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February 27, 2008

Offbeat Singapore: Newater Edutainment





Offbeat Singapore: Newater Edutainment

To sample an offbeat place of interest in Singapore, look no further than the Newater Visitor Centre at 20, Koh Sek Lim Road. A 20-seater free shuttle bus will fetch you from Tanah Merah MRT station 15 minutes before your scheduled tour. Tucked away from prying eyes off Upper Changi Road, the facility is a modern marvel of technology. Founded on heavy educational merit, Newater Visitor Centre welcomes students, researchers, scientists, foreign dignitaries and the population at large who are the eventual consumers of Newater.

Why Visit?
I asked myself the same question on my way to the Newater Visitor Centre. Who would want to spend time and effort to visit a government office building, to treat a visit there like a tour of a place of interest in Singapore, however offbeat it may sound? Am I working there or does my work require an official visit? Nope. Am I a grass-root leader or community sympathizer moonlighting as a blogger in support of the Gahmen? Nope. Do I own bonds, shares or other financial instruments invested in Newater? Nope. Am I a spy from another planet on a covert mission? Nope. I’m just an ordinary citizen looking for evidence to show that Newater is really safe to consume.

New Water
Through video presentations and interactive displays at the Newater Visitor Centre, I learned how vital water is to a small island. While my wife was fascinated by the technical mumbo jumbo on “skins” and “membranes”, I was more enthralled by the generous grants pumped into the set-up with its plush d├ęcor and robust air-conditioning, similar to a 5-star hotel’s standard. Children will be attracted to computers with giant LCD screens like bees to honey at the Newater Visitor Centre. Through eyeing the bowels of this behemoth manufacturing plant cum visitor center, I managed to understand how a simple idea to produce water could be translated into a weapon of mass construction. Elsewhere inside the Newater Visitor Centre, there were stations to learn how to save the third planet in our solar system using simple ingenious ways during household activities like dish washing, clothes washing and taking showers. At a certain juncture in the Newater Visitor centre, it felt like we were walking on a river, flanked by a waterfall, made entirely of Newater.

W(h)et My Appetite
If you’ve seen the unfiltered, untreated sources of Newater, sampling Newater can be a stomach-churning challenge. But in reality, I found the taste of Newater absolutely refreshingly bland. That’s really a compliment, considering its origins. My suggestion to improve the bottled version would consist of permutations of these words: colour, sweeteners, fizzle, hot, chilled, packaging and design. Look at the picture below to see how you can improve on its presentation.




Visitors like me who come to convince themselves that Newater is really safe will not be disappointed. If you bring kids to the Newater Visitor Centre to learn the finer art of micro-brewing potable water, get ready for an hour and a half of (Ne)water-filled fun.

Recommendation: Suitable for Kids, Family Friendly activity.

Take care and stay happy.


More information at Newater Visitor Centre

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