green trees inside the glasshouse

Fun Facts and a Dystopian Fiction

The other day my wife and I took our kids to Gardens by the Bay – one of the major tourist attractions here in Singapore. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s a stunning nature park spanning 100 acres. It sits adjacent to the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel. 

Inside the gardens are two massive temperature-controlled dome-shaped glass conservatories. One is known as the cloud forest, and the other is known as the flower dome. Fun fact: the flower dome is the world’s largest conservatory. 

That day we’d come to see the cloud forest. 

Inside the cloud forest is a massive, intricate structure known as the cloud mountain. It’s completely clad in epiphytes such as orchids, ferns, mosses, and hundreds of other plants I can’t name. As you enter the dome, you are met with the world’s second-largest indoor waterfall (fun fact number two) that rains down from the top. 

It’s quite a sight. 

After ascending to the top via an elevator, you then descend the mountain via a circular path that crosses underneath this waterfall multiple times. If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. 

Anyway, the day we went there was an Avatar exhibition. Interwoven throughout the cloud mountain were various alien characters, creatures, and fauna taken from the blockbuster movie. They had all sorts of fun little games, theatre experiences, and the like for the kids to enjoy. It was really cool. 

At the bottom, inside the cloud mountain, there was a model of a banshee. In case you don’t know what a banshee is (I don’t blame you), it’s this great blue dragon-like creature with 4 wings and 4 eyes that the Na’vi (blue alien people from the film) use to fly around on the back of. This model was really quite realistic. Its movements looked fluid. The eyes even blinked. 

They’d roped it off to keep people at a distance while a lady with a headpiece described all these “fun facts” about this fictional beast (hence my knowledge about it). My 2-year-old was petrified. But my 4-year-old was absolutely besotted. At one point, another lady came out holding a baby banshee. Its head actually followed the movement of her hands. 

I couldn’t tell you why then, but something felt off about the whole thing. 

A little while later I had this terrifying vision. Everything inside the dome was exactly the same but with one difference. Instead of a lady describing all of these fun facts about fictional creatures from a movie, she told them about real animals – elephants, lions, tigers – that had long gone extinct. Outside the dome, everything was different. It was a dystopian wasteland. Everything was decaying or dead.

The thought sent shivers down my spine. Now, I’m not sure why I’m telling you this other than to give you a glimpse into the dark recesses of my mind. I guess my only thought is that maybe they should have been telling fun facts about real wildlife in an attempt to plant the seed (pun fully intended) for future generations. Either that, or I need to watch less black mirror. (Probably the latter.)

At any rate, that’s one fictional world I prey never becomes fact. 

12 thoughts on “Fun Facts and a Dystopian Fiction

  1. Well here are two things that jumped out at me: I just wrote a story I’m in final editing currently that is in a distopian/post-apocalyptic world (I know, clichee, whatever) and I love love love the word besotted! I am going to work this word into future things I type. For instance, I am besotted with this article of yours. 🙂

  2. The Cloud Forest sounds amazing. I would have loved to see some photographs – the experience sounds amazing (although perhaps not the dystopian imaginings quite so much – they seem scary)

  3. Wow…wow…wow…thank you for sharing! The world is an amazing place…but I’m with Julia…and your little one. It doesn’t take much to scare me. 😂

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