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Could arts charities such as SSO and SCO work more with other groups in these tough times?

I was slightly bemused to read the reply from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) in "How SSO, SCO work with National Arts Council to support freelance musicians during Covid-19 crisis". While I applaud their initiatives, could more have been done and should they do more?

Could arts charities such as SSO and SCO work more with other groups in these tough times?
Anthony Chng Yeong Siong

I was slightly bemused to read the reply from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) in "How SSO, SCO work with National Arts Council to support freelance musicians during Covid-19 crisis" (March 7).

While I applaud their initiatives, could more have been done and should they do more?

As juggernauts and cultural flagships of Singapore, one would hope that they would take a more inclusive approach to the scourge that is ravaging smaller arts groups and freelancers, especially when both organisations, which have charity status, sit on reserves of S$70 to S$90 million dollars.

Theatre groups such as Pangdemonium, the Singapore Repertory Theatre and others seem to hold more impoverished sets of accounts.

While the reserves must have been painfully built up over the years, I wonder if the orchestras could have considered offering transitional help to fellow arts groups, not only in the form of money but maybe by sharing the expertise of their marketing and digital teams, especially when performances and concerts were much reduced.

In a connected world, arts charities do not exist in isolation. 

They serve the community as a collective with numerous social, health and humanitarian non-profits, many of which do not even have dedicated marketing — let alone digitally savvy staff members.

SSO and SCO could render help to smaller organisations, both in and beyond the arts sector.

As Singapore pivots to meet new challenges, I believe that it would best serve our collective interest to have an interconnected and mutually supportive non-profit ecosystem, instead of each sector looking inwards and missing out opportunities to help each other and move forward as a nation.

One thing is for sure: In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, no one can prosper alone.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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arts SSO Singapore Chinese Orchestra Charity reserves Covid-19

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