Iconic Esso Tiger Statue from “Don’t Worry Be Happy” Finds New Home in Tampines Avenue 9
The iconic Esso Tiger Statue from the 90s sitcom has a new abode (still) in Tampines, preserving memories for residents.
The Esso Tiger Statue that once stood guard at ExxonMobil’s Esso station on Tampines Ave 7 has long been a cherished icon, particularly for fans of the 90s sitcom, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.
Don’t Worry Be Happy is Singapore’s first Mandarin sitcom produced by the Television Corporation of Singapore.
This sitcom centred around a family running an Esso petrol station, making the tiger statue a symbol of nostalgia. Its actors, just like the sitcom itself, have also left a legacy for the acting industry.
However, with the station’s closure on 27 Sep, the fate of this beloved statue hung in the balance.
Not only did it hold a legacy, but it was also in high demand by fans and local residents.
Some even suggested erecting a marker, “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” as part of the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) for the area’s HDB blocks, to commemorate this piece of history.
Fortunately, this much-adored tiger statue has found a new home at another petrol kiosk on Tampines Avenue 9 as of 25 Nov. It’s worth noting that the other Esso tiger statue resides on Yishun Avenue 9.
The Reason for Relocation
The relocation of the Esso station and its iconic tiger statue stemmed from the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) announcement on 22 Aug, revealing the tender results for a 21,441.89 sqft plot at Tampines Ave 7 designated for petrol station operations.
This tender was secured by Singapore Petroleum Company Ltd (SPC), a Singaporean multinational oil and gas company, wholly-owned subsidiary of PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
PetroChina International (Singapore) is a listed entity of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, headquartered in Beijing’s Dongcheng District. It holds the distinction of being Asia’s largest oil and gas producer.
While ExxonMobil placed a bid of S$376,000, SPC clinched the winning bid with S$500,540 per month, amounting to approximately S$54 million over the 9-year lease period.
Consequently, Esso at Tampines Ave 7 bid farewell to its long-standing location, leaving behind a cherished memento for fans of the Don’t Worry Be Happy sitcom.
In fact, in the sitcom, the main cast lived right across the road at the iconic HDB Blk 497 cluster along Street 45.
Goodbye Ave 7, Hello Ave 9
On 25 Nov, the new Esso at Tampines Avenue 9 officially opened its doors, welcoming patrons with a familiar sight—the beloved tiger statue.
Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng expressed his delight on Facebook that Esso had chosen to retain the statue in Tampines.
He shared sentiments regarding the statue’s nearly 30-year history and quoted a Chinese saying to underscore the importance of road safety.
Baey elaborated in an interview with The Straits Times that the new petrol kiosk’s location made it easily accessible for residents seeking to connect with the tiger statue on a personal level.
Furthermore, he believed it would serve as a link to the past, evoking fond memories and fostering a sense of pride among Tampines residents.
Richard Wan, the composer of the theme song for “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” was also present at the unveiling ceremony.
Esso showed its enthusiasm by encouraging people to take photos with the tiger statue while refuelling, further solidifying its status as a cherished local icon.
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