Admiral Zheng He, the Muslim eunuch from Yunnan who is said to have discovered North America before Christopher Columbus, is set to conquer Singapore, as it plans to celebrate the 600th anniversary of his maiden voyage on a grand scale. From the new musical The Admiral's Odyssey to a recreation of the Dragon Teeth's Gate - a rock structure marked on the admiral's maps but destroyed by the British in the 1880s to widen the Keppel Strait channel - no effort or money is being spared to bring the Ming dynasty legend back to life. An exhibition will present a model of the mysterious 'treasure' ships, the most imposing vessels in Zheng's fleet, whose dimensions as described in the records seem to defy the laws of modern engineering. The heart of the festival is the Zheng He village, a massive exhibition along the Marina Promenade which promises to take visitors back in time to discover the mariner's ports of call. It is believed he visited 37 countries in 28 years, and once brought the king of Ceylon to see the emperor. Although the admiral's voyage will be celebrated elsewhere in Asia, Singapore is one-up on everybody. It is offering the first exhibit dedicated to the controversial bestseller 1421 - The Year China Discovered the World. The display will present 'proof' backing author Gavin Menzies' claim that Zheng indeed visited the Americas 70 years before Columbus and circumnavigated the globe 100 years before Ferdinand Magellan. Among the new evidence promised are artefacts from Nova Cataia, a geographical site said to be Zheng's base in North America; details of how he showed Columbus the way to the New World; and DNA test results showing the extent of the East Asian admixture in North America's indigenous people. As Menzies' claims have generated nearly as much ink as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, the Singapore Tourism Board is hoping the exhibition will draw both fans and detractors from around the world. But it is being careful to remain above the fray, pointing out that visitors must decide for themselves whether the Chinese discovered the New World. Of course, you can trust there will be plenty of merchandising for fans in the coming months. The Singapore Mint has launched a series of commemorative coins featuring the admiral's portrait and treasure junk. Singapore Post will also be releasing four new stamps and a collector's sheet. And if you still haven't had enough of the great man, a new travel book, Tracing the Footsteps of Admiral Zheng He, might just be the offering to tilt you over the edge.