Singapore Botanic Garden bidding for Unesco heritage listing


Singapore is bidding to have its 183-acre Botanic Garden listed as a Unesco heritage site. How does our expanded Penang Botanic Garden, 590 acres including surrounding hills, compare to this, considering the damage and neglect it experienced in recent years?

Thanks to blog visitor Don Anamalai for the link.

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  1. The newly gazetted site is 590 acres but only about a quarter of that is accessible to ordinary folk, the rest is made up of hilly land and jungle, which should of course be conserved but improved by adding signage, distance measures, and safer paths. The plants in the gardens proper can be further improved and the jogging track can be resurfaced. Enforcement is also important to ensure a safe environment for visitors. Right now, even the staff of the Botanical Gardens Department drive their vehicles into the gardens and park their cars inside when they can just as easily use the car park and walk. Not only is it dangerous for visitors, it gives tourists a bad impression of the mentality of Penangites.

    As a whole though, the landscape and terrain of our Botanical Gardens is probably the most unique and beautiful in the world. And I say this after being having been to and seen many botanical gardens around the world. All we need is better maintenance and enforcement.

  2. Our beloved botanical gardens are at a cross roads but its not all bad. We have a strong loyal local following utilising the gardens and surrounding area from hikers, to walkers / joggers, cyclists, tai chi classes, etc. It has to be said that at least its not a white elephant.

    Now the management of the gardens is another matter. 1st impressions when you come in is that its a total mess. That is the area where morons feed the monkeys and it is so dirty. Very bad as its supposed to be our showcase of nature!

    Once you get over that, the rest of the gardens are not too bad EXCEPT……..people are wondering around aimlessly. So basically there needs to be a concept for the gardens. Are they wanting to educate people on the plants? If so, there are hardly any signs to tell you what they are. Is it supposed to be a leisurely walk through the jungle? There are trails in the surrounding areas, but they’re not marked. Even the one narrow concrete trail near the lily pond is poorly maintained and in some parts dangerous with fungus on the surface of the concrete (oddly if your forte is gardens, you’d know this would happen to concrete in a damp area).

    The positive is that when you know the gardens, it is still very nice going for a run there so there is a good vibe in there away from the entrance. I suggest they need to tweak what they have rather than the usual government overhaul that eventually ruins things.

    In my opinion they need a proper facility manager. Its clear whomever is in charge has no passion or pride in the gardens.

    1) Get rid of that stupid pond outside the gates. It doesn’t fit with the aesthetics of the gardens and no body uses it at all. I never say this, but perhaps it would even be better served as a car park or put an info counter there. Or if possible move the gates (as opposed to putting up a new gate which they would deem as progress) out to expand the gardens.
    2) Hire or train staff to be PROPER customer orientated staff (i.e. not the usual govt servant type with zero enthusiasm). Starting with an info counter just in the gates rather than a couple of people sitting on plastic chairs who don’t know anything. They can even print out little maps and sell them.
    3) KEEP IT CLEAN ALL THE TIME – not enough signs around the gardens to ask people to keep the gardens clean, and not enough waste paper baskets (which have to be properly cleaned and emptied). This may be cosmetic but if the park is clean in addition to the above, slowly the culture of human monkeys littering will change.
    4) Actually have some info for people.
    5) Related to the top they need to mark out what is an attraction to the gardens. e.g. name the u-shaped walk on the right of the park or even the steps on the left to No.46.
    6) Maintain paths that they already have.
    7) Put up a “you are here” map for reference around the gardens. e.g. there is even a nicely landscaped garden next door at the quarry which no one goes to as its not sign posted.
    8) Put proper signs at the base of the plants to identify them.
    9) Mark out a couple of hiking trails. This does NOT mean putting concrete steps and concrete paths. Just clear and maintain one or 2 short jungle trails with small wooden arrows marking the path clearly.
    10) If there is a nursery, why not open it to the public to see how it works.
    11) Put a volunteer programme together – Have a WALKING tour (its not that big a park so what’s with healthy young people taking the petrol train that contributes to air and noise pollution – shameful) of the gardens done by volunteers who are passionate e.g. Cheong Fatt Tse Mansion do this as its great. But this means someone needs to train them. You can have even have additional tour guides just taking people into the surrounding trails for those who are up for adventure.

    Anyway, in short it needs someone who is passionate, knows what they’re trying to achieve, and has pride in what they’re doing to run it as there are many improvements that can be made today that don’t cost any money. But unfortunately as they don’t cost big money, I agree with one of the other people putting up the post, I suspect no one in government will take it on. That has been clear with how we do things in Malaysia.

    Throwing it up there, why don’t the government speak to the Tropical Spice Garden or Escape guys to consult on how to do a professional job down there and train someone on how to manage and MAINTAIN a facility like that?

    • I think they have someone who used to work at Kew Garden now advising the management of the garden.

  3. I don’t know about the Singapore Botanic Garden, but our Penang Botanic Garden and Municipal Park is also a great place. The only problem is that in my morning walks and observations, the place is not well looked after. Lots of rubbish, partly distributed courtesy of our monkey denizens which threw them out of the rubbish bins. But there are branches which needed to be chopped down, concrete pathways which are damaged which should be repaired. There are a lot of dirty throwaways around. The authorities should employ guards to fine people on the spot, especially the picnickers who do not make any attempt to throw paper boxes, empty cans and mineral bottles, and left over food into the rubbish bins provided. Maybe it will be a good idea to ban bringing food into the Garden for consumption. The streams are not cleared of broken branches and leaves and other bric-a-brac. I wonder what the Garden Supervisors have been doing. The spectacle of an unkempt garden is a bad reflection of our housekeeping of a public space, especially when tourists visit it.

    • What’s a pity when you mention the condition of botanic garden.Bringing food cannot be a issue.People’s goes with family and Public Garden cannot ban people’s bringing food.It’s not like Theme Park where they make money.

      The problems is 3rd class mentality of whoever throw rubbish but the worst is no mentality at all by the caretaker.The authority of the Park have no mentality and the state government who are rich don’t bother about Public Park or Public needs.

      rajraman .It’s common for Politician care for high income project where can make money but they don’t care about Public needs.Politician is a trader.This Political Trader more dangerous then businessman.They even can sell their Saliva.

      Selamat Hari Raya Haji to all Malaysian.


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