The Heritage Link in our Civic District

Today, there is a distinct cluster of museums and galleries in our Civic District and Bras Basah Bugis Precinct but how did it all start? SEIZING OPPORTUNITY We can trace it back to July 1986, when I sent a paper on the Heritage Link project to Mr Low Chin Nam, who was then serving in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Mr Low and I had met only a week or two before that. At that particular opportune meeting, we were talking about the then-Chinese Art Museum in Empress Place, when Mr Low mentioned that there was a plan to … Continue reading The Heritage Link in our Civic District

On the Inside and Outside: Theatre from the Viewpoint of an Arts Manager and Audience Member

Article published in conjunction with Esplanade’s Studio 50 (May 2015) SEA CHANGE Around 1986, when I was at the Ministry of Community Development, I initiated an arts database (early version of KPIs), to gather information on audienceship levels and arts … Continue reading On the Inside and Outside: Theatre from the Viewpoint of an Arts Manager and Audience Member

Singapore Musical Society

This old Straits Times article on pianist Fu Tsong, reminds me that the National Music Competition of the 1980s was co-organised with the Singapore Musical Society. Indeed, it was the Society that started the tradition of annual music competitions. Quoting from framed-up document found in a former President’s home, “The Singapore Musical Society, known in the early days as the Singapore Philharmonic Society, was founded in 1902. It was a non-profit making society organisation set up to develop and promote the love of music in our Community. In addition to providing sponsorship for local and visiting musicians, the Society also … Continue reading Singapore Musical Society


Art Allies, 1980s

In the 1980s when money was very scarce in the Ministry of Culture and its departments, our museum and my ernest curator friends (Choy Weng Yang and Constance Sheares) depended considerably on the foreign diplomatic missions for our shows, both … Continue reading Art Allies, 1980s

Audiences of the ’80s

Between Aug ‘86 to Mar ‘87, the MCD Cultural Services Section conducted a full cycle of audience surveys, leveraging on the Drama Festival (Aug/Sep 86), Jazz Festival (Sep 86), Dance Festival (Dec 86) and the Festival of Choirs (Mar 87). Since manpower resources were scarce, it was all hands-on-deck and I remember standing in the lobby of the Drama Centre on Fort Canning, questionnaires and pencils in hand, persuading members of the audience to complete the forms while waiting for the show to start or for drinks and toilet during the interval. This first cycle of audience surveys revealed that: … Continue reading Audiences of the ’80s

Visual art publications  1980s

Decluttering art-i-facts

I’m a sentimental person and a natural hoarder who has kept letters, postcards, dresses from primary school. It’s such a struggle to declutter but wanting to travel more frequently and free of encumbrances, cockroaches and silver fishes (which thankfully, have … Continue reading Decluttering art-i-facts

Tribute to Singapore Arts Personalities

October is Tributes month! On the evening of the concert of Zubir Said music, 12 Oct 2012, the Esplanade Theatres launched a “Tributes” website and exhibition of arts personalities aged sixty and above or deceased.  I was included among the first 150 personalities to be credited.  The launch party turned out to be a very warm gathering of old friends who had journeyed together through the ’80s /’90s.  I wondered however, if tribute paid to senior personages like former President Ong Teng Cheong and former Minister for Culture Inche Othman Wok would have been more appropriately accorded by either the arts ministry or … Continue reading Tribute to Singapore Arts Personalities