Wednesday 20 March 2013

50 Years of Greening Singapore

Come and play as NParks marks 50 years of greening
Travelling playground mixes fun with function as it celebrates Republic's parks
By Debbie Lee, The Straits Times, 19 Mar 2013

IN THE heart of Singapore's bustling, high-tech business district is a sight that belongs to a bygone age - a set of old-fashioned swings, see-saws and a merry-go-round.

The playground - which evokes memories of the '70s and '80s - is designed to help office workers recapture the feeling of playing in parks as children.

Members of the public are welcome to use it, said the National Parks Board (NParks), which unveiled the roving installation yesterday to commemorate 50 Years of Greening Singapore.

"We hope that office workers will be able to inject a little bit of fun into their busy schedules when they stop by to enjoy the playsets," said the agency's assistant chief executive Kong Yit San.

The installation will be stationed in the central business district until May 19, before moving to East Coast Park between June and July, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park between mid-August and mid-October, and the Botanic Gardens between November and December.

Its swings and see-saws, which came originally from parks such as Fort Canning and Mount Emily, will be returned when the installation ends in December.

The temporary playground, which includes transplanted trees and benches, is one of several features organised to celebrate the anniversary.

Others include a plan to plant 1,963 trees across the island between June and November. This figure was used because Singapore's first such campaign was in 1963, when then-prime minister Lee Kuan Yew planted a Mempat tree to mark the start of efforts to make the island greener.

The public, companies or groups such as non-governmental organisations are free to take part in the planting events.

About 6,000 people will get involved, NParks estimates.

Anyone who wants to plant a tree will need to give a $200 donation. The money will be channelled to the board's charity arm, the Garden City Fund, and used to enhance the Botanic Gardens.

The board has also launched a limited edition NETS Flashpay card, which bears the image of the Botanic Gardens' iconic Tembusu tree.

It costs $5, and has been available at Transitlink since last Saturday.

The card also gives holders discounted admissions to Gardens by the Bay and the National Orchid Garden.

Lee Kuan Yew marks 50 years of greening Singapore

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