Some of you may remember the big fake volcano in Sentosa. Our latest grand attraction is in all counts another big artificiality in the vein of Hollywood, bright lights and humanly designed waterfalls, designer buildings and all the jazz. And the people lap it all up as the latest craze in town. It has outdone the cosplay event in town, where ordinary people could dress up as superheros or their favourite anime characters to live a few moments of fantasy.
In the new fantasy garden, many interesting programmes have been lined up for the visitors from food to education, and participation in all the botany related activities, understanding or getting close to nature in a souped up environment.
In an instant, one is transported into another wonderland of what humans think are desirable, to please the emptiness of dull city folks with plenty of money and nowhere to go, or not knowing what to do. It is a smaller version of the tranquil island of Sentosa, once a verdant little tropical jungle where one could enjoy nature, serenity, sand and sea for free. Like Sentosa, the new garden fantasy doesn’t come cheap for each visit.
What happens to the genuine century old Botanic Garden that is cultivated through time and by the hands of nature? What happens to the Wetland Reserves where a family could have a real taste of nature, practically for free? What is it like to enjoy a few hours sitting silently in the reserve, feeling nature, listening to nature and be a part of nature?
How much does it need to create this great nature disneyland that needs not be or could be created at lesser cost, lesser consumption of resources and expenses while preserving or destroying nature in the process? Could a more natural habitat living to the name of a tropical paradise, a little tropical jungle in the city be created in much lesser cost and much more nature friendly than this mammoth of human creation and achievement? How much more will it cost to run the attraction though the bills will be partially paid by the visitors?
What’s next? An interconnecting sky garden across the island like the hanging garden of Babylon, in much grander scale? Avatar was about the return to nature and its mystic, protecting nature and nature’s way of life. In the creation of our own Avatar, are we protecting nature or destroying nature in the process? The hidden costs and destruction to nature to bring about this wonder are not small in wonder. The continuous maintenance and creation of consumer demand and consumption in the whole process are the price to pay for this new gracious lifestyle, a visit to the Garden.
Do we need such a garden? Plenty of jobs are created which is good for the economy and economic growth. Do we need more of such jobs? Do we need more food and restaurants, more shopping centres and shops, build more expensive properties for sale to foreigners? Do we need to put up more containers to collect tin cans, plastics and papers to save the environment and mother earth?