NParks unveils Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque and commemorative stamps
06 Aug 2015
Naming of SG50 orchid at the start of three-day Jubilee Weekend celebrations
7 August 2015 – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today unveiled the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque during the People’s Variety Show at the Gardens’ Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage. The Gardens was inscribed as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4 July. The plaque will be installed at the Garden’s Tanglin Gate.
The Gardens was instrumental in the development of Singapore’s and the region’s economy, from the introduction of rubber in the late 1890s to early 1900s and the development of the orchid industry from the 1930s. When Singapore became newly independent, the Gardens played an integral role in then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s vision of turning Singapore into a Garden City by providing saplings through its nursery and setting up the first school of horticulture. Beyond its value as a botanical research institution, the Gardens is well-loved by generations of Singaporeans, who have fond memories of their visits. The inscription of the Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fitting present for Singapore’s Jubilee Year and will continue to encourage future generations of Singaporeans to appreciate our City in a Garden.
Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site Stamps
At the People’s Variety Show, Prime Minister Lee also launched the Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site stamps to commemorate the inscription of the Gardens. Produced by Singapore Post Limited in partnership with the National Parks Board (NParks), the commemorative stamps celebrate the Gardens’ rich heritage and feature illustrations of its well-loved icons such as the gazebo at the Bandstand, Burkill Hall and Tanglin Gate.
Naming of Papilionanthe Singapore Golden Jubilee Orchid
At the same event, Prime Minister Lee officially named the SG50 orchid – Papilionanthe Singapore Golden Jubilee, in celebration of Singapore’s Jubilee. Tracing its lineage back to Singapore’s national flower, the blooms of this new hybrid are slightly larger than those of Vanda Miss Joaquim (Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim), signifying the nation’s growth from strength to strength. A vigorous and hardy plant, this hybrid has also inherited the resilience of our national flower.
Created by the Singapore Botanic Gardens, this free flowering orchid hybrid produces upright flower sprays that bear flowers successively over a period of time. The plants flourish in clusters, much like how Singapore has flourished through the unified efforts of its people. (See Media Factsheet A for more information)
Jubilee Weekend celebrations at the Gardens
Today’s concert, part of NParks’ Concert Series in the Park, kicked off the Jubilee Weekend celebrations at the Gardens. A series of exciting and fun-filled activities from 7 August to 9 August have been lined up to mark Singapore’s 50th birthday as one community and to commemorate the progress made in 50 years of greening Singapore. The Jubilee Weekend at the Gardens is made possible by the generous support of presenting sponsor Sembcorp Industries Ltd.
The Gardens had played a pivotal role in the shaping of Singapore’s multi-cultural fabric in the days leading up to Singapore’s Independence. On 2 August 1959, Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew officially opened the first cultural concert with a multi-ethnic theme known as “Aneka Ragam Ra’ayat” or The People’s Variety Show at the lawn overlooking Swan Lake, at the Gardens, and said to an audience of 22,000, “Here, under open skies, Malays, Chinese, Indians will, I hope, discover the materials for a national art and national culture”. It was a key historical milestone marking the first multi-cultural performance in Singapore. Today, the Gardens continues to play an important role in fostering social cohesion by providing a common space for the community to bond through multi-ethnic performances.
Reminiscent of the first “Aneka Ragam Ra’ayat” concert held in 1959, today’s People’s Variety Show, hosted by Suhaimi Yusof and Vernetta Lopez, featured 13 local artistes and groups including Corrinne May, Olivia Ong, Rui En, Taufik Batisah, John Molina, Shabir, and cultural dance troupes performing contemporary and evergreen songs in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Visitors to the Gardens were also treated to enthralling performances by the T’ang Quartet at the Bandstand and the outdoor movie screening of “It’s a Great Great World”.
Visitors to the Gardens on 8 August can look forward to performances by the Singapore Lyric Opera, The Sam Willows, Brass Nation, and an outdoor movie screening of “Singapore Dreaming”. The festivities will culminate in a live telecast of the National Day Parade with pre-telecast performances by local artistes such as Sezairi and a cappella group, Vocaluptuous, on 9 August.
Other fringe activities include the Jubilee Weekend Carnival at the Bandstand and Maranta Avenue near the National Orchid Garden from 10am to 5pm. Visitors can take part in fun activities such as face painting, batik painting and ketupat weaving as well as nostalgic childhood games like five stones, hopscotch, chapteh, and pickup sticks. Food and beverages booths at the carnival will offer a wide range of local delights including chicken rice, nasi lemak, satay and laksa as well as snacks like old school biscuits and kacang puteh.
In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to view over 16,000 orchid plants and 55 botanical illustrations by 36 international artists as well as botanical art from the Gardens’ own collection at the ongoing “Botanical Inspirations” exhibition. Singapore residents also enjoy free entry to the National Orchid Garden over the Jubilee Weekend until 31 August. NParks has also organised other exciting upcoming programmes at the Gardens in the coming months. (See Media Factsheet B for more information)
In conjunction with Jubilee Weekend celebrations, festive menus and promotions have been specially created by the Gardens’ food and beverage outlets including Halia, Casa Verde, Corner House, The Dunearn at NUSS, and Food Canopy. Diners will be able to look forward to special SG50 treats such as Durian Bread and Butter Pudding and Orchid Tea Collection. Botanical inspired gifts are also available at the Gardens Shops located at Tanglin Gate, Nassim Gate and the National Orchid Garden. (See Media Factsheet C for more information)
Visitors are advised to take public transport to the Gardens. Shuttle bus services will be available from Botanic Gardens MRT station on 7 and 8 August from 10am to 11pm. On 9 August, shuttle bus services will run from 10am to 10pm.