Update: Now President Tony Tan also gets dragged into this. CEO Isabella Loh, *well done*.
Update 2: Here is a clipping where "Miss December" was interviewed for her bikini photo in the SembCorp calendar.
Message from Isabella Loh Wai Kiew:
Thank you for all your posts and comments. I know that the decision to cancel Halloween Horrors was sudden, and I am very sorry for all the upset it has caused.
In particular, I would like to reiterate my apology to the Singapore Polytechnic students. I have spoken with their Principal and I plan to meet them personally to discuss this matter early next week.
I would also like to clarify that I did not intend to link President Tan's comment from our Mid Autumn Festival "Moon Night" celebrations to the decision to close Halloween Horrors, which was made in consultation and agreed by the management of Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The Board was informed.
As CEO, I take full responsibility for this decision. I believe that it is the right one for WRS and remain committed to our mission in Singapore.
If I were the Principal, I will never let my students work on a project with the Night Safari again, as long as their current CEO is in charge. Why risk having future projects yanked at the last minute? If she can do it this time, what is to stop her from doing it again?
And those of you who think I am quoting unverified sources from forums may want to know that they are NOT unverified sources. I am in touch with a few sources. And if you heard some of the stories that I've been told, you'd be angry too.
Halloween Horrors, a highly successful event that has been running for six years, was to be held at the Night Safari on September 30th, but the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) management decided to to yank it 2 weeks before launch.
The event is run by students from Singapore Polytechnic's Diploma in Events and Project Management as their final year project. (TNP link and CNA link)
Seven months of hard work, almost $1 million dollars spent, 1000 tickets sold, all down the tubes.
Apparently, the new CEO, Isabella Loh, said that there was negative feedback from "corporations, friends of the zoo, the public and the media about the event, especially over the relevance in relation to conservation".
CEO Isabella Loh also said that it would focus on more multi-cultural family bonding events, and that the Halloween event was canceled because it clashed with a Deepavali event in October.
What was particularly disturbing was a report from the SP team that someone in the senior management said, in response to why the event was canceled, 'We should not worship the devil. We can be creative and turn the bad for good."
WRS would neither confirm or deny the quote.
There is an "official statement" by the new CEO, at their Facebook page. It is drawing many negative comments.
Me, I am boycotting the Night Safari and their "multi-cultural" and "family bonding" ways, not because I am against multi-culturalism and family bonding, but because what they did to those SP students was wrong. You heard me, I am boycotting the Night Safari.
Someone who was allegedly involved as a scare actor, named lolxuan, mentioned in a forum:
Hi guys, I was involved in last year's halloween horrors and was gonna be in this year's too as a scare actor.
The entire event was planned by a group of students from SP's Diploma in Events and Project Management as their final year project, just like last year. Everything from the theme, costume design, recruitment/audition of actors to the actual planning and exectution of the event was and would have been done by them. Most of the scare actors, about 90% of us, are either poly students or recently graduated poly students.
The last minute cancellation came as a huge shock to all of us involved because it's less than 3 weeks to the start of the actual event. I was actually at the night safari trying out my costume the other day and when i got home at night I heard that someone high up decided to pull the plug on it just like that.
This annual halloween event has been going on since 2007 and is always a huge success in both drawing crowds as well as making huge profits for the Night Safari/Singapore Zoo. it is ridiculous to expect anyone to believe that the actual reason of cancelling such a highly anticipated event so close to its start is to make way for events like a Deepavali festival or other 'family oriented' events.
If they were against this from the start they would and should have cancelled it a long time ago, not only now. Not when all the costumes are done, makeup artists have been hired, scare actors auditioned and trained, props and decoration on site been set up, roadshow booth opened at Orchard and even tickets already gone on sale.
To people speculating about there being a religious nut behind this last minute cancellation, that certainly seems to be a possibility. From what we understand so far, the decision came from Wildlife Reserves Singapore's new interim CEO, Isabella Loh. (you can google her elite, uncaring face) The reasons we got apart from the one they told the media is that 'having an event like Halloween Horrors is like worshipping the devil.' I'll say that the people working at the Night Safari/Singapore Zoo, members of the public and of course the students who are directly involved in creating this event are all extremely disappointed in this shocking decision. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what is going on...
In an update, lolxuan posted:
Okay guys, here's the latest update.
It has been confirmed that the decision to cancel Halloween Horrors was a sole decision made by the CEO.
We are trying hard to get this decision overturned now so the event can go ahead as planned.
Please don't let 7 months of hard work and effort go down the drain like that. If you are involved in this event, have been involved in past years' events or simply would like to go to this event then I appeal to you to help make your feelings known in whatever way you can! Spread the word people!!!