BY KENNY CHEE
FRIENDS and colleagues from the arts and business communities hailed composer and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) marketing chief Ken Low yesterday as a Renaissance man.
He died of complications from pneumonia on Wednesday.
Mr Low, 49, was the assistant chief executive for STB's marketing group and was the man behind the Uniquely Singapore and the recent YourSingapore tourism campaigns.
He also composed the music for the 1997 Action Theatre hit musical, Chang & Eng, about the famous Siamese twins.
Long-time friend and founder of Action Theatre Ekachai Uekrongtham told my paper on the phone from Bangkok that Mr Low seemed hale and hearty in May, but had fallen "really ill" last month.
Mr Low contributed much to promote Singapore globally as a tourist destination. The bachelor joined the STB in 2003 as a director for brand management and propelled the STB's Uniquely Singapore branding in 2004.
He oversaw Singapore pavilions at Japan's Aichi World Expo in 2005, as well as China's Shanghai World Expo this year, after his appointment as assistant chief executive for brand and communications in 2006.
This year's YourSingapore tourism branding, which succeeds Uniquely Singapore, was also driven by Mr Low.
Ms Aw Kah Peng, STB's chief executive, said he "brought a unique blend of creativity, personal passion and business experience to tourism marketing".
"At work, Ken inspired us with his creativity and galvanised everyone in the most challenging of projects," she added. Mr Low was also the resident music director of Action Theatre, where he composed for 1995's Corporate Animals and 2005's The Admiral's Odyssey.
Uekrongtham said Mr Low was a rare talent because he was not just a creative force in the arts, but also accomplished in business, having held past positions in Citibank, Singapore Post and the Esplanade.
A perfectionist, Mr Low was passionate about everything he did, Uekrongtham said.
"In the past few months, he had worked very, very hard and travelled a lot to promote Singapore. He really gave himself to his work," he said.
He learnt of Mr Low's death yesterday morning from a family friend of Mr Low.
Mr Jeremiah Choy, president of the Association of Singapore Actors, said that Mr Low respected those he worked with.
Mr Choy had worked with him on several STB projects.
He said Mr Low was opinionated but open-minded. "When you have something to contribute, he listened to you. It's very inspiring to know somebody like that," said Mr Choy.
Film-maker and Action Theatre artistic consultant Pek Siok Lian said Mr Low was a "collaborator- in-arms for many years".
"But he was always so modest, so diffident about his abilities...which was a big part of his charm," she said.
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