Yishun artist creates latest toy tower with authorities’ blessings

Yishun's unofficial community artist Or Beng Kooi has come up with the latest iteration of his toy tower, this time with the authorities on board.

The 77-year-old retiree and long-time Yishun resident was invited by Nee Soon GRC MP K. Shanmugam and Chong Pang Community Club (CC) to create the installation.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Shanmugam, the Law and Home Affairs Minister, said: "We asked if he will construct and exhibit the toy tower during Chinese New Year."

The installation, on the second floor of the CC, went on display last Tuesday and will be there until March 3.

For his latest effort, Mr Or has toned down his trademark cheeky style - such as topless dolls and smoking Buddhas.

The former contractor said he had to abide by just one restriction - no religious figurines.

"The authorities told me I can't use deities because people from different religions will be at the CC.

It makes sense, so to replace these figurines, I spent about $100 buying some toys from shops like the Value Dollar Store," he said.

A stuffed dog - a nod to the upcoming Year of the Dog - is the centrepiece of his display, which also features vintage toy cars, plastic flowers, Singapore flags, and figurines such as Captain America.

Mr Or created his first tower in late 2016 at the void deck of Block 108 Yishun Ring Road, where he lives.

But it was removed last February after the authorities, worried about fire safety, stepped in.