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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 15 Nov 2005

Creative Industries in Singapore over the years

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Source: www.gov.sg
SPEECH BY MR LEE BOON YANG,MINISTER FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AT BEYOND 2005: THE GLOBAL SUMMIT FOR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
An Excerpt
Creative Industries present a new and exciting economic opportunity for Singapore in a rapidly changing global environment...
We are now competing in a world where left-brained activities can be replaced by powerful technological tools. Today there is an increasing premium on right-brained activities giving birth to whole slew of creative products and services. Put it another way - knowledge and technologies are now commodities...
You might ask ¨C does Singapore have what it takes to succeed in this field?
It is true that Singapore¡¯s economic achievements, technological capabilities and ¡°orderly, safe and green¡± reputation have always been more visible than our cultural developments. But let me assure you that Singapore is certainly not a ¡°cultural desert¡±
As an open, multi-racial and cosmopolitan society, we provide a creative hothouse for artists to work in.
We have also attracted creative people from other countries to supplement our own talents. Our earliest artists were immigrants from afar who made Singapore their home and left behind a rich artistic heritage.
These pioneering talents, which included the Nanyang artists - Liu Kang, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng, as well as others such as poet and calligrapher Pan Shou and latter-day playwright Kuo Pao Kun and contemporary ceramic artist Iskandar Jalil, pursued excellence in artistic achievement. They laid the foundations for the arts in Singapore and offer inspiration for today¡¯s artists and creative talents.
Some of you may also be surprised to know that Singapore was a filmmaking hub in the post-war years leading up to the late 1960s.
Studio giants, Cathay-Keris and Shaw Organisation, which dominated the industry here, produced over 300 Malay language films. These films appealed to numerous ethnic communities around the region and gave prominence to legendary directors such as Hussain Haniff and actor P. Ramlee.
In the Chinese music scene, the local xinyao movement started in mid-1980s became the precursor of success stories in the regional Chinese pop music industry today.
Many xinyao pioneers went on to become successful songwriters, trainers and producers. For example, Ocean Butterflies Production, which was set up in 1986 by three members of one of the earliest xinyao groups, The Straws, is the recording company behind successful pop singers such as Ah-Do and JJ Lin (Lin Junjie). The talented Li Weisong and Li Sisong twin brothers were the ones who discovered and groomed Stephanie Sun into a regional pop star.
These are just a few examples of Singapore¡¯s creative capabilities. From 1989 onwards, the government had also created key arts and cultural agencies and invested in new facilities to support arts and culture.
These included the National Arts Council (NAC), National Heritage Board (NHB) and National Library Board (NLB) and cultural facilities such as the Singapore Arts Museum (SAM), Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), The Esplanade ¨C Theatres on the Bay and the new National Library incorporating a Drama Centre.
We have also focused resources on nurturing the ¡°cultural software¡± of the nation, including the Renaissance City Plan (RCP) launched in 2000.
To develop Singapore into a global arts city, a S$50 million budget was allocated to step up funding for arts development over the following five years.
This level of funding allowed NAC to expand their Arts Education Programme in schools at all levels; develop flagship arts companies; provide assistance to local artists to present their works internationally; and allocate funding to events like the Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Writers¡¯ Festival.
We also established the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI), and The Arts House (at the Old Parliament House) to enhance diversity to our arts and cultural district.
So far we have invested more than S$1 billion on our cultural hardware and software. The results have been encouraging. Over 600 arts-related companies and societies flourish today, with more than 6,000 arts and cultural events taking place annually. Attendance has increased steadily over the years, a reflection of the growing maturity of our arts audience.
Reflecting these developments in the arts and culture, the Creative Industries grew from 2.0% of GDP in 1986 to 3.6% in 2003. We have also gained international awareness and recognition for some of our creative enterprises. For instance, Singapore has established its reputation as a regional visual communications node with outfits like WORK, Phunk studio and Kinetic garnering international acclaim for their bold and provocative work in graphic design, advertising and interactive multimedia.
Our architectural firms are also recognised globally for their strengths in innovative tropical architecture. This year, both DP Architects Pte Ltd and SCDA Architects received the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Worldwide Awards for designing The Esplanade and the Lincoln Modern respectively.
The local filmmaking industry has also experienced a renaissance of sorts over the past decade, with talents like Eric Khoo and Jack Neo, among others, receiving numerous accolades for their films.
Singapore-based companies such as Banyan Tree Holdings, OSIM and Stikfas, just to name a few, that have leveraged on creativity and innovation to launch their brands internationally in niche markets.
Moving forward, Singapore will build on the creative foundations laid over the years.
The three-pronged Creative Industries Development Strategy consists of the Renaissance City 2.0, DesignSingapore and Media 21 initiatives focusing on the Arts, Design and Media sectors respectively.
These initiatives bring together key stakeholders in the public and private sectors to realise our common vision of growing Creative Industries through the development of capabilities, platforms, markets and a stimulating and inspiring creative environment...

Full Text of Speech

Source: www.gov.sg Media Release 15 Nov 2005

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