SPH: Loyal patron of the arts - Oct 22, 2008 (BT)

BackOct 22, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH: Loyal patron of the arts

It wins Distinguished Patron of the Arts honour for the 16th year running.

By Noor Aisha
Oct 22, 2008
The Business Times

THIS year, for the 16th time in a row since 1993, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will be recognised as a Distinguished Patron of the Arts at the Patron of the Arts Award 2008 for its sizeable contributions to the local arts scene.

Some of SPH's beneficiaries include Singapore Arts Festival (Play! A Video Game Symphony), SPH Gift of Music series and the musical Dim Sum Dollies - The History of Singapore.

The SPH Gift of Music, launched in 2005, is a series of free outdoor concerts featuring local artistes at performances in the parks, heartlands, school campuses and shopping malls.

Alongside, the SPH Foundation will receive the Patron of the Arts Award. Set up in 2003, the SPH Foundation last year sponsored the Singapore Writers Festival and Jump - a Korean dance production, among other events. This is the fourth year the SPH Foundation is recognised at the awards.

'We are proud to be honoured once again. At SPH, we believe that business and arts go hand in hand,' said Ginney Lim, executive vice-president of SPH's legal and corporate communications.

'We view arts sponsorship as a long-term commitment and an opportunity to give back to the community which has helped us grow into a leading media company in Singapore with multiple delivery platforms,' she added.

The Distinguished Patron category - which honours individuals or organisations which receive the Patron of the Arts Award on the fifth consecutive occasion - saw four first-time recipients this year. These are CIMB-GK Securities, Keppel Corporation Ltd, Marina Mandarin Singapore and Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Keppel Group will be receiving the award for its 'commitment in contributing to the vibrant and growing arts scene in Singapore and abroad'. The organisation is a long-term supporter of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Dance Theatre and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

'In Singapore, we believe we have enriched the lives of Singaporeans with creative and innovative artistic expressions by making the arts more accessible to them,' said Wang Look Fung, general manager of Keppel Group Corporate Communications.

In August 2008, Keppel Corporation and the National Arts Council jointly launched Singapore's first sustained subsidised ticketing scheme named Keppel Nights to benefit and promote the arts among students, heartlanders, senior citizens and their families.

Encouragingly, more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are making substantial contributions to the arts, and Old Chang Kee is one such SME. The Arts Supporter Award also witnesses several new home-grown companies this year, such as BMC Music Centre, Bollywood Veggies Singapore, BreadTalk Group, Flesh Imp Clothings and Loang & Noi.

Old Chang Kee supported The Theatre Practice's Chinese musical entitled If There're Seasons and, in addition to cash contributions, played a proactive role in ensuring everything went smoothly.

Nonetheless, Friend of the Arts Award recipient Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) believes that more can be done to support Asian arts programmes. SHHK this year set up a $50,000 fund to support local Chinese arts groups which have limited resources and fund-raising capabilities.

William Lim, chief executive officer of Old Chang Kee, agrees: 'Arts is something all sectors have to be involved in, for the future arts create a culture unique to any individual country. A young country like ours needs a lot of private and governmental support for local arts.'