Don’t Worry Be Happy tiger statue moved to another Tampines Esso, Singapore

SINGAPORE — The much-loved tiger statue that was featured in popular 90s local sitcom Don’t Worry Be Happy has been rehomed to another petrol kiosk in Tampines.

This tiger statue, an icon for ExxonMobil’s Esso, had stood outside its petrol kiosk at Tampines Avenue 7 since 1994. An Esso station at Yishun Avenue 9 houses a similar tiger statue.

Following the closure of the Tampines Avenue 7 station on Sept 27, residents and fans of the sitcom called for the tiger statue to be retained.

Released by the Television Corporation of Singapore in 1996, Don’t Worry Be Happy was the first Singapore-produced Mandarin sitcom. It revolved around a family which runs an Esso petrol kiosk.

In an Instagram post on Nov 25, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng said he was happy Esso had decided to keep the statue in Tampines.

He attended an unveiling ceremony of the statue at its new home in Tampines Avenue 9 that morning. Richard Wan, composer of the theme song for Don’t Worry Be Happy, was also present.

In the caption, Baey wrote that the Tampines Avenue 9 petrol kiosk has been operating since 1994, and the surrounding area has new additions such as Tampines EcoGreen and ABC Waterway @ Sungei Tampines.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Nov 26, Baey said that with these amenities, the petrol kiosk is accessible to residents who want to get up close and personal with the tiger statue.

“I think it will continue to provide a link to the past, to good memories and a sense of pride for Tampines residents,” he said, adding that he has received positive feedback from residents who are happy the tiger statue is “back at home” in Tampines.

On Nov 26 on Facebook, user Tay Yong Hong said he visited the statue at its new home overlooking Tampines EcoGreen that morning. “It’s certainly a better environment,” he wrote.

Baey said: “Where it is feasible, reasonable and doable, it’s always good to keep part of our heritage and past as a symbol of what is etched in people’s memories and their past experiences.”

In an ST article on Sept 29, Baey said a proposal for a Neighbourhood Renewal Programme to revamp the area features a marker for Tampines North Zone 7 with the phrase “Don’t Worry Be Happy” as a homage to the show, which will be completed in one or two years.

He said the tiger statue will not be placed at the Don’t Worry Be Happy sign and is expected to remain at the petrol kiosk, unless it shutters.

Thia Ling Ling, who is head of fuels sales and marketing for Singapore at ExxonMobil Asia Pacific, said: “We are touched by the deep attachment that the Tampines community has for our Esso Tampines Avenue 7 station and the Esso Tiger statue.

“We are deeply grateful to our customers, the community, and the staff for their support.”

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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