Friday, April 10, 2009

Must See: Wu Guanzhong Donation Collection

Wu Guanzhong's donation of 113 works to the Singapore Art Museum in 2008 is the highest valued donation presented to a public museum in Singapore. This exhibition will showcase all 113 works representing five decades of the artist's creative oeuvre.

A key significance of Wu Guanzhong’s art is the crossing and synthesising of the two art forms of ink and oil which represent art historical and aesthetic contexts of traditional Chinese and western art.

Wu started painting in ink only in 1974, when he was aged 55, but his earlier oil works were predicated on ink aesthetics as with his subsequent inks on oil foundation.

A prolific writer of essays and art theory, his Formal Beauty of Painting foreshadowed a revolution in art in the immediate post-Cultural Revolution period when it was published in 1978. To Wu, the feelings of the individual were supreme. Equally important, however, was the individual's emotional link with the community. Hence his famed line, the "Unbroken Kite String", which expounds the connection between formal abstraction and everyday life, and acknowledges its source in the community.

A strong advocate of developing culture and the arts, and a man who holds deep respect for intercultural values, Wu’s broad brushstroke gesture of presenting his largest donation to the Singapore Art Museum will be celebrated jointly by the art community as well as the Singapore public when the galleries open their doors on 9 April. This exhibition is co-organised by Singapore Art Museum, Shanghai Art Museum and National Art Museum of China.

My comments:

Hi friends,

I was at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) today and I highly recommend everyone to make a visit to the Wu Guanzhong Collection.

For those who do not already know, Wu is an artist extraordinaire who survived the Cultural Revolution and is considered a National treasure. During the Cultural Revolution, he was forced into the countryside for hard labour and was only allowed to paint on Sundays. Hence he carried a small board with him and painted amongst other artworks, one exhibit entitled Field Chrysanthemums, 1972, an oil on board.

This very donation created much controversy in China as many Chinese were not happy that Wu chose to donate this collection with an estimated worth of S$66 Million to Singapore ahead of his own country. Wu has strong emotional links with Singapore and his eldest son, Keyu is now a Singaporean.

Read here about the donation.

Wu is a true citizen of the world and his humanity transcends language and nationality.

If you have only one day in Singapore, skip Sentosa or the Zoo, visit the Wu Guanzhong Donation Collection!

Please do not miss this.

I know you will enjoy it,

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Thanks Minister, I also do not want Singapore to be a rogue regime!

Hi Friends,

It appears that Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan has changed his mind about including foreigners in the organ donation scheme.

The Straits times mentioned that “Only Singaporeans will be reimbursed for donating a kidney.” And that “Payments will be extended to foreigners only when there is enough confidence in the scheme, said Health Minister Khaw Bonn Wan yesterday.”

Mr. Khaw even said “We don’t want Singapore to be a rogue regime.”

This was one of the major sticking points for me as this potentially allows for legalized organ trading. ( read my post on this here) As mentioned elsewhere, I am not against reimbursing donors for expenses incurred as a result of this truly altruistic act.

If we include foreign donors into the scheme, we are unable to monitor the donor back in their homeland and we do not know where the money goes to and we are never sure that the money from the recipient really went to help defray expenses only.

This money could have been attractive enough to act as an inducement for the donor.

I know from conversations online and offline, that some people think that this is just demand and supply economics and I should not have made a big deal of it.

However for me and I think for much of the medical community, medical ethics is just as important as economics in this issue.

Anyway, I don’t expect everyone reading this to get it. Never mind.

Nevertheless, I am glad that Minister Khaw has come to his senses about this.

I might have supported him for the HOTA amendment if this was the case in the first place.

BTW, other positive aspects which he mentioned at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the NKF yesterday included:

Safeguards such as:
1.Thorough screening including psychological assessment to exclude exploitation.

2. Cooling-off period which is good as we do not want “pressure-selling” ala "time share" scams.

3. Kidney donors to be reimbursed through third party and payment partly into Medisave Top-ups (read here)

Also, Kidney patients will get travel subsidy. They should get all the help they need.

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

Link: 1.Gigamole: Human Organ Trade- a nuanced approach
2.Gigamole: Human Organ Trade-Agree or disagree?

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Top-Ranking I am not Proud of

PM Lee tops list of 10 best-paid world politicians
Thursday, 2 April 2009, 3:27 pm

From Times:

There is nothing like a scandal involving porn films claimed on Commons expenses to focus attention on the pay and perks enjoyed, sorry earned, by our public servants.

Even before Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, was forced to apologise for her husband’s blue movies there had been calls for the whole system to be overturned. The committee on standards in public life which has promised to report on MP pay and expenses by the end of the year is under pressure to do something radical.

Whenever MPs come under attack over pay they are quick to argue that compared to executives in the private and public sector they are not particularly well paid.

With the G20 leaders in the country we thought it was worth getting a snapshot of how much the highest paid presidents and prime ministers around the world earn. For comparison’s sake all earnings have been converted into dollars. It also shows basic annual salary only, not the expenses claimed on top.

So, where does our own Gordon Brown stand?

1. Lee Hsien Loong - Singapore
Salary in dollars - $2.47 million
Salary in local currency - S$3.76 million

2. Donald Tsang Yum-Kuen - Hong Kong
Salary in dollars - $516,000
Salary in local currency - HK$4 million

3. Barack Obama - United States
Salary in dollars - $400,000

4. Brian Cowen - Ireland
Salary in dollars - $341,000
Salary in local currency - €257,000

5. Nicolas Sarkozy - France Salary in dollars - $318,000
Salary in local currency - €240,000

6. Angela Merkel - Germany
Salary in dollars - $303,000
Salary in local currency - €228,000

7. Gordon Brown - UK
Salary in dollars - $279,000
Salary in local currency - £194,250

8. Stephen Harper - Canada
Salary in dollars - $246,000
Salary in local currency - C$311,000

9. Taro Aso - Japan
Salary in dollars - $243,000
Salary in local currency - Y24 million

10. Kevin Rudd - Australia
Salary in dollars - $229,000
Salary in local currency - A$330,000

My comments

Hi Friends,

I am proud to be Singaporean.

There are many aspects of Singaporean life that I am thankful for and indeed proud of.

However this does not include the fact that almost all of Singapore’s political leaders (from the President, Prime Minister, Minister Mentor, Senior Ministers and all the too many Cabinet Ministers) would occupy all the top places in the league of highest-paid political leaders of the whole wide world.

In the list above, only the highest paid leader of each country was represented in the table. This is like in some tournaments where each country is restricted to only one competitor. If all of Singapore ministers’remuneration were considered (eg in tournaments with no restriction from each country) , we will take all the spots available on the list.

Not something I would be proud of, and I suspect, not something that the PAP would be proud of too!

I have blogged about this before here,

and I am still convinced that to say that only if Singapore’s political office-holders are paid astronomical salaries, could we have a non-corrupt and clean government is a false dichotomy and an insult to each and every Singaporean’s intelligence. The words "altruism" and "self-sacrifice" are obviously alien to the PAP and not present in their vocabulary!

My friends, Watch this space ( or akan dating)- for in a few months from now, when our economy starts to recover from this financial crisis and Singapore’s GDP becomes positive again, our political leaders will become smug again and insist that their astronomical salaries be restored to their previous even loftier levels on the excuse that their remuneration are pegged to Singapore’s economic growth.

Might as well peg it to the rising of the sun!

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan