Bay.
Sorry, I tell them, but I’m a sucker for the old and the classical.
Speaking of which, it has always struck me as odd how Singaporeans are constantly chasing after the newest trendy places to photograph themselves in, and yet turn around and complain about how the Singapore government changing Singapore’s landscape too rapidly to preserve any heritage.
Fact is, Singapore is changing too rapidly. Though it is still too early to say that we’ve failed to preserve any of our heritage.
Take the 156 year-old Botanic Gardens. I remember taking walks along these beautiful hanging flora trails with my wife. Today, we still go for strolls in the park, even if age has caught up with us. We appreciate it for the nostalgia, and for their ability to age so gracefully.
I feel the young are missing out on a lot of things that can still be found in this old-fashioned, but gloriously aesthetic garden.
You feel troubled? Take a walk along the lake. Watch the swans dance across the surface and forget about the troubles of city life for a moment.
Or just lie on the grass and have a picnic. Play a game with your children. Or do anything. This space is shaped only by your imagination.
In the early evenings, the soft rays of the sun, a gentle breeze and the smell of grass and flowers is just as invigorating as any herbal tea you might find on the market.
Who can forget this icon in the heart of the garden at the top of its small hill?
I find that Singapore’s full of beautiful surprises, not necessarily man-made and new. They are like gems, sitting in quiet corners throughout the place, just waiting for the right people to notice them.
Peter Quah is a retired political commentator with an interest in foreign and military affairs. He spends his time reading books and drinking tea, but most of time tries to deal with the tantrums of his young grandchild.