Monday 6 July 2015

Singapore Botanic Gardens named UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4 July 2015

Yes, Botanic Gardens is a World Heritage Site
156-year-old landmark gets resounding nod from all 21 members of UNESCO committee
By Melody Zaccheus, The Sunday Times, 5 Jul 2015

Singapore now has a UNESCO World Heritage Site to call its own.

The 156-year-old Botanic Gardens received a resounding "yes" from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee yesterday at its annual meeting, held in Bonn, Germany, this year.

Members of Singapore's delegation, including Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, received handshakes and hugs from the committee's 21 state members, in what was described as a rare outpouring of support.

Mr Wong called it an amazing moment. When the idea to nominate the Gardens was floated five years ago, sceptics wondered if the site was worthy of the accolade.

"We have seen the overwhelming support of international experts... It means we do have something of exceptional value in Singapore. I think it gives us a tremendous sense of pride that we have a site worthy of being a World Heritage Site."

Back home, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post that the accolade is "a great Jubilee year gift to Singaporeans", highlighting the Gardens' key role in making the country a Garden City.

The Gardens joins the likes of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Cambodia's Angkor with its magnificent temples and China's Great Wall on the world heritage list.

There are over 1,000 sites on the list, but the Gardens is its first botanic gardens in Asia and only the third in the world, besides the Orto botanico di Padova in Italy and England's Royal Botanic Gardens.

After UNESCO's experts presented their evaluation of the Gardens' bid, the floor was open and all 21 members, including Japan, Turkey and Germany, announced their support. They lauded the Gardens' "vast botanical values" and "excellent landscape design".

Philippine ambassador and UNESCO delegate Maria Theresa P. Lazaro praised not only the Gardens' plant collection, but also its approach to conservation, such as its digital inventories for both living and archival plants.

"This inspiring site reminds us that research is the ground of innovation, the past is the foundation of the future, and memories are the soil of imagination," she said.

At least 11 other sites made the prestigious list over the past two days, including Jamaica's Blue and John Crow Mountains, China's Tusi sites and the Cultural Landscape of Maymand in Iran.

Jamaican delegate Vilma Kathleen McNish said she was delighted by the success of Singapore's bid, announced by the session's chair, Ms Ruchira Kamboj of India, in front of an audience at Bonn's International Conference Centre.

Ms McNish described the Gardens as an "oasis" in the heart of the city. "Like Jamaica, Singapore is inscribing its first site... It speaks well of the future of this list that (sites from) two small states are being inscribed at the same session of the committee."

In total, 36 sites were nominated this year.

Dr Kevin Tan, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites Singapore, said the Gardens' listing will not only make the world aware of the country's historical treasures, but also help open the eyes of Singaporeans.

"For those who think we compare poorly with Europe, or China or even our neighbours like Malaysia, I think they will start looking at Singapore's heritage with fresh eyes."

The Singapore Botanic Gardens has made it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! A great Jubilee year gift to Singaporeans....
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, July 4, 2015

Just got back from Germany earlier today; feeling tired but also very glad to read about the tremendous response from...
Posted by Lawrence Wong on Monday, July 6, 2015

UNESCO title plants Singapore firmly on world map
It is a ringing endorsement of country's heritage, crowning glory for SG50: Experts
By Melody Zaccheus, The Sunday Times, 5 Jul 2015

The Botanic Gardens' joining the international league of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a feather in the cap for Singapore, said experts from across the fields of heritage, nature and tourism.

They described it as a significant endorsement from an independent, reputable body that raises the profile of the country's heritage and plants it firmly on the world map.

Cultural geographer Professor Lily Kong from the National University of Singapore called it a "fitting tribute" for Singapore in its 50th year of independence, while heritage conservation expert Johannes Widodo said it is an "amazing achievement" for a small country.

The World Heritage Committee listed the 156-year-old Gardens as a UNESCO site during its 39th session in Bonn, Germany yesterday.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites, a panel of experts appointed by UNESCO to assess the site, said the Gardens demonstrates the evolution of a British tropical colonial garden into a modern and world-class botanic garden, scientific institution and place of conservation and education.

Congratulating Singapore for its well-prepared nomination dossier, Portugal ambassador and UNESCO delegate Jose Filipe Mendes Moraes Cabral said: "With more than 150 years of history, the 74ha Gardens holds a unique and significant place in the history of Singapore and in the region, and has succeeded in encapsulating natural and cultural heritage over all these years."

Nature Society president Shawn Lum said the successful listing celebrates the vision of the Gardens' founders, the work of its directors, the research produced there, the work of grounds-keeping staff, and the economy.

Meanwhile, tourism experts reckon the title adds a new dimension to the Singapore experience, which is known for modern marvels and attractions such as the Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.

"It highlights to visitors that we have a well-preserved green space in Singapore despite its rapid development which tourists and even locals may not quite take notice of," said Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer in tourism, Dr Michael Chiam.

But the title should not be wielded as a promotional tool or gimmick, they said. Instead, it is about raising awareness among Singaporeans about the gem in their midst, encouraging them to visit the place and to learn more about its history.

It also serves as a reminder that much of what and who made Singapore and its history and heritage started before 1965, said Prof Kong. "The much deeper roots of our history and heritage deserve to be embraced and celebrated."

It is also important that Singaporeans "feel proud about this UNESCO heritage emblem" and become "ambassadors for this achievement", added Mr Kevin Cheong, the chairman of the Association of Singapore Attractions.

But the work does not stop there, said Singapore Heritage Society's honorary secretary Yeo Kang Shua.

There is heavy responsibility on the part of the Government to give its commitment to maintain the site for posterity, he said.

"When a site is inscribed, we are effectively telling the world that it not only holds significance to us, but the entire world," he said.

Mrs Katherine Oehlers, 67, who has been a volunteer guide at the Gardens for eight years, said foreigners she has taken on tours of Singapore have been very positive and impressed by the site.

"This, I would say, is the crowning glory for SG50. I feel a great sense of pride, I am overjoyed. I think it is a matter of national pride as well."

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is now Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is the first tropical botanic...
Posted by NParks - Let's Make Singapore Our Garden on Saturday, July 4, 2015

Urban Haven
Gardens which has drawn generations of Singaporeans over the years gets international nod for its research efforts and role in rubber trade
By Melody Zaccheus, The Sunday Times, 5 Jul 2015

For Singaporeans, the lush greenery and historic charm of the Singapore Botanic Gardens has made it a favourite spot for family picnics, wedding pictures, a walk or jog amid nature or just an escape to tranquillity.

But the 156-year-old Gardens, accorded the coveted status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site yesterday, is so much more.

It is a place of research and conservation, giving home to more than 10,000 species of plants.

It has more than 1,200 species of orchids and about 2,000 hybrids housed mainly in its National Orchid Garden - making it the largest collection in the world.

It is also a site with 15 heritage buildings, including the 1921 Holttum Hall, now a museum but formerly a laboratory where orchid breeding and hybridisation techniques were experimented at.

It is also where 47 heritage trees remain preserved - including a Tembusu tree which is believed to be 200 years old.

Presenting our very own UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Singapore Botanic Gardens!
Posted by Lawrence Wong on Saturday, July 4, 2015

Praising the Gardens, Germany's World Heritage Committee representative Birgitta Ringbeck pointed out that it has a variety of landscape features, plantings and buildings. That helps explain why the Gardens draws more than 4.4 million visitors annually, making it the most-visited botanic garden in the world. Leading US travel website TripAdvisor ranked it as the top park in Asia last year in its Travellers' Choice Awards.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 39th World Heritage Committee session in Bonn, Germany yesterday, the vice-president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), Mr Alfredo Conti, noted that the site is home to living heritage.

"It is not an archaeological site or monument that doesn't change over time. There are plants and changes there, and there are people of the city who spend some hours of their week or weekend there. So those aspects related to life and to intangible components of heritage are also very important."

Dr Kishore Rao, director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, said yesterday: "It is perhaps one of the most important botanic gardens in the world, reflecting a variety of values..."

ICOMOS, a UNESCO-appointed panel that assessed the Gardens, praised it as an "exceptional example" of a British tropical colonial botanic garden in South-east Asia.

In a report released in May, Icomos also highlighted the pivotal role the Gardens played in the rubber trade in the region, as it was where rubber cultivation and extraction were perfected. Those advances led to Malaya producing half the world's latex harvest by 1920.

Icomos also said that the Gardens has played an integral role in the social history of Singapore, providing a backdrop for the lives of its residents for a continued sense of place and identity.

A green oasis in the middle of a highly urbanised city, the Gardens has played an integral role in the greening of Singapore over the years. National Parks Board chief executive Kenneth Er, who was in Bonn, said that Singapore has put in a lot of commitment and effort in keeping the city green and in doing so, retained and conserved the

Botanic Gardens. This he noted, was acknowledged by the World Heritage Committee.

"They also recognise how the Gardens has over the years contributed to the scientific research of botany and is recognised as a world institution for botanical research, particularly in the field of plant taxonomy," he said.

Among the effusive praise drawn from World Heritage Committee members, this one from Serbia stood out.

Its ambassador and UNESCO delegate Darko Tanaskovic said: "The Singapore Botanic Gardens is encouraging proof of how men can re-create lost paradise, and of harmony between men and nature."

Inscribed today as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage: #Singapore Botanical Gardens (Singapore)—Situated at the heart of the city of Singapore, the site demonstrates the evolution of a British tropical colonial botanic garden that has become a modern world-class scientific institution used for both conservation and education. The cultural landscape includes a rich variety of historic features, plantings and buildings that demonstrate the development of the garden since its creation in 1859. It has been an important centre for science, research and plant conservation, notably in connection with the cultivation of rubber plantations, in Southeast Asia since 1875. - See more at:
A photo posted by UNESCO (@unesco) on

Botanic Gardens ‘just the first sight’ of what Singapore can offer
By Kelly Ng and Tan Weizhen, TODAY, 6 Jul 2015

The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a “great gift” for Singapore’s 50th birthday and a tribute to founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who sowed the first seeds for a city in a garden, ministers said yesterday.

Speaking at the sidelines of a community event in his Sembawang constituency yesterday, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said the gardens is “just the very first sight” of what Singapore can offer to the world.

“(The inscription) was expected, but it is a great gift for SG50 ... What else can be our next heritage site is for us to reflect upon. For Singapore to be successful as a city state, without anything, and yet we remain outstanding for 50 years, I think that concept, that idea to the world, must be a great heritage,” said Mr Khaw.

Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, who was speaking to the media at the official opening of the Adventist Active Centre in Jurong West yesterday, added that the historic accolade is “jubilant news” that comes on top of the celebrations leading up to the Republic’s 50th birthday next month.

“It is a gift from our forefathers and pioneers, and a tribute to the late Minister Mentor Lee who stood for a green Singapore,” he said.

On whether more sites could be shortlisted for nomination for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription, Mr Lee said that his ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, and the National Heritage Board “as and when there are sites deserving such an accolade”.

“It is still too early to say,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was at the same event as Mr Lee, gave credit to the National Parks Board for its upkeep of the gardens. “The Botanic Gardens is a real gem right there in the middle of our city ... It’s a real pride to Singaporeans,” he said.

Asked if Singapore should take a proactive role in looking at sites worthy of inscription, Mr Tharman said: “Yes, we should. Fortunately, we still have a lot of heritage in Singapore — and (a) quite diverse heritage. It makes Singapore so much richer a place.”

At another community event, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu said the World Heritage Committee’s nod of approval also reflects the 156-year-old Gardens’ historical significance.

“We were able to develop rubber industries out of the scientific know-how (at the) Botanic Gardens. And now we’re still very much involved in a lot of scientific research, for example, into orchids. So there’s a lot of know-how in the garden, and of course we should protect the historical heritage that we have,” said Ms Fu, who was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a free community clinic programme in Jurong.

Steps to add more shine to Botanic Gardens 'heirloom'
By Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times, 6 Jul 2015

With the Botanic Gardens now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the work to protect it is ramping up.

Plans are afoot to improve facilities at the 156-year-old gardens, improve research in horticulture and botany, and cater to an expected rise in annual footfall from 4.4 million today to six million by 2020.

A site-management plan was presented to the World Heritage Committee as part of Singapore's bid, and the Government has said measures are in place to address concerns raised by a UNESCO- appointed expert panel that assessed the gardens.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said the listing "will motivate us to do even more to strengthen our conservation efforts" in the gardens.

National Parks Board chief executive Kenneth Er pledged to preserve the key attributes of Singapore's first World Heritage Site, including its contribution to botanical research and its role as a gathering space for Singaporeans.

He said: "We are also committed to ensuring that we continue to conserve the gardens' heritage buildings, landscape and ecological heritage for Singapore and the world."

To address an expected rise in visitorship, NParks will conduct a site evaluation at the end of next year to evaluate visitor impact on soil erosion and biodiversity and potential damage to historic buildings there.

In addition, the gardens will implement a site-wide biodiversity conservation plan, and conduct more studies to maintain an "up-to- date understanding" of the species and habitats within its grounds.

The frequency of inspections of the gardens' historic buildings by a professional engineer will go up from once every five years to once every two years.

Visitors can also expect an improved experience, with plans to enhance the facilities and provide more information on the gardens' heritage, nature, conservation and scientific work.

The gardens, which run on an operating and staff annual budget of $15 million, will refurbish the National Orchid Garden by 2018.

This includes enhancing the Cool House, the Yuen-Peng McNeice Bromeliad Collection enclosure and the Tan Hoon Siang Mist House to showcase a greater diversity of orchids and other plants.

Other improvements in the pipeline include upgraded irrigation systems for the Plant Resource Centre.

These measures are important to protect the gardens from issues such as commercialisation, neglect and man-made disasters, said heritage conservation expert Johannes Widodo.

Describing the site as an heirloom, he said: "The gardens is something we should keep, nurture and pass on to future generations."

Gardens' rubber research a key factor for accolade
It played pivotal role in rubber boom from 1900s to 1960s
By Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times, 6 Jul 2015

Singapore was a major sorting and export centre for rubber from the 1900s to the 1960s, during which the trade picked up and boomed.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens played a pivotal role in that growth, as research into the crop allowed the gardens' first scientific director, Sir Henry Nicholas Ridley, to devise a rubber-tapping technique that yielded maximum quantities of latex without destroying the trees.

The gardens' role in plant research and its studies of rubber for cultivation were major factors that earned it the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last Saturday.

Since the rubber trade declined, its role in Singapore's history has been largely forgotten by the public.

Given the gardens' intricate ties with rubber, the 105-year-old Rubber Trade Association of Singapore hopes the new status will help "boost awareness about rubber's economic heritage among younger generations of Singaporeans".

Mr Peter Tan, 71, a board member of the association, said: "We don't have rubber trees lining the country that can serve as reminders, but it's still a shame that some kids today might not even know how rubber feels like in their hands."

He recalled how Singapore was home to 15 rubber factories at one point. These factories came with mills and smoke houses, which cleaned the rubber and extracted moisture from the material.

Rubber, used in the production of tyres, was one of two commodities that built up Singapore's economy - the other being tin, said Mr Tan.

The rubber boom traces back to London's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which gifted the gardens here 22 rubber seedlings in 1877.

A dozen of them were planted in the gardens and studied to gather data about cultivation methods over the next two decades.

Sir Henry often visited Straits Settlements plantation owners with his jacket pockets filled with rubber seeds from 1,000 mature trees growing in the gardens.

"He believed so much in the value of rubber as a commercial crop for the region... He encouraged many to plant the crop," said Mr Tan.

The first to do so was Singaporean Chinese and tapioca estate owner Tan Chay Yan, grandson of Mr Tan Tock Seng. By 1901, he had a rubber plantation that spanned 1,200ha near Malacca.

Other Chinese entrepreneurs, such as Tan Kah Kee, Lim Nee Soon, and Lee Kong Chian, also started rubber businesses, which were handed to their descendants.

"The fortunes of many of Singapore's early millionaires were built on the rubber trade," said Mr Teddy Chua, 73, another board member of the association.

When he was 17, Mr Chua, who owns Eastland Produce, used to walk on Boat Quay's gangplanks to inspect rubber bales that pulled up in tongkangs (light wooden boats) at the Singapore River. He would grade them and ring up a manager at his father's rubber plantation, Hua Heng, who would price them and make a bid to the rubber owner.

Hua Heng was about 32,000 sq m, or about the size of six football fields.

Rubber packing and processing activities in Singapore declined in 1963, after Indonesia stopped exporting the raw material to be processed in Singapore following the start of Konfrontasi. Some firms, including Hua Heng, went under.

Today, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are the main suppliers of rubber to the world, producing 12 million tonnes in total each year - more than 70 per cent of the world's supply.

Gardens 'good the way it is' for some
By Tee Zhuo, The Straits Times, 6 Jul 2015

Little, if anything, can be done to improve the Singapore Botanic Gardens. That was the general opinion shared by visitors to the newly crowned UNESCO World Heritage Site when The Straits Times visited yesterday. "Its current state is good," said Mr Jimmy Lim, 43, who works in sales.

"(Getting the heritage site status) hasn't made much of a difference to us. We like the green, open spaces here, where the kids can run around." The father of two visits the gardens every few months with his three siblings and their families, usually for picnics at the open field beside Swan Lake.

Mr Kenny Suen, 52, agreed.

The chartered surveyor from Hong Kong, who has been working in Singapore for three years, started visiting the gardens only six months ago, but now goes three to four times a month.

Expatriate Nirmala Shanker, 41, who has lived here for eight years, said she "wouldn't change" anything about the gardens.

"It's a great place to come on weekends with the children... I think they should just focus on preserving and conserving it the way it is," she said.

However, some visitors believed more could be done to explain the Gardens' history.

Mr A.P. Ng, 42, who works in e-commerce, said: "My daughters were telling me about this red brick path in the gardens. They saw the gardens in the news yesterday and wanted to come."

The red bricks that make up one of the gardens' staircases were made by Australian prisoners of war held by the Japanese in Changi during World War II.

They are etched with small arrows, a mark of passive resistance against their captors.

Mr Ng suggested that more educational signs about the gardens' history could be put up to allow visitors to appreciate the park from a different perspective.

Speaking on the sidelines of a People's Association event yesterday, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran noted that it is important for Singapore to manage the balance between visitorship and maintaining the gardens' natural beauty, something that the Singapore Tourism Board will work on.

"We will have to work very closely with the National Parks (Board) and other stakeholders on how we can manage the heightened interest in our Botanic Gardens going forward," he said.

Additional reporting by Melissa Lin

Revolver, parangs in showdown at 1868 bungalow
By Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times, 6 Jul 2015

The stately Burkill Hall, now a popular wedding venue at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, was the site of a showdown in 1875 that involved a revolver and parangs.

Then Gardens superintendent James Murton had withheld the wages of Javanese coolies working there as they had allegedly stolen possessions from his office.

This resulted in a verbal spat, a physical struggle and a chase around the complex with their immediate manager. The situation came to a head when 30 armed coolies confronted Mr Murton, then in his early 20s, at Burkill Hall where he was living.

Mr Murton fired shots from his revolver over their heads in an attempt to disperse the group. He then locked himself in the bathroom till the head gardener had calmed the situation down.

This incident was uncovered by current Gardens director Nigel Taylor, who dug into newspaper archives to piece together historical anecdotes about the 156-year-old site as part of his research for the Gardens' UNESCO World Heritage Site bid.

"There are all these stories you don't get in an annual report that are slightly soft in nature but are nevertheless more interesting than annual reports, which focus on bread-and-butter issues," he said.

Dr Taylor also learnt late last year that the two-storey Burkill Hall, which dates back to 1868, is an Anglo-Malay plantation-style house.

It is believed to be the last such bungalow in the region.

The Gardens is also home to a flight of brick steps, at its Plant House in Tanglin Core, made by Australian prisoners of war during the Japanese Occupation.

The bricks which they made are identified by an arrow carved into each one as an act of defiance.

Dr Taylor learnt that the former prisoners, who visited the Gardens in 1995, had jumped up and down the steps in excitement when they realised that the bricks they had made at a brickworks in Changi were still intact.

Researchers also learnt that Siamese King Chulalongkorn visited the Gardens in 1871 at the age of 18 as part of his first trip abroad.

They also dug up a photograph of the king at the Gardens in which he is seen wearing a Western jacket and holding a white hat.

UNESCO listing: It takes a community
Experts, Nature Society, even Whampoa's descendant, helped in Botanic Gardens' bid
By Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times, 7 Jul 2015

In 2011, National Parks Board librarian Christina Soh spent hours thumbing through boxes of archival materials in London's Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

Her mission: to substantiate historic facts about the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which was a satellite of the 1759 Kew Gardens.

The 60-year-old also sought to learn more about the key players in the Botanic Gardens' history, such as former directors Henry Ridley and Richard Eric Holttum.

At the time, Singapore was already working towards a bid to nominate the Botanic Gardens for UNESCO World Heritage status. It was listed as a UNESCO site by the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, last Saturday.

Over two trips in 2011 and 2012, Ms Soh went through the handwritten letters and expedition notes of the gardens' first director, Sir Henry. These included letters to Kew asking for manpower and finances to run the gardens in Singapore.

She listed experts and members of the community who helped put together the gardens' nomination dossier for its UNESCO bid. They included the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Singapore, Nature Society Singapore and even the great-granddaughter of pioneer Whampoa Hoo Ah Kay, Madam Hoo Miew Oon.

Dr Nigel Taylor, the former curator at the Kew Gardens and current Singapore Botanic Gardens director, told The Straits Times that the staff engaged the community from the start to "raise awareness of the bid and make it clear that this was an all-inclusive project, not just one run by government".

On the sidelines of the announcement in Germany, National Heritage Board (NHB) chief executive Rosa Daniel credited the successful listing to community support.

"This would not have been possible if we had not been able to bring together the support of the community. It wasn't just from the public, but the stakeholders, our heritage interest groups, our experts who endorsed that."

Dr Taylor and Ms Jean Wee, director of NHB's Preservation of Sites and Monuments, embarked on their 1 1/2-year mission to assemble a nomination dossier in 2013.

Icomos Singapore, which comprises heritage practitioners, was commissioned to provide historic information. Among other things, it found the gardens continued its activities even during the Japanese Occupation. Its research into the Syonan Shimbun, or Syonan Times, showed performances by the Syonan Police Band were held there from May 1942 to September 1944.

Said its president, Dr Kevin Tan: "We were anxious for the pitch to succeed and we wanted to cover all angles as thoroughly as possible in terms of the site's social history and architectural heritage."

Meanwhile, Nature Society president Shawn Lum said his group emphasised the role that the gardens and its directors played in green conservation.

Madam Hoo did her part by contributing Whampoa's antique cactus pots and two large flower pots to add to the gardens' collection of artefacts. Her ancestor was fluent in English and a leading member of the Agri-Horticultural Society who helped negotiate with the colonial government for the gardens' establishment.

The gardens will continue to work with the community, said Dr Taylor. It has established a stakeholder committee, which will meet every six months and help oversee the gardens' site-management plan.

It was double joy at the Singapore Botanic Gardens yesterday. We celebrated both SG50, and our first UNESCO World...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, August 7, 2015

* PM Lee unveils UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque at Botanic Gardens
The Sunday Times, 7 Aug 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque on Friday afternoon.

The Gardens was inscribed as Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 4 - only the third botanic gardens to get on the list, noted Mr Lee- and the plaque will be installed at the Gardens' Tanglin Gate.

"It's a double joy and a double celebration," said Mr Lee, who thanked all the officials and volunteers who had worked hard to make the award possible.

"One generation plants the trees and the later generation enjoys the shade," he said, quoting a Chinese proverb. He added that in the same way, Singaporeans should nurture and build Singapore for future generations to enjoy.

Mr Lee also officially named the SG50 orchid the Singapore Golden Jubilee, to celebrate the country's 50th year of independence. The pink-and-purple hybrid orchid traces its lineage back to the Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore's national flower.

He also launched a series of stamps, featuring icons such as the Gardens' gazebo at the Band Stand, to commemorate the Gardens' UNESCO status.

[#SBGjubilee Day 1]Presenting to you our SG50 orchid – Papilionanthe Singapore Golden Jubilee! Created by Singapore...
Posted by NParks - Let's Make Singapore Our Garden on Friday, August 7, 2015

Dive into the history of the Singapore Botanic Gardens with this free to download e-book that takes you from its...
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