|War Memorial Park|
One afternoon this past October, Jennifer, the kids and I were on our way to Marina Bay to walk around the harbor, enjoy a fruit popsicle by the Merlion and ultimately take a ride on the Singapore Flyer. On our way, we made several stops on what turned out to be a day full of art, culture and history.
First, we visited the famed Raffles Hotel (we still have yet to have a drink at the Long Bar), a large British colonial style hotel, arguably one of Singapore's most well known icons. Next, we stopped by War Memorial Park, built in 1967 to honor the Singapore civilians who were killed during World War II by the Japanese. At the park, Sophia and Cooper impressed Jennifer and I with their ability to read part of the war memorial plaque written in Chinese characters (I guess the hour of Mandarin a day is actually paying off!).
|Kolam outside Esplanade|
For us, the statues were interesting, unique and cute. We spent some time trying to explain our perception of the artist's intent to the kids (be responsible for yourself - don't expect someone else to take care of you) - but at the end of the day, it was art. We respected and agreed with the sentiment, but mostly we thought the dogs were adorable, regardless of the intended message. A small sign provided details on the artist, his inspiration and a note about the possibility of "adopting" one of the sculptures by making a donation to the Esplanade.
The next day, I called the Esplanade to inquire about donations and adoption. We really did like the art and were interested in making a donation, but the $2,000 price tag was a little steep (OK, REALLY steep). The kids were upset we weren't going to adopt a new dog (statue) but understood how expensive it was and forgot about it. Later that week, I came across an article about Chua Boon Kee, and an opportunity to receive a dog or cat statue directly from the artist by writing a personal letter describing why we wanted one of his sculptures.
I figured, "Why not?" and wrote a brief note (Jen: Brief? When are you ever brief ? You could make a great politician, except you're too honest.) describing our move from the US, our love of dogs and how much we all liked the art. I had almost forgotten about the letter and artwork when I received a call from the Esplanade on Tuesday evening this week - nearly three months later. Like our children's Chinese instruction, my marketing know-how (BS writing style...call it what it is) paid off, and we had been selected to receive a dog statue - for free!
Today, Jennifer and I once again headed to the Esplanade - this time to meet with staff at the exhibit office and collect our adopted dog. As you can see by the attached pictures, there were about 10 different styles of dogs making up the exhibit. While the opportunity to own a unique piece of art - something that would forever remind us of our time in Singapore - was great, I'd be lying if I said we didn't have a favorite style / breed of dog from among those that made up the exhibit. Sure, the Shar Peis, Daschunds, Beagles and Huskies were cute - but the Jack Russell style sculpture was by far a favorite for the kids, Jennifer and I.
Once we were home with the kids, we slowly unpacked the statue and the kids were ecstatic (we pretended we didn't know which one they had given us). Next up, two very difficult decisions....where to display him and what to name him!
So - we're pleased to introduce the newest member of the Ludt family in Singapore - Red (Red Rover).