While at the event, one can't help but notice the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) standing just behind the God of Fortune. It is as if he is blessing the soon to be completed MBS with good luck in the Year of the Tiger.
Coincidentally, its counterpart Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) opened its doors at the auspicious time of 12.18 pm on 14 February 2010, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Perhaps a not so well-known but no less important "opening" is the recent launch of the online newspapers archive called NewspaperSG. It is an initiative of the National Library Singapore that provides library patrons with access to digital copies of Singapore newspapers dating back to 1831.
Do you know whose original idea it was to build the Integrated Resorts? Certainly not this guy. Searching through NewspaperSG, I found a letter in the Straits Times Forum page of 10 June 1985 which was written by someone with the pseudonym "Go for Broke" who suggested the development of a casino as well as a night racing track in Sentosa. (Possibly since the 1990s, Straits Times had disallowed the use of pseudonyms for letters to the Forum.) The letter is reproduced here:
Sentosa casino will draw touristsGuess what was the reply from Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC)? The suggestions were dismissed, of course. Here's the reply dated 15 June 1985 from Miss Cheryl Lee, Head (Public Relations) of SDC:
While neighbouring countries are feverishly developing new holiday resorts to promote tourism, our own efforts in this area seem perfunctory by comparison.
On our part, we should upgrade Sentosa into a holiday resort of international standard. We could, I venture to suggest, develop a hotel-cum-casino complex there and perhaps throw in a race track for night racing as a novelty.
In these difficult times for the tourism industry, bold and imaginative steps need to be taken by the authorities concerned to attract more tourists to our shores.
GO FOR BROKE
Casino out of the question for SentosaA quarter of a century later, everyone now knows that both ideas of "Go for Broke" have been adopted by the Government, although the night racing track is not located in Sentosa. But we did even better, didn't we? We will soon have TWO casinos instead of one. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We refer to the letter "Sentosa casino will draw tourists" by "Go for Broke". (ST, June 10).
The development philosophy of the Sentosa Development Corporation is to develop Sentosa into a resort island for tourists and a holiday retreat for Singaporeans.
The many attractions cater for the varied needs of the visitors and are aimed at the family group as well as the individual. Plans are in hand to upgrade existing facilities as well as to add new attractions.
Wholesome recreational activities are also organised for a wider participation. The casino and race track idea does not form part of the aforementioned concept.
We would however wish to thank "Go for Broke" for his interesting suggestions.
CHERYL LEE (MISS)
Head (Public Relations)
In fact, we should thank "Go for Broke" for the suggestion to develop the casino and night racing track. He/she is obviously someone with great foresight. The only problem about expressing our gratitude is that we don't even his/her real name!