Mandai Road

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala

The two-lane Mandai Road connects Woodlands Road to the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Sembawang Road.The road was paved in 1855, and located along it are landmarks such as the Singapore Zoo and the Mandai Orchid Gardens.2

History
The name “Mandai” first appeared on the 1828 Plan of Singapore by Captain James Franklin on which a river was labelled “R. Mandi”. Some believe that the name was taken from an unidentified tree. Others suggest that “Mandai” might be a corruption of mandi, meaning “bathe” in Malay, as the river could have been used for this purpose. Constructed in 1855,Mandai Road is surrounded by greenery.Tin was also reportedly mined at the 11th Mile Mandai Road in 1907 by a businessman, Tan Kim Wah; it is a rare record of tin found in Singapore.5


In 2001, the National Parks Board (NParks) initiated the Heritage Road Scheme to conserve scenic roads lined with mature trees and greenery. With that, roads would not be widened or realigned unless there were compelling reasons.6 Mandai Road was identified as a Heritage Road, and in 2005, it was gazetted for conservation under the Parks and Trees Act. This extended the conservation of greenery to 10 m on both sides of each road. Trees along these roads cannot be cut down and no development is allowed within the 10-metre-wide buffer zone. 7

Description
Mandai Road, which is about 1.084 km long, passes through a part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve within which the Singapore Zoo, Mandai Orchid Gardens, Seletar Reservoir and Seletar Reservoir Park are located.8

Landmarks
Designed by Chan Kui Chuan, the Singapore Zoo was built in 1973 and spread over 28 ha of thick woods. The zoo is known for its unique style of display using open animal enclosures. Mandai Orchid Gardens, built in 1960, is a privately owned four-hectare garden located on Mandai Lake Road, off Mandai Road.9

Seletar Reservoir at the Mandai Road area was constructed in 1969 by the Public Works Department and is one of the largest water catchment areas in Singapore. Also on Mandai Road and built slightly later in 1973, Seletar Reservoir Park is a frequent haunt for joggers, walkers and horse riders.10

Orchidville is a private orchid farm located off Mandai Road and owned by the Phua brothers. Opened in 1994, it is spread over 43 ha of land, making it the largest orchid farm in Singapore.11

In 2002, it was announced that the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex located off Mandai Road will undergo expansion works estimated to cost S$63 million. There will be a new crematorium building and six columbaria blocks that can house 79,000 additional niches for remains.12 Also along Mandai Road is a 13-hectare golf course built in 1992 for S$2 million by the Public Works Department.13

In 2016, Mandai Safari Park Holdings announced that the Mandai area off Mandai Road would be turned into a nature precinct. Targeted to be completed by 2023, the area would comprise two new wildlife parks – the new Rainforest Park and the relocated Bird Park – in addition to the existing Singapore Zoo, River Safari and the Night Safari.14



Author
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 500. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])

2. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 500. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Edition, p. 247. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
4. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 500. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
5. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Publications, pp. 203–204. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
6. Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. (2001, August 17). Speech by Mr Mah Bow Tan, minister for national development at the official opening of Hindhede Nature Park on 17 August 2001, 9.30am at Hindhede Nature Park. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/; Neo, H. M. (2001, August 18). New laws protect local treesThe Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Teo, J. (2005, January 26). Heritage Roads. The Straits Times, p. 1; Tan, H. Y. (2005, February 12). Roads now safe heavens for trees. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 500. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); National Parks Board. (2015, February 4). Mandai Road. Retrieved on 2020, April 30 from the National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/heritage-roads/mandai-road
9. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
10. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, pp. 44, 500. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
11. Orchid farm now also blooms as a party venue. (2002, December 27). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Mandai crematorium to get $63m expansion. (2002, February 5). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Work on Seletar Reservoir Park golf course begins. (1992, July 5). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Tan, A. & Pang, X..Q.  (2016, June 2). Mandai to be nature hub with five wildlife parks. The Straits Times, p. 1; Ramchandani, N. (2016, June 2). New Bird Park and Rainforest attraction to refresh Mandai. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at May 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Law and government>>National development>>Urban development
Street names--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
urbanization--Singapore
Streets and Places