New *scape building to be ready in Orchard by end of 2009

Youths will have a new place to hang out in the heart of the city by the end of next year.

The *scape building being built next to Cathay Cineleisure Orchard will be a place where Singapore youths can express themselves.

Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said the building will also be involved in the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Dancing, sports and music are just some of the recreational activities that will be available at *scape.
But it will also be a place where 15 to 35 year olds can try out their entrepreneurial skills.

The innovative design and rising construction costs have increased the cost of building *scape from S$25 million to S$40 million.

The Tote Board is donating S$10 million to the project.

At the ground-breaking ceremony on Sunday, Dr Balakrishnan said the design is worth the extra money.

And *scape will have role in the Youth Olympic Games 2010.

He said: “It will be a showcase, an icon of youth talent in Singapore. I can imagine bringing the overseas guests to this place and basically letting them have a good time and getting a taste, a flavour of what young Singaporeans are all about.”

Dr Balakrishnan said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew asked him two key questions after Singapore won the bid last week.

The first was where will the games be held because Singapore will not have a National Stadium by 2010.

So YOG events will be held in the heartland sports facilities.

And Dr Balakrishnan said these will be upgraded so Singaporeans will also benefit from the world-class facilities.

But he said Mr Lee’s second point involves changing software, not hardware.

Dr Balakrishnan said: “The second question, or actually the challenge he threw, was that this is a great opportunity. Let’s uplift our people, bring ourselves up and truly create a gracious society and let’s use the games as an opportunity to test ourselves, to showcase ourselves and to benchmark ourselves.”

He added that it is time for Singapore to develop a polite and considerate culture for the country’s sake not just because of the YOG.

And that way visitors to the Games will know the warm welcome they receive is genuine and not just for show. – CNA/ch

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 24 Feb 2008

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