Don’t you love it when a powerful fella in the old imperialist days had a hobby to give mother nature a tribute instead of sporting a war or genocide? I think for most colonials at that time, Sir Stamford Raffles’ hobby to build enormous gardens was quite uncanny. His dedication to wildlife was so great that he had his name immortalized as a genus of parasitic flowering plants: Rafflesia.
Singapore Botanical Garden is one of Raffles’ great legacies. He built a large garden in Singapore and one in Indonesia. Like everything in Singapore, the garden is clean, tidy, and well-maintained, but unlike its sister in Indonesia, Singapore Botanical Garden has no admission fee, making it the best public area in Singapore.
Inside the botanical garden, lying at the core, is the national orchid garden. It has the most impressive orchids collection from all over the world. I had never seen so many orchids species in my life, and for a S$5, it was worth it. One of the highlights in the garden was a VIP orchid garden. Named over 100 state visitors and other VIPs. I saw an orchid named Dendrobium Margaret Thatcher, Vandaenopsis Nelson Mandela, and there was even an orchid named after the late wife of Indonesian smiling general/dictator Soeharto: Dendrobium Tien Soeharto.
Surrounded with lots of plants and colorful flowers, Singapore Botanical Garden is the perfect place to rest your mind, or to find what Master Shifu said in Kung Fu Panda: your inner peace. It’s a place to catch a refreshing breath in a total tranquility, a place where you can find zen for your soul in the middle of the city that’s moving really fast.