Esso tiger statue in Don’t Worry Be Happy sitcom moved to another Tampines petrol kiosk
The much-loved tiger statue that was featured in popular 1990s local sitcom Don’t Worry Be Happy has been rehomed to another petrol kiosk in Tampines.
The statue, an icon of ExxonMobil’s Esso, had stood outside its petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 7 since 1994. An Esso station in 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 running an Esso petrol kiosk.
In an Instagram post on Nov 25, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng said he was happy that Esso had decided to keep the statue in Tampines.
He attended an unveiling ceremony for the statue at its new home in Tampines Avenue 9 that morning. Mr Richard Wan, composer of the theme song for Don’t Worry Be Happy, was also present.
In the caption, Mr Baey, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment as well as Transport, wrote that the Tampines Avenue 9 petrol kiosk has been operating since 1994, and the surrounding area has new additions such as Tampines Eco Green and ABC Waterway @ Sungei Tampines.
Speaking to The Straits Times on Nov 26, Mr 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 that 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 Eco Green that morning. “It’s certainly a better environment,” he wrote.
Mr 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, Mr 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. The marker will be completed in one to two years.
He said on Nov 26 that the statue is expected to remain at the Tampines Avenue 9 petrol kiosk even with the completion of the marker.
Ms Thia Ling Ling, 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.”