[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

Saturday, January 05, 2008

[The Kings of Freedom Launch]
1. On Friday morning, we had an interesting launch of the Berlin Wall project at Temasek Poly (TP). The entire event was organised by Youth Empire and students from TP which gave it an unusual character, at least to me. Sheikh Haikal, the MC, arrived on a lorry stage preceded by a percussion band (kind of modern kompang). Luckily, the weather was perfect, a beautiful bright, clear morning with a cool light breeze blowing. It was fun. TP students from the culinary department prepared the food. The German Embassy contributed beer and sausages.

2. Joining us were a number of European and ASEAN ambassadors who arrived in cars bearing their national flags. The German Ambassador has been an enthusiastic supporter of the project. He himself is from Berlin and naturally feels deeply about the symbolism of the wall. I hope the installation of the wall at Bedok Reservoir will help build a bridge between Singapore and Berlin, between Singapore and Germary, and between ASEAN and the European Union. The wall will be unveiled on 9 Nov 2009, on the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the wall, an event which changed the history of Europe and the world.

3. Speaking from the lorry stage, I explained how this wall came to be loaned to us for the long term. I knew the owner Robert Hefner, a natural gas businessman, from the early 90's. He is a most interesting person who saw China's development very early and became a major collector of Chinese oil paintings. When he offered to have the wall exhibited in Singapore, I grabbed at the opportunity. His wife, MeiLi, born in Singapore, was naturally in favour of this. Both the Hefners are now Singapore PRs and have an apartment here.

4. Sitting and interpreting the wall will be an interesting exercise. We need ideas, lots of them. To cast the net wide, a competition has been organised. The winning idea will get a prize of $15,000. Later, we will have a design competition, going into actual details. Please refer to this website for information: www.kingsoffreedom.com. Albert Hong of RSP architectural firm has generously contributed $100,000 for prize monies.

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