Build park around Jurong Falls

Jurong Falls located inside an aviary at the Jurong Bird Park.
Jurong Falls located inside an aviary at the Jurong Bird Park.PHOTO: ST FILE

When the Jurong Bird Park, which was opened by the late Dr Goh Keng Swee in 1971, moves to its new home in Mandai next year as scheduled, the original site's waterfall will be in its 49th, but hopefully, not its last year.

Though man-made, the Jurong Falls - in a country with few natural scenic spots - has been a source of pride and joy to many Singaporeans.

At 30m, it was at one time the world's tallest man-made waterfall, and provided many schoolchildren like me in the 1970s, when chances to travel overseas did not come by easily, with our first awe-inspiring experience of a waterfall.

Today, as the Jurong Falls approaches its half-century mark, it looks as good as ever - if not better, because the foliage of nearby trees and shrubs as well as moss and algae have covered most of the artificial-looking rock face.

I hope this oasis of peace and tranquillity in the midst of bustling Jurong industrial estate will not be razed to the ground and be replaced by more factories once the Park's birds have been moved to Mandai.

I appeal to the authorities to retain the parts of Jurong Bird Park with its waterfall and lake as a reservoir park which can double as a nature sanctuary to be enjoyed by Singaporeans.

The Jurong Falls' new park, which could perhaps be named "Jurong Waterfall Garden", would also serve as a reminder to future generations of a time when a young nation confidently faced its future and aimed high by building an internationally-acclaimed tourist attraction with the world's tallest man-made waterfall.

Edwin Pang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Build park around Jurong Falls'. Print Edition | Subscribe