Saturday, 6 June 2009

Where have all the water gone?

Dashed expectations: Lily pond at Penang Botanic Gardens

The Penang Botanic Gardens has an official website. About the Lily Pond, the website gushed enthusiastically:
"This area is pleasant and enchanting, with a cool, serene and tranquil ambience. Visitors to this area will definitely feel the difference and be mesmerised with the vegetation and greenery which set the Lily pond apart from its surroundings. With the background of a hilly terrain on the left and right sides, the Lily Pond is covered with the natural vegetation of the primary forest. A rippling waterfall flows into the pond decked with aquatic plants. This is indeed beautifully landscaped."
When I visited the Botanic Gardens recently, I told myself that I must visit the Lily Pond. I hadn't been here for more than 20 years. Would it still retain its old charm and character? With a lot of expectation, I trod along one of the parallel paths that led inwards to the pond. Lush greenery surrounded me on both sides of the path and I could feel the temperature dropping by one or two degrees. Mmm ... refreshing.

And pretty soon, I saw the signboard that announced, ta dah .... the Lily Pond.

But what did I see? I didn't see a Lily Pond "covered with the natural vegetation of the primary forest" or a rippling waterfall that flowed into "the pond decked with aquatic plants." What did I see? I saw this:

Is this what has become of the Lily Pond at the Penang Botanic Gardens? It's dry and barren. I'm so flabbergasted that this attraction has degenerated into such a poor state. No water, no pond, no Lily plants, least of all, no waterfall cascading into the pond. How many more people have turned away disappointed? I don't know how it is going to be done but the Lily Pond must be rehabilitated to its former splendour. And in the meantime, the official website continues to be misleading.

Obviously, the Lily Pond has seen better days. Even one year ago, the pond was alive and still teeming with vegetation as shown by this photo by Kazuo Lim:

By the way, I noticed these two pillars. Was work already being carried out at the Lily Pond? If so, it sure looked like an abandoned project to me!


Jeffrey Chew said...

As usual, like BM hills, your comments are being viewed. :)

stephen said...

I live near the botanic gardens and the last time i was there about a month ago,the pond was in that dry state,thought it was undergoing restoration. I still have photos and home movies of the pond taken more than 50 years back..It looked in better state then!