Why did the statue of Raffles “disappear”? We have the answers.
Not a prank.
If you were walking aimlessly along the Singapore River over the past weekend, you probably saw this:
Yup, the statue of Thomas Stamford Raffles “disappeared”.
Ok, more like blended into the background.
Alright, to be precise, it’s a result of an optical illusion created by strategic paintwork adhered over the polymarble surface.
Looks like a prank, smells like mischief, but it was anything but.
Eat full, nothing to do?
Newsflash: there’s no such thing as “eat full, nothing to do” in Singapore: everything happens for a reason. Or two. Or 200.
That’s right, it’s the 200th year since Raffles arrived in Singapore and to commemorate that, the Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) commissioned local artist Teng Kai Wei to create this trick-eye installation.
Here’s one pro tip from the artist:
If you think that SBO wants to erase Raffles (can you imagine a Bishan Institution?) from Singapore’s history, you’ve got to be kidding.
In a statement released to the media, SBO explained:
“It recognises that there were other significant milestones in the nation’s journey, which began some 500 years before the British arrived in Singapore. There were also many men and women who arrived in 1819, and in the years that followed, who contributed greatly to the nation.
The “disappearance” of the Sir Stamford Raffles statue is thus an opportunity to engage Singaporeans in an open dialogue on the contributions of the British, and of those who came before and after. It is an invitation to explore our longer history.”
Other than the obvious (shoutout to Sang Nila Utama), many indeed contributed and built modern Singapore.
In fact, SBO has been dropping hints to the lead up to the “disappearance”.
Check out the luminaries: Lim Boon Keng, William Farquhar, Hajjah Fatimah, Tan Tock Seng, Manasseh Meyer, Munshi Abdullah, William Pickering, Agnes Joaquim, Whampoa Hoo Ah Kay, John Edwin Tessensohn and John Crawfurd.
And in a video subtly titled “We are more than Raffles”, other familiar faces were again highlighted.
Perhaps we are going to have our very own Mount Rushmore soon?
This post is sponsored by the Singapore Bicentennial Office. This line could have disappeared too but didn’t.