Playing with Dolls a Law and Order Problem - Think Centre's Permit Application Rejected

Posted by under Breaking News on 30 September 2002

On 4th September, Think Centre's working committee made an application to the FPD (Film and Publication Department) via fax for a permit to hold an installation art display on 1st October (Children's Day). The installation was to be displayed at one of the raised grass patch outside Raffles Place MRT Station (in between Change Alley and OUB centre). The installation was conceptualised to bring up the issues of the pressures and stress faced by children in society.

Exactly two weeks after the fax-in application, a call was made to FPD to enquire about the outcome of the application. As expected, the outcome is still not known (FPD's website stated that two weeks is needed for an application to be processed) and no reason is given. Ms Norsabariah, the officer who attended to the enquiry about the application status, did however suggested that to expedite the application process, a clearance is to be sought from the relevant landlord/management agent of the space that the installation art is to be displayed.

Promptly, within the same week, a proposal of the intended art display was faxed to the National Parks Board (NParks), which is responsible for the management of the land whereby the installation is to be put up. A few days later Ms Norsabariah, conveyed to the working committee that NParks had given the green light for the use of the space. But on 25th September (Wednesday), exactly three weeks since the application, FPD was still unable to furnish an answer when queried about the outcome of the application. The only thing that the working committee managed to get out of the FPD is the assurance from a Mr Madee (a manager at FPD) that the outcome will be known before the week is up.

On Friday, 27 September, an enquiry was made to the manager and again the status of the application was still unknown. The very defensive manager cited the need to consult with various agencies as the reason for the delay by the FPD. The manager also told the working committee that the outcome would be known latest by 30 September, which is just a day before the planned display of the installation art.

Later on during the same day, Ms Norsabariah also told the working committee that NParks had decided to hold back their clearance and will only give the green light when a permit from FPD is granted.

On Saturday (28 September), Think Centre's application to display twenty toy dolls measuring about twenty centimetres in height outside Raffles Place MRT Station was rejected by FPD due to law and order concerns as advised by the Police.

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