Friday, May 7, 2010

bronze elephant at old parliament house

since the shift to the new building in october 1999, the old parliament house has been converted into an arts house. the old parliament house was built as the residence of john argyle maxwell, a merchant whose base was in java. it was bought by the government to be used as the court house. the two-storey house was completed in 1827 but maxwell did not live in the house at all. instead he rented it to the goverment.

the bronze elephant statue, that still stands in front of the stately building, was presented to the singapore government by king chulalongkorn of siam (thailand) after his visit to singapore in march 1871.

king chulalongkorn (rama v) was the first siamese king ever to leave his country to travel overseas and he chose singapore as the first country to visit.

the statue was originally placed in front of the victoria memorial hall where the statue of sir stamford raffles now stands. it was moved to its present site in the old parliament house in 1919 when singapore celebrated the centenary of its founding.

it is the only monument with inscriptions in english, jawi, chinese and thai. if you cross over to queen elizabeth walk and look at lim boh seng's memorial, there are also inscriptions in four languages but the thai has been replaced by tamil.


Icemoon said...

Dunno why Chulalongkorn gave elephants everywhere he went. In Jakarta, their national museum is aptly named Gedung Gajah, after his gift elephant. See wiki photo.

yg said...

icemoon, cos thailand got a lot of elephants, mah.