What Jurong Lake District needs is sci-fi theme park

Where the Jurong Lake District is concerned, a park inspired by science fiction, as well as science and technology, with a focus on astronomy, ecology and a smart digital-enabled lifestyle should be the way forward.
Where the Jurong Lake District is concerned, a park inspired by science fiction, as well as science and technology, with a focus on astronomy, ecology and a smart digital-enabled lifestyle should be the way forward. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

What Jurong Lake District needs is a science-fiction theme park, not Singapore's version of Tokyo's Odaiba mixed development area, as the two precincts are like chalk and cheese in many ways (New large-scale tourism development to be built in Jurong Lake District, April 16).

Instead, our equivalent of Odaiba is the Greater Southern Waterfront precinct at Tanjong Pagar, including Sentosa.

With the right people in place, we can certainly do better than our Japanese friends in making the precinct a more accessible, relaxing and exciting seaside destination for locals and tourists alike, sans the trite and pretentious moniker of Asia's Southern Gateway that our technocrats have on paper.

Where the Jurong Lake District is concerned, a park inspired by science fiction, as well as science and technology, with a focus on astronomy, ecology and a smart digital-enabled lifestyle should be the way forward.

This, given our plans to build a new science centre alongside a refurbishment of the current one.

Why not set this vision loose as the fulcrum of the entire park and create something truly magical as the 2001: Space Odyssey of science museums and parks - the crucible of interdisciplinary interaction between science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the humanities, arts and design for our Smart Nation ambitions? After all, is the area not wedged between two of our leading universities, in what is arguably our Silicon Valley?

To top it off, an outstanding design for the planned science centre and an attached hotel has already been drafted - architect and designer Frank Gehry's deconstructed masterpiece for the failed Sentosa integrated resort bid by the Kerzner/CapitaLand consortium in 2006.

The facility's magnificence alone would be worth a visit to Singapore and Jurong, and should change the face of the Jurong Lake District the way Gehry's Guggenheim Museum has done for the Spanish industrial city of Bilbao.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'What Jurong Lake District needs is sci-fi theme park'. Print Edition | Subscribe