Hong Lim Green in Chinatown


Thanks to Cheang Hong Lim, the businessman with a philanthropic bent of mind for gifting Singapore the first private public garden, Hong Lim Green in Chinatown. Today, it is known as the Hong Lim Park which is regularly maintained by the Singapore Government. Cheang Hong Lim donated $3,000 to convert the front space of the old Central Police Station into a public garden. This was how the Hong Lim Green in Chinatown was planned. In the initial years only two gardeners appointed by Hong Lim used to look after the Hong Lim Green of Chinatown.

Within a very short span of time it became a popular venue for carrying out election rallies and now it has been metamorphosed into a stage where public concerts and cultural programmes are conducted. During the Japanese occupation Hong Lim Green was a center of storytelling and in 1950s and 60s Singapore Chinese Recreation Club and the Singapore Cricket Club used the park space as a cricket ground. It was from 1970s when Chinese operas started performing in Hong Lim Green in Chinatown.

Thus, from being a center of political rallies to cricket ground Hong Lim Green was gradually transformed to a center of entertainment and communication from 1970s onwards. Various community events are held over there and the park is actually serving as a forum where people of varied culture and language are interacting in a very non- political fashion. Hong Lim Green also accommodates Singapore's first Speaker's Corner since 2000.

Hong Lim Park is located at the gateway to the Central Business District and thus it is very near to Singapore River and the Chinatown Historic District.

The park is bounded by busy roads on all its sides like North Canal Road, Upper Pickering Street, South Bridge Road and New Bridge Road with police post inside the old Kreta Ayer Post Office building. A part of Hong Lim Green in Chinatown is now being occupied by Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre. Hong Lim Green in Chinatown had got a great historical and cultural significance as a tropical urban park , a green open space surrounded by large trees and as a center of promoting community harmony through various events and public meetings.
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