She's 40
Florence Tan
Sat, Jun 10, 2000
The New Paper

A HUGE cake, about the size of these two facing pages.

A heavy cake. It weighs a hefty 12 kg because it is filled with the birthday girl's favourite foods: Bananas, coconut and walnuts.

A pretty cake. Because it bears an image of the birthday girl.

And just how do you present such a cake to such a distinguished birthday girl?

On a platter with luscious strawberries, grapes and mangoes.

After all, Singapore's favourite grand old dame is turning 40 tomorrow.

So she more than deserves this $432 sweet treat.

Actually, this is just a pre-birthday cake for Ah Meng, Singapore's most famous orang utan.

Zoo officials had the cake specially brought in for Ah Meng and The New Paper team on yesterday.

It is a replica of the birthday cake that Ah Meng will get tomorrow.

Baker Richard Liew, 47, of Sweet Secrets cake shop, who baked the cake, said: "I'm a number one animal lover.

"I felt that since Ah Meng has lived for so long, she deserves a special birthday cake.

"I used bananas, coconuts, walnuts and other tropical fruits as I thought they are part of an orang-utan's natural diet."


Her photograph was "printed" on by a cake machine. It took Mr Liew three hours to make the cake.

It didn't last very long with Ah Meng. She couldn't keep her hands off it.

First she chomped off the chocolate shavings. Then she licked off the cream around it.

Next she grabbed a big chunk of mango and wolfed it down.

Ah, what a treat!

For a famous Singaporean who has done things most people her age wouldn't dream of.

She has met top politicians, celebrities and even royalty.

Her visitors have included Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, American singer Michael Jackson, Prince Philip of Britain, actress Bo Derek and tennis star Bjorn Borg.

She has played the gracious hostess, too.

Pop superstar Michael Jackson had tea with her when he visited in 1993, patting her and posing for pictures.

Her career reached a high when she became the Singapore Tourism Board's Special Tourism Ambassador in 1992.

Ah Meng held that post with her usual dignity and good humour.

It's no wonder that after 40 eventful years, she has become one of Singapore's most well-known icons.

Happy Birthday, Ah Meng!

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jun 10, 2000.


  China calls for banning weapons in space
  UN appeals for $15m emergency aid for N. Korean children
  N Korea must account for suspected nuke programme: Seoul
  Philippines VP jokes about killing reporter
  Madonna makes director's debut at Berlin film fest
  Woman charged over NZ hijack attempt
  Lawyer decapitated in early morning crash
  M'sian PM's CNY message: Malaysia for all
  Indonesian psychics predict an explosive year
Search for a new Singapore Zoo icon?
The life and times of the zoo's most famous resident
Ah Meng dies
Mating 150 times daily calls for birth control
Ah Meng can help animal cause