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An owner of a semi-detached house in Tanah Merah who spent more than $150,000 creating a mini ‘theme park’ in his home has been ordered by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to remove it.
This comes after the agency received a complaint about the semi-detached house in Jalan Chempaka Kuning and ordered its owner to remove the decorations.
Mr Cheong Boo Wee, 63, told Shin Min Daily News that after he moved into the house 25 years ago, he started placing statues of animals and cartoon characters outside his home.
He also kept more than 30 parrots and converted his courtyard into a mini theme park or a mini-zoological garden as he would call it.
“I have always loved animals since I was young.
“Ever since I moved in here, I wanted to create an attraction in the neighbourhood. Recently, there was a group of cyclist who specially rode down from Yishun to visit my theme park.
“Some curious tourists would occasionally press on my doorbell to ask about the park, and I would bring them in for a tour.”
Reporters who went down to Mr Cheong's house observed that there were statues of animals placed outside the house, including a rhinoceros, parrot, cow, tortoise, and monkey.
In addition, Mr Cheong also placed up sculptures of cartoon characters like Batman and Green Lantern to draw in younger visitors.
The homeowner revealed that he has spent at least $150,000 on the theme park in conjunction with the Community in Bloom programme launched by the National Parks Board (NParks) back in 2014.
Mr Cheong added:
“I wanted to create a kampung spirit, and let everyone revel in it.
“The neighbours nearby could gather every night to chat and catch up.”
However, the LTA received a complaint in May which alleged that the theme park obstructed common pathways.
The agency thus asked Mr Cheong to remove the sculptures from the pathways.
Although Mr Cheong complied and moved some of the statues, he later received a letter from LTA asking him to remove the rest of them, or he could be fined.
Some residents in the area have opposed to the demolishing of the theme park.
A resident who has stayed in the neighbourhood for more than 20 years, Mr Qiang Deming, 77, said:
“I feel that the theme park makes the neighbourhood more interesting and it is an attractive sight.”
He said that he felt that removing the theme park was a waste and there were many residents who shared his feelings.
Another resident, Mr Wang, 60, commented that the theme park has brought life to the neighbourhood and many visitors would come down on the weekends just to catch a glimpse of it.