Photograph by Creative Director Philip Tan of a rehearsal.
‘A spectacular ceremony’, says Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.
Spearheading a lasting legacy by altering people’s perception of what athletes, performers and non-athletes and non-performers alike are capable of.
Download 2016 post-event report PDF here: http://bit.ly/2fkdOog
Above: Games torch at Opening Ceremony by Associate Visual Director Yan Tuck Hong.
Download PDF (18MB) Kai’s reflection of her work at the ASEAN Para Games as Communications Director and Visual Director https://goo.gl/Fldyui
‘Best Games ever’, declares The New Paper (10 December), amongst other accolades from other press in Singapore and the region.
A post-performance self-congratulatory we-fie with a few of the Cast and Creative team members, 2015 ASEAN Para Games Opening Ceremony. Richard Wright (back) was in the Communications team as writer and copyeditor.
Because I am a Champion: National Shooter Aishah Samad featured in a centrespread of the Opening Ceremony Programme booklet.
Some famous footballer gatecrashing the 8th ASEAN Para Games. Things that people do to get attention.
Words from one of our partners, Singapore Association for the Deaf, with whom we work for the hosting and live interpretation and live captioning of the Ceremonies. The provisions for the deaf was something that the Creative Team worked hard at, even though the ASEAN Para Games does not feature the Deaf as a category.
2015: Book commemorating the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games, with commissioned photographs by Tuckys Photography.
Words from one of our partners and Advisory Board Member Mr Anuwar Abdul Wahab, Vice Principal, Metta School.
Immersive and interactive: audience as co-creators of the performance when they sing and sign with their hands.
Feedback from Vice Principal of Rainbow Centre (Yishun Park) Jeanie Morgan, who is our advisor and partner.
Luo Mang, who is 15 and has autism, performing with dancers from Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Stretching the Boundaries, against the majestic backdrop of hand-drawn animation by Kleopatra Korai (Athens, NY).
Creative Director Philip Tan spells out his vision for the ASEAN Para Games.
Being special and proud of it: how the Ceremonies dare to be different, by challenging peoples’ expectations.
‘The best ever APG’, and ‘A Games to Remember’, declares The New Paper (10 December).
‘Best games ever’ (Today 2015).
‘Best Games ever’ declares the front page of Singapore main Chinese-language newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao.
‘Singapore sets the benchmark’, says the President of the ASEAN Para Sports Federation Dato Zainal Abu Zairin.
Cereremonies that aim to illuminate hearts and minds to the possibilities for all to achieve greatness. The Straits Times full-page story, 10 December 2015.
‘Singapore scores its best results ever’, declares Lianhe Wanbao, a Singapore Chinese-language newspaper.
Impact and legacy beyond sport and the arts: the Games as powerful platforms and opportunities to trigger changes in attitudes and policies.
Special, and proud to be so. The New Paper coverage on December 1, 2015, Singapore.
Coverage by Shin Min Daily News, a Singapore Chinese-language newspaper, featuring a photograph displaying hand-made sculptures created by students of the Association for Persons with Special Needs.
Front page coverage of the Closing Ceremony of the 8th ASEAN Para Games on Berita Harian, a Malay-langauge newspaper (Singapore).
Facebook post by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hisen Loong.
Tweet by Ministry for Communication, Culture and Youth on item Personal Best, as performed by Deaf dance group Redeafination.
Tweets by Channel 8 and 88.3 radio (Singapore’s main Chinese-language TV and radio stations). Photograph is of the Closing Ceremony, which was a banquet for 3000 officials and athletes and took place at Grand Ballroom of the iconic Marina Bay Sands.
Tweet by Ministry for Community, Culture and Youth
‘A stunning finale’ featuring music composed by Creative Director Philip Tan, visuals created by artist Michael Larsson, and laser show by Samson Phua.
A few of the #apg2015 tweets, including one by Minister Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development.
The press hailing the Games as the ‘one of the best yet’ (Today, 9 December).
‘What a show to kickoff #apg2015!’ Tweet by main Singapore English-language newspaper The Straits Times
Sport and art collide in the Closing Ceremony. Seen on stage are Team Singapore athletes (in red), athletes from Malaysia (in orange) as well as performers from I’m Soul Inc.
Extinguishing of the cauldron – while carrying specially-commissioned umbrellas that light up and that have been inspired by prosthetics. Designed by Sets Director Airik Ng.
2 years in the making by the core team, and months of rehearsals by the 1400 performers from schools and voluntary groups.
Roaring loud and raring to go (watch the Games): The 454 students, 661 performers, 174 volunteers, and 120 motivators at the finale of the Opening Ceremony, 3 December 2015, Singapore Indoor Stadium.
June Lin of the Down Syndrome Association (centre) striking the final pose of the finale with fellow collaborators.
The President of Singapore Dr Tony Tan declares the 8th ASEAN Para Games open.
Collaboration is at the heart of the Ceremonies – as is the torch relay. Paralympian gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu, badminton player Tay Wei Ming, and 9-year old Aloysius Gan.
For the first time, an Athletes’ Parade that wasn’t a dip in energy, but a lively performance featuring music created by Philip Tan and Lui Chee Chau, as well as a few hundred volunteer dancers. Photograph by Tuckys Photography.
Sign-language interpreters and emcees as a team of hosts, interacting in sign language. Photograph by Associate Visual Director Yan Tuck Hong / Tuckys Photography.
Screenshot of script for the sign language interpreters and emcees for the Opening Ceremony, created by the Communications team via workshopping with the interpreters and emcees.
Formal aspects of the Ceremony, such as the oath-taking, were cleverly interweaved into the narrative of the performance.
Goody bags which were distributed to audiences at the Singapore Indoor Stadium contained, amongst other things, the Opening Ceremony programme booklet and a flag of one of the 10 participating nations. Phtograph by Transfixion
A newly-arranged National Anthem, featuring Asian instruments such as the bansuri flute, sung by children from special education schools, and signed by interpreter Neoh Yew Kim. Photograph by Tuckys Photography.
A we-fie featuring volunteers who danced during the Athletes’ Parade, emcee Terence Tay, Communications Director Dr Kai Syng Tan and Communications Associate Richard Wright.
The large screen in this photograph shows picture-in-picture live interpretation that took place during the Opening Ceremony. Photograph by Tuckys Photography.
A show for, by and with people from all walks of life. Photograph by Associate Visual Director Yan Tuck Hong.
Osrita Muslim, Indonesia’s national table tennis player, filmed posing proudly at the famous temple Borobudur. As the image on the right shows, the photograph was not created via photoshopping.
Legacy-building: the Games as impetus for inclusivity in the sport and social arenas of Singapore. Screenshot of stories from The Straits Times.
A ‘rousing ceremony’, declares Sport Singapore.
Highly-strung, high-flying acrobats in the second movement of the Opening Ceremony, A World of Creative Possibilities!
What a rousing start to what could be a new chapter in the ASEAN Para Games as well as Singapore.
The Athletes’ Parade, featuring Team Singapore athletes and volunteer dancers from all walks of life (up to age 78!)
A slick synthesis of formal aspects of a Games Ceremony with performance, by Creative Director Philip Tan!
Through sport and the arts, a call for inclusivity and an expanded view of disability, as Singapore reaches 50 years of independence. It’s about time!
Stretching the Boundaries: whether you are an athlete, actor or astronaut, embrace challenges, re-invent, break through.
Interview by Singapore and regional press with Creative Team members, including Lui Chee Chau, musician, composer and perfoemr with visual impairment from Malaysia.
Journalists from the local and regional media reading the programme booklets as they wait for Dr Kai Syng Tan’s address to begin.
A few of the youngest members of the Creative Team: 12-year old filmmakers and photographers from Fuhua Primary School capturing what happens behind the scenes.
On performer and singing sensation Lidiya Binte Rymee Iskandar, 11 who has autism.
The Creative Team was advised by a board which consisted of vice principals from Special Education Schools. We worked closely with them to ensure that the welfare of the performers (and audiences) with special needs are taken care of. For instance, a Relaxation Room was created so that people could use it if they find things too overwhelming. Performers underwent a pyrotechnics practice so that they could understand the level of noise to expect on the big day. We also created slides, such as this here, played before each show.
A few of the feature stories about the Creative Team
Film (by Transfixion) on Associate Visual Director Timothy Chan, 25 and top para chess player, on how he used his wheelchair to paint for one of the items in the Opening Ceremony.
For interviews with schools, sign language interpreters and Creative Team members: click https://www.aseanparagames2015.com/news/feature-stories
The Ceremonies as not just another gig for Kai (Visual Director), Michael who’s come all the way from Sweden (Associate), 78-year old Alice (performer) and 29-year old Jin Wen (Movement Director). Click https://www.aseanparagames2015.com/news/feature-stories
Instagram picture by Team Singapore weightlifter and Ceremonies’ performer Kalai Vanen. Kalai, a Games debutant, was to win a bronze medal.
‘I have seen what London did with the Paralympics. I think we can do it too, for ASEAN,’ says Associate Visual Director Yan Tuck Hong.
A combined rehearsal that took place at a community sports hall in November 2015.
8th ASEAN Para Games preview in October 2015 (screen capture from Yahoo Sg website).
Celebrating the triumph of the human spirit: Channel News Asia’s coverage of October 2015 media preview.
The extraordinary 78-year old Alice Bee’s brilliant performance in the Opening Ceremony of the 8th ASEAN Para Games foregrounds the extraordinary creative approach of the Ceremonies (The New Paper, October 2015).
Video clip by group that performs with children and families with disability, I’m Soul Inc, on their involvement in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
A few members of the Creative Team, including the well-known filmmaker Bertrand Lee (Venice Film Festival), who is himself an amputee.
Incomplete list of 1400-strong Cast and 75-strong Creative Team for the Opening Ceremony
Press Kit cover featuring National Shooter Aishah Samad, as filmed by Associate Visual Director Yan Tuck Hong and Transfixion (Ngee Ann Polytechnic).
2015: Official A5 programme booklets, as well as the larger Braille version.
Close up of Braille page of Closing Ceremony programme booklet.
Original cover as intended by the Creative Team for the Opening Ceremony booklet, featuring hand-drawn artwork by Associate Visual Director Kleopatra Korai (previously at Aardman Animations).
Original cover as intended by the Creative Team for the Closing Ceremony booklet, featuring hand-drawn artwork by Associate Visual Director Kleopatra Korai (previously at Aardman Animations).
Inhabiting, no, creating a world of Creative Possibilities: a centrespread from Opening Ceremony programme booklet on the second movement.
A centrespread from the Closing Ceremony programme booklet, featuring original photographs (of a badminton player from Malaysia, and javelin thrower from Brunei) texts and interviews created by the Creative Team.
Creating ‘visionary innovations beyond the ordinary’: original closing message by Creative Director Philip Tan for the Closing Ceremony booklet.
Did you know that the legendary Singapore ruler Lee Kuan Yew had dyslexia? Original infographics commissioned by the Creative Team (developed by Amelia Jaishree and Dr Kai Syng Tan, drawn by Alexa Ong) intended for one of the programme booklets.
Pirates with disability as good guys! Original story commissioned by the Creative Team (created by Richard Wright and drawn by Alexa Ong ) intended for one of the programme booklets that subverts old-fashioned narrative tropes of characters with disability.
Cabling up the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN Para Games: a few metres of the millions more (enough to go around the island of Singapore a few times?).
Workshopping with sign language interpreters and emcees. International sign interpreter Jessica Mak is seen in the foreground sharing her views.
A few of the Visual Team working closely (and camping) together at the Creative Room at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
A few of the 75-member strong Creative Team camping out at the Creative Room, Singapore Indoor Stadium
Kai was Visual Director and Communications Director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG), commissioned by Sport Singapore. The APG — the ‘Paralympics’ for South East Asia — welcomed 3000 athletes and officials from 10 nations. The multimillion-dollar, multi-media Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Celebrate the Extraordinary, was attended by Heads of States, enjoyed by 6000 people at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (3 December, Opening) and many others at the Marina Bay Sands (9 December, Closing), broadcasted to 600 million in the region and live-streamed (with live captioning) to many more. Kai worked with the critically-acclaimed Creative Director Philip Tan,whom Kai has worked with since 1998. Tan was also Music Director and Composer for the Ceremonies. Over a two-year period, Philip and Kai honed the shows’ bold message, that of the celebration of the mental and physical strengths of people of different abilities. Created by, with and for people of all abilities, the 75-member strong Creative Team consists of well-known cultural practitioners, including Movement Director Pua Jin Wen, as well as emerging talents such as Associate Visual Director Timothy Chan (born 1990), who is also a champion para-athlete (chess). Fusing sport and art, Celebrate is an extension of Kai’s research on running as an artistic discourse.
IMPACT BEYOND SPORT AND THE ARTS
The Ceremonies were an overwhelming success. Referring to the REF criteria, the project may qualify as a three-star REF project, being one that is ‘internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour’. The Ceremonies were multimedia extravaganzas that dazzled, and made positive contributions to help advance the disability discourse in Singapore and the region by presenting disability with a face and voice that is neither tragic, grotesque nor maudlin, but confident, proud, talented and stunning The Ceremonies also received critical acclaim from educational institutions, cultural practitioners, athletes and officials, government bodies (such as as the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) as well as heads of states. The Games has been described as the best ever ASEAN Para Games, as one has set a new precedent not just for Para Games in the South East Asian region, but with broader implications for inclusivity (The Straits Times, The New Paper, Berita Herian et al). There were several firsts, such as the Opening Ceremony being beamed live to Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as being accompanied by live interpretation and live captioning, which, according to Deputy Director of the Singapore Association for the Deaf Alvan Yap, ‘marks a giant step towards an inclusive Singaporean society”. A complex level of teaching-and-learning was meticulously weaved into the project as the Team worked closely with the 454 students from special education and mainstream primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions. The shows were unique also because the contents were co-created with not just students, but members of the community from all walks of life. They include 661 performers, 174 volunteers (such as Alice Bee, aged 78 and blind in one eye), and 120 motivators. 2 years in the making, the Ceremonies generated a range of outputs, such as photographs and video clips of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and programme booklets (which came with Braille versions, too). The ASEAN Para Games may have created significant impact in not only the sport but arts and academic worlds in Singapore and the region. Celebrate has repeated the success of another performance that Philip and Kai showcased at the 27th South East Asian Games (Myanmar, 2013), which was praised by a diplomat to have ‘set the bar high’.
KAI’S ROLES, QUOTE AND INTERVIEW
As Visual Director, Kai handpicked and directed a group of 10 Associate Visual Directors, who in turn lead other professionals and students (from HEIs, primary and special schools). As Communications Director, Kai led a team that consisted of, amongst others, writers, a lyricist and a graphic designer, to work on the dramaturgical direction of the shows, develop the contents, tone and aesthetics of the official programme publications, as well as the narratives of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Having always had an expanded understanding of difference, disability and diversity, Kai’s involvementin the Ceremonies was given an additional level of significance after she was (finally) diagnosed in September 2015 with ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia. Kai says,
‘Each of us is ‘special’. It is our man-made narrow-mindedness that dis-en-ables us. I’d never been screened as I’ve always been a high-achiever. And I achieve because, not in spite, of my ‘disorders’. My ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia are my gifts, my distinct programming systems that en-able me to see, intuit and intellectualise about the world in my own unique ways. Working on the shows has been challenging. I love a cracking challenge. Who needs a boring, easy life?’
‘On behalf of our deaf and hard-of-hearing clients at SADeaf, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for everyone’s efforts in making the ASEAN Para Games ceremonies more accessible to our community. This, as far as we know, is the first time ‘’live’’ captioning has been offered for such a big event and at a national level too, and also marks a giant step towards an inclusive Singaporean society.”
— Alvan Yap, Deputy Director, Singapore Association for the Deaf
“It’s the most accessible live show by far I ever had the pleasure of watching. Kudos to your team!”
— Alvan Yap, Deputy Director, Singapore Association for the Deaf
‘Congratulations for the picture perfect Opening Ceremony. I believe the wonderful extraordinary experience will be engraved in the mind and heart for the rest of their lives. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to be part of this once in a life time journey and do let me affirm that our hard work and creative mind had captured the heart of the audience yesterday.. Kudos to you and your team! You havecreated exceptional work in letting the status of our students with disabilities soar to greater heights’.
— Anuwar Abdul Wahab, Vice Principal, Metta School
‘Congratulations on Your Opening Ceremony. So much work, passion, planning and care clearly went into it. I hope Kelly and I were able to give it the verbal and commentary enhancement it deserved.’
— Dez Corkhill, TV Commentator for Opening Ceremony, Mediacorp
‘It was great, you guys did a great job! So proud of everyone!’
— Associate Visual Director Bertrand Lee, whose film commissioned for the Ceremonies can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUXCH-FKRIM&list=PLqAmVfhsW7xNNt2v-zHFvtGAmWyPoI_kr&index=1
‘I just wanted to congratulate you both on a wonderful show. i just can’t imaging the amount of work that must have gone into coordinating and producing such a vibrant and rich event. Lasalle was extremely happy to have been invited to contribute.’
— Khalid Al Mkhlaafy, Programme Leader, Broadcast Media, LASALLE College of the Arts
‘I am certainly going to raise your event as role model for other organisers. It’s excellent! In all my almost 25 years with the Deaf Community, I have seen nothing like this. Thanks for the support all round! What you are doing is a first here!’
— Claudine Chan, Singapore Association for the Deaf
‘Awesome awesome awesome! … It is the first time my hubby, who is Deaf, sat down to watch it at home with me. I dashed back home in time to catch the tail end of the country Parade. In the past, he seldom watches any ceremonies or parades cos there wasn’t any captioning but not this time!’
— Claudine Chan, Singapore Association for the Deaf, after the Opening Ceremony
PROFILES OF CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST (selection)
Creative Director Philip Tan on the agendas of the shows