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Asian Civilisations Museum brings Raffles statue to life

In early February, Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) launched a living Raffles statue campaign, in partnership with The Secret Little Agency (TSLA). The living Raffles statue aims to enact the many sides of Raffles for the public to reassess their knowledge of Raffles, and his legacy in Southeast Asia.

Venturing across town and into the heartlands, this interactive experience was presented during an exhibition called, Raffles in Southeast Asia: Revisiting the Scholar and Statesman. In keeping with the ACM’s mission to explore encounters and connections, this exhibition presents a multilayered picture of Raffles while presenting the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Java and the Malay world.

Crowds were intrigued by the living Raffles statue, who paraded and posed according to traits marked on his plaque, such as “Ruthless or Righteous?”. Happening over the course of two days, the living Raffles statue will enact the many sides of Raffles for the public to reassess their knowledge of Raffles, and his legacy in Southeast Asia.

“There’s going to be plenty of attention around Raffles this year and in alignment with the Asian Civilisations Museum’s special exhibition, we wanted this activation to provoke discovery and curiosity into the nuances and complexity of Singapore’s founder in a surprising and memorable way,” a TSLA spokesperson said.

In commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial, KFC was also another brand that placed a real-life statue of its founding father, Colonel Sanders, by the Singapore River.  The idea was born between KFC and its creative agency partner, Ogilvy, to pay homage to the Founding Colonel of the world’s favourite fried chicken brand, with a sense of humour.

Building an exact replica of the original and new founding father statues, the KFC version had a classic twist – a real human posing as the statue. This allowed the brand to engage with onlookers and grab attention.

In other ways to engage and spark conversations on the history of Singapore, the Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) was behind the “disappearing” of the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, located along the Singapore River. SBO had commissioned the optical illusion to set the context of the commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial.

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