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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fort Canning Park with LAS members

Just went for a heritage guided walk of Fort Canning Park, conducted by NParks board, on 17 Sep 2010, Friday (3 pm – 5.30 pm).

This guided walk is organised by LAS (Library Association of Singapore) and our guide is Ms Lee Wei Ling from National Park.  (Ms Lee is in her Twenty, and her full name is the same as the daughter of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. She said it makes her and her name hard to forget for most Singaporean.)

We are pleased to have a nice and cold walk in the afternoon as the heavy rain in the morning wash the heat away.  We are so fortunate to have a good day for this outdoor activity.

We enjoyed hearing many good tips on plants, some legends and interest story about Fort Canning from Ms Lee.  Ms Lee was surprised to note that what she thought as something uncommon or not easy to guess are well answered by the group members.  I think the Fort Canning is the Library of plants and LAS have a lot of good Librarians who love and know plants very well.

I enjoyed the afternoon walk with a group of knowledgeable Librarians.

As the walk were limited to 30 participants, and on a first-come, first-served basis, I am glad that I had signed up on 18 Aug and get myself registered!

About the walk

It is a leisurely stroll back into time to rediscover Fort Canning and its rich heritage within this verdant oasis in the heart of the city.

"Standing serenely amidst the bustling sprawl of the city, Fort Canning Park has plenty to be discovered and much to behold."

The walk let us find out about the many historical layers of this hill which is irrefutably intertwined with the history of Singapore. 

Being an old resident of Tan Tye Alley (A small lane no longer existed in Singapore street directory after mid 1970), the hill is my childhood play ground and it is nice to revisit it once in a while.

Tan Tye Alley which was a small lane adjacent to Tan Tye Place, it was just opposite Fort Canning Hill.  During my childhood time, our family was a tenant living on the third story of a unit (The address was 4A, Tan Tye Alley).

We used to enjoy watching fireworks showering down in front of us when we lay down to watch the show at our small open air roof-top balcony cum garden after dinner.  No firework can be watched as close and look as beautiful when I compare it with what was imprinted in my memory!

Tan Tye Alley (Some 3 storey units with the address No. 2, 4, 6, 8, etc and a big Ware House) is now part of Liang Court (Chinese: 亮阁) at Clarke Quay, near Singapore River

When our family members visited Liang Court the first few times, we always felt that we are visiting our old home and like to guess which shop is at our old home location! 

Now back the the walk!  Guided by Ms Lee, we climbed the hill and visited some other interesting sites:

  • Fort Gate and the nearby sites: Once the seat of Malay royalty in the 14th century and home to colonial governors in the 19th, it became a military base during the Second World War. Today, a display of ancient relics dating back to the 14th century as well as the Fort Gate, remnant of the fortress built in the 1860s, are reminders of Singapore’s rich past.

  • Spice Garden: Explored the world of spices which was part of the original tract of Singapore's first botanical and experimental garden, we learn about the importance of spice back then as well as how it has integrated into our lives today.

Whether it is botanical or historical, learning about our heritage is not possible through just a walk in the park, yet, it is a good starting point for some and good revision for me today!

What to take note if you plan to walk on your own in future:

  • Walk is moderately easy but will involve walking up slopes and steps so do come dressed comfortably. Sport shoes is the best!
  • It is also good to bring along a bottle of drinking water, hat/cap/umbrella/poncho, sun glasses and sunblock!
  • Apply insect repellent if you are likely to attract them.
Here is some good information:
Meeting point for the group: Courtyard opposite NParks Visitor Centre, Fort Canning Centre

Nearest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut or City Hall

Nearest carpark: carpark B off Percival Road

Professional Development Scheme (PDS) Points
Eligible for PDS Points:
This activity attracts 26 points under Category C – Personal Development. " Participate in any self-development or productivity course not directly related to library and information work (half day) “ 2. Reference: See para 4.6 of the PDS Guide [: ]

Source of information: Email from Programmes & Social Committee Dated 18 Aug 2010

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