The Singapore Government has paid local artist Lee Wen an undisclosed sum for copying his art work, a rounded table tennis concept. Statutory board Sport Singapore (SportSG) and its vendor, Unusual Productions, have earlier met up with Lee Wen and his art gallery iPreciation for a discussion over the copied art work.

Photo from Sport Singapore
Photo from Sport Singapore
Photo from Martyn See
Photo from Martyn See

Lee Wen is a Cultural Medallion award winner and his rounded table tennis concept was first displayed in Melbourne Central in 1998. In 2014, Lee Wen submitted his art work to the sport museum and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), of which he did not get a response.

His art piece was then displayed during the South East Asian (SEA) Games exhibition and he became aware only after his friend informed him. Through the SEA Games organizers, the MCCY denied any wrongdoing on their part and chose to blame their vendor:

“This was an activity proposed by our vendor, and were unaware of the similarity. We did not intend to infringe on any rights.”

An undisclosed sum of payment has been made to Lee Wen in the name of “goodwill”, according to the Sport Singapore’s press release. Evidently, there is no compensation and admission of fault by the MCCY hence the term “goodwill”. Aside from the payment, Lee Wen’s art work will be accepted by the sport museum as he had previously proposed in 2014.

Do you think the Ministry should have done its due diligence to avoid wasting taxes on “goodwill” payments?