[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Monday, March 05, 2007

[Official Opening of Museum of Toys]

1. A few years ago, Mr Chang Yang Fa and his wife suddenly appeared at one of my weekly Meet-the-People Sessions. My grassroots leaders alerted me of their strange request. Instead of the usual appeals or complaints, they told me of their plan to establish a Museum of Toys in Singapore. I was delighted to hear this. I remember recounting to him my own happy visit one cold Winter day to a puppet museum in Lubeck, Germany which my wife and I chanced upon when we were looking for a warm place to retreat to. It was fascinating to see in one location puppets from all over the world, including Chinese wayang puppets from Singapore.

2. I was in MTI then and glad to support Mr Chang's application for some grants from SPRING. He also asked me to appeal on his behalf to URA. I remember mentioning his interesting project once to Minister Mah Bow Tan.

3. Then, nothing heard for a long time, and I forgot about the project until Mr Chang emailed me a couple of months ago with an invitation to do the official opening this evening. I checked my calendar to make sure I was free and agreed immediately. This is a happy occasion and could not have come about without the lifelong passion of Mr Chang and his wife. Mrs Chang must share some of the same passion because Mr Chang's interest in toys is not a simple hobby or indulgence but a consuming fascination with what must be an anthropoligical phenomenon of homo sapiens.

4. It is curious why human beings all over the world, however primitive, make toys. No doubt there are many theories. For children, it is one way to prepare them for adult life. But whatever the educational use of toys, we enjoy them because they are cute or funny. It is a genetic urge for human beings to make toys and play with them. However, this Museum of Toys is not an attempt to analyse the phenomenon of toys. It is created for fun, for us to enjoy what Mr Chang has collected over a period of more than 25 years. We thank him and Mrs Chang for this wonderful contribution to our community. It is a real museum and not a toy museum, and is the first such museum in Singapore. Mr Chang told me that this is the first purpose-built Museum of Toys in the world. Our Tourism Board is proud to describe the Museum as being 'Uniquely Singapore'.

5. The architect Mr Chan Soo Khian was responsible for the design of the Museum and won prizes for it. He was able to realize Mr Chang Yang Fa's dream in a practical and aesthetic way. It has been a long and difficult journey for them with many obstacles along the way. But nothing worth doing in life is easily done. Without passion, there can be no great achievement.

6. One also needs resources. It is difficult for such a project to be completely self-financing. I hope government agencies will continue to extend their support. I am sure the Basement Cafe will be well-patronized not just for the food and beverage but also for the overall experience. For the Foreign Ministry, this is certainly an establishment which does us proud for what it represents. My wife and I add our congratulations to the many which Mr Chang and Mr Chan must have already received.

Visit Mint, the Museum of Toys here


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