I have to admit that when the Government first announced that it was going to set up a gardens right in the heart of Marina Bay, I was quite ecstatic. Our very own Central Park, no less. I imagined tall trees, sand, grass, the smell of plants and grass and everything you’d associate with a garden. I’d been to Berlin too and had seen the huge park there – very tall trees, lush greenery, etc.
So I was quite excited when I first saw the artist’s impression of our own Gardens. Told everyone this was going to be something we could really be proud of.
But after two visits, I am thoroughly let-down. Completely disappointed with what I’d seen. But let me also be honest and say that I have not visited the two conservatories – because it’s a lot of money to fork out for entry.
What we saw were manicured lawns, concrete paths, and – what I hated most – artificial lights to brighten up the trees. The so-called supertrees were as fake as they come. They do not impress me at all.
What I felt after the two visits was a sense of plasticity – the lack of authenticity to the whole place was so pronounced that my friend and I pledged not to visit it again. Well, at least for the foreseeable future. And I can’t help but feel that the Gardens was entirely created to attract tourists and to sell Singapore’s brand name – nothing more than that.
I had hoped that the Gardens would be natural, that we would have real trees, with wild greenery left to grow on its own. I was even willing to live with the supertrees when I first heard about them. But from my visits, I realised the Gardens was just an artificial construct, so fake that I could not wait to get out of there.
I wish they had taken more time to let the trees and plants, flowers and grass grow organically, naturally. And for the park to be as natural as possible.
For me then it will be Lorong Halus. At least they’ve left it natural for the most part.
Gardens by the Bay is a big let down – especially with a S$1 billion price tag.