Woman arrested for damaging Changi Airport's kinetic rain sculpture

ARRESTED: In this sequence of shots, the woman is seen damaging the sculpture and climbing off the netting before being arrested by police

She appeared calm, and had a dazed look on her face.

With fluid movements, the woman in a short white dress waltzed on the metallic safety netting about one storey above the floor and "picked" at the "raindrops" coming down at her.

The incident happened in front of shocked passers-by at the departure check-in hall of Changi Airport's Terminal 1 on Saturday morning.

Videos and pictures of the woman, who is in her 30s, were posted on social media sites and quickly went viral.

Designed and built by a German team, the Kinetic Rain sculpture, touted as the largest kinetic sculpture in the world, is about 10m high from the ceiling to the netting. It took 20 months to create, and is made up of 1,216 bronze droplets. The sculpture was part of the terminal's $500-million makeover.

Ms Doreen Teo, an office administrator in her late 30s, told The New Paper on Sunday that she was at the terminal to send her mother off on a holiday to Taiwan when she saw the woman.

She said: "By the time I saw her, people were already crowding around her.

She was standing on the netting." She didn't see how the woman got onto the netting.

Said Ms Teo: "My first impression was she was doing some performance and I was looking out for the big camera. But there was none."

Instead, she saw a crowd forming around the woman and almost everyone was whipping out their cameras and clicking away.

She said: "She had a very calm face. She tried to pull a few droplets and the strings broke. She even managed to tie one droplet to her wrist." By then, there were police officers at the scene.

'VERY BLUR LOOK'

Said Ms Teo: "They tried to talk to her, but she had this very blur look on her face and she was staring into space."

A police officer called out to her again and she just walked back to the edge of the netting, Ms Teo added.

When the woman tried to balance and walk precariously along a thin metal cable to get to the railing, worried bystanders started shouting at her to stop.

But she ignored them.

Said Ms Teo: "She just carried on walking. It was so scary. If she had missed a step, she would have fallen.

"The policewoman tried to pull her in, but she refused help. Another policeman offered his hand, but she also refused that. She then called another man to pull her in. He did so, with the help of the police officers. I don't think the man knows her, as he was already there filming and taking pictures."

She said the woman didn't struggle when the police officers arrested her.

She said: "She was just staring right ahead. The police officers just put the handcuffs on her and took her away."

The whole drama unfolded in about 20 to 30 minutes, she said.

"Everybody probably thought she was performing as there were no police officers around earlier," she said.

FACEBOOK

She also took photographs and posted them on her Facebook. Her friends then reposted the photographs, which went viral.

Police confirmed the incident and said they received a call for assistance at 8.28am.

The woman was arrested under the Mental Health Act and police are investigating.

TNP understands she is a foreigner.

When Mr Darren Chin, 43, an IT technician, visited the sculpture on Sunday at about 1pm, he saw engineers untangling the droplets on the ground.

He was having lunch with his wife at Terminal 1 and decided to check out the sculpture after seeing pictures of the woman on Facebook.

"I thought this must be a joke. No one could climb over. So I went over today to check and see if it is real."

Said the avid photographer, who had spent two whole days photographing the sculpture previously: "This is vandalism. You are destroying public property. This is an icon of Singapore - Terminal 1's icon."

When contacted, a Changi Airport Group spokesman confirmed that the sculpture was damaged.

"We have referred the matter to the police and our engineers are arranging for the sculpture to be repaired," he added.

Less than two months ago, a man, believed to be a foreigner, had injured his head by climbing into the Rain Oculus feature at Marina Bay Sands. The youth's friend jumped down to help him up, but they failed to come up as it was too slippery.

Another friend then helped them up using a jacket. A security team doing regular patrol nearby rushed over to help, but the visitors had left by then.


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