A Final Plea From Turtle Museum Owner
Last year, we talked about The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum of Singapore and they were looking at the inevitability of closing forever as their lease ran out. Despite their Jurong lease expiring in March 2018, that hasn’t stopped owner Connie Tan from reaching out to all possible avenues to keep her museum alive.
Unfortunately, Ms Tan’s conquest to find her reptilian occupants a new home have been fruitless. Leaving her with no choice but to seek help from the country’s most powerful man himself — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Will Ms Tan’s plea actually reach Mr Lee Hsien Loong himself? Let’s find out.
Efforts to find a new home in vain
As covered in our article late last year, Ms Tan was seeking alternative locations such as Kusu Island and Farmart Centre due her lease expiring later this March.
However, as explained in her plea to PM Lee, her efforts had been all for naught.
These were the following agencies that Ms Tan had reached out to but to no avail:
- NParks — due to the species not originating from Singapore, they’re not allowed to occupy land cared by NParks. They were also not drawn into the new Jurong redevelopment plans.
- Singapore Land Authority (SLA) — stated that ORTO wasn’t allowed to display and exhibit turtles.
- AVA — mentioned that the situation was out of their control.
- Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) — said that they were “stone-walled” by NParks.
Seems like most of the issues point to the rules and regulations set by NParks.
Could this truly be the end of the turtle museum after 16 long years at Chinese Garden?
Positive signs of survival
According to Ms Tan, there are currently two options for location availability.
However, due to the low entrance fee – which was used to cover overheads and operational costs – over the years, she will likely be unable to pay for the rebuilding of the home.
Which is why she has set up this fundraising campaign to rebuild a home for the turtles — aiming to raise a total of $2 million.
Last week, our sister company The Smart Local reached out to Ms Tan to help raise awareness for her museum.
They produced the following TSL story feature:
The video went viral, and sparked a renewed interest in the turtle museum and Ms Tan’s plight.
Miraculously, donations increased from $800 USD to over $5,107 USD after the video was posted with a link to the donation page.
Her story also brought out the goodness in Singaporeans as many volunteered to help in the comments thread.
Check out some of their offers:
While the offers and donations are positive signs for Ms Tan and her museum, it would seem that perhaps only one man can make a difference now.
Would our very own Prime Minister reply to – let alone read – her plea on his Facebook?
PM Lee responds
Not only did Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong totally read what she had written, he even left an acknowledgement with a touch of possibly positive news for the turtle museum.
While it isn’t much to behold, he assured Ms Tan that the Ministry of National Development and the various agencies were looking into her case.
Could this be a stroke of fortune for her?
The fate of the turtles
Only time will tell now what the future holds for the turtles.
With her plea to PM Lee seemingly successful, could it simply be a matter of time before the turtles get their new homes? Or will they succumb to the same fate as Singapore’s only cat museum?
In the meanwhile, you can always still visit them at the following:
1 Chinese Garden Road
Featured image from TheSmartLocal and The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum of Singapore’s Facebook.