Why Singa quit being a mascot

Why Singa quit being a mascot
The Mcplushophile and I Quit, which anchors the exhibition by artist Xin Xiaochang (above).

When campaign mascot Singa the Lion announced it was quitting as ambassador of the Singapore Kindness Movement in May, many Singaporeans were startled by the news, including artist Xin Xiaochang.

She says: "I was shocked. 'He what?!' I thought. How could a courtesy mascot resign?"

Xin, 31, has a special affinity for the icon.

The leonine character was a key subject in her solo exhibition in October last year, which was based on national campaigns that promote social graces.

Her emotional response to Singa's giving up was what the Singapore Kindness Movement had hoped to provoke.

The movement's general secretary William Wan had said in an earlier report in this newspaper that one aim of the mascot's resignation was "to generate conversations and reactions online". He added that Singa may make a comeback.

Xin has hastened the mascot's reappearance in public by making it the focus of her latest solo show at Galerie Sogan & Art in Mohamed Sultan Road.

She says: "I really wanted to do something about Singa quitting. After I read his resignation letter online, I started thinking about what could have caused him to quit."

She quickly identified a range of hot-button issues that Singaporeans rant about, which she posits, could have wearied the mascot and made it throw in the towel.

These issues set the stage for eight fictional dioramas in the exhibition, which spotlight everything from the exorbitant certificate of entitlement (COE) prices for vehicles to Singapore's high-pressure education system, with Singa as the protagonist.

The show comprises 12 works, rendered largely in porcelain, and priced for sale between $3,000 and $6,500.

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