Sticky post

Bearing Witness : Why I blog

This last month has been a month of reunions – sometimes planned, sometime serendipitous – with pals from my arts management days including designers, specialists, administrators and artists. In June 2019, I had a wonderful London reunion with the former consultants in the Esplanade project. We have warm, highly energized conversations as we reminisce about our times together producing concerts and theatrical events, designing theatre spaces and in particular, the Esplanade Theatres. Lots of laughter and lots of “Aha, so that’s what it was all about!” moments.   At some point in our conversations, we realise that we are doing … Continue reading Bearing Witness : Why I blog

Cultural Vision 1999

Everyone remembers the 1989 Advisory Council for Culture and the Arts (ACCA) and more recently, Renaissance City Report but hardly anyone remembers Cultural Vision 1999.  Whenever I mention Cultural Vision 1999 to my arts management friends, I draw a very blank.  I wonder how a Vision that was so significant and empowering for me and which had such a great impact on the arts landscape can be so totally unheard of. Cultural Vision 1999 was part of the PAP’s “Singapore, City of Excellence – A Vision for Singapore by 1999” election Manifesto led by then First Deputy Prime Minister Mr … Continue reading Cultural Vision 1999

Art Exchanges: Australia

Perhaps, my most memorable trip was in 1988 when the Australian Government hosted me to a study tour of five Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, and Hobart. My interest in arts granting, arts housing and, heritage conservation was … Continue reading Art Exchanges: Australia

Art Exchanges : Hong Kong / Taiwan

In 1987, MCD officials led by our Deputy Secretary Arts Mr Lee Wai Kok, made a trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong with Kesavan Yoo Weng of EDB and Catherine Ong from the Singapore Tourism Board.  This trip was made under the auspices of the Task Force on Culture and Entertainment which was set up to synergise the interests of the arts, tourism and economics, ultimately to catalyse the Singapore art scene  and create more opportunities for Singapore artists. The Tri-agency goal of this trip was  to woo arts entrepreneurs into Singapore to make films, build film sets, that could double … Continue reading Art Exchanges : Hong Kong / Taiwan

Art Exchanges : Germany

My first trip to Germany was for a Seminar  on Arts Administrators in West Berlin courtesy of the Goethe Institut in 1988.  We – our Director (Arts) Mr Ng Yew Kang, Musician-Artist Dr Tan It Koon and I (then Assistant Director (Arts) were hosted by Goethe Institut Director Dr  Niesche and the Institut’s Arts Officer Moh Siew Lan. We glimpsed the legendary Berlin Philharmonic Hall but didn’t hear a performance in it. They also pointed out to us the train station and other old buildings that were being restored for artists’ use and I really think that this deepened mine … Continue reading Art Exchanges : Germany

Telok Kurau Studios

In 1986, we secured the Telok Kurau West School on Telok Kurau, Lorong J for use by the St Patrick’s Arts Centre which was still morphing into the La Salle School of the Arts. It was among the disused Government buildings listed on the Land Office quarterly circulars. When La Salle College moved to its new premises in Goodman Road, the National Arts Council converted the building into a visual arts centre. Now called the Telok Kurau Studios, it houses notable artists like Teo Eng Seng,  the late Anthony Poon,  Chng Seok Tin and many others. The building is self-managed … Continue reading Telok Kurau Studios

Before Arts Management

From my dedicated pursuit of this blog “Singapore Art Manager 1980s / 90s”, it must be abundantly obvious to everyone, that I deem my time in arts management to be the most important and fulfilling part of my 40-year corporate career. By the time I joined the People’s Association in 1979 with oversight of its Cultural Troupe,  I was already in a junior management position as Assistant Director with a dedicated portfolio and a team, with a degree of confidence that I had built from my previous postings. It’s when I began to feel I could make a difference.  I … Continue reading Before Arts Management

Art Exchanges

For half my career, I have been blessed with a job that overlaps with my hobbies and life passions.  So, whether I was traveling for work or pleasure. I was doing exactly the same thing. From the time I hit … Continue reading Art Exchanges

Fort Canning Art Centre

Prior to my joining the Ministry  of Culture in early 1981, a submission had been made to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to redevelop the former Far East Command Centre building on Fort Canning into an art centre.  Negotiations over this proposal were so protracted that it fell to me in 1983/84 to clarify to MOF that artists needed more than just theatre space to do their work. Despite my best effort, MOF rejected the proposal. It is this conversation with MOF that ignited / inspired the idea of using disused buildings for arts housing, of forgoing pipe-dreams about perfect … Continue reading Fort Canning Art Centre