Two Pandas, named Jia Jia and Kia Kia arrived in Singapore recently. They are on loan to us from China as a gesture of good will.
Seems like there is panda fever on the island. There were long vertical banners hanging from lamp poles along Tampines Town central avenue which welcomed the two pandas. These were put up months before their arrival. Each panda has several banners dedicated to it with its name on it. So we have banners which welcomes Jia Jia and another welcoming Kia Kia.
Tampines is not any where close to the zoo, wonder why the banners are put up. Perhaps they are welcoming the pandas in all housing estates across the island ? Wow ! Our govt don't even do this when foreign head of states visit us. So far, cannot recall any banner put up to welcome any of them.
Last Sat, I passed by a Church opposite Cathay Cinema near Dhoby Ghuat MRT. The church has a long horizontal banner with a huge panda face on it. The banner caption is something about 'He loves us so that we are not unloved'. I suppose 'He' refers either to God or Jesus. So what has the panda has to do with God or Jesus love for mankind ? Is the church using the panda to represent us ? Though panda is a mammal like us, but in terms of genetic make up, it is not that close to us. Anyway, they don't believe in the evolution theory, so unlikely mammal is on their mind when they used the panda face. I suppose panda is so endearing and cute that the church is banking that it will capture more attention from the public compare to putting up a human face.
Our local zoo will be trying to breed them. Likely we will see success as our zoo has good track record breeding endanger species. If successful, the new additions belong to China. Look like China is having a great deal with their 'good will' gesture loaning pandas to zoos internationally. Their good will is never free. Not sure how much S'pore paid for the pair. Any baby pandas born world wide will belong to China unconditionally. If I am not mistaken, they will be returned to China without charge for the expenses put in breeding and rearing the panda babies, when China claims them back.
When you have something the world demanded, you can demand anything from the world.