Artist painting mural in Chinatown: 'Embarrassing when visitors came by and saw all this rubbish'

Submitted by Stomper Kantaya

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Trash can be art, but often trash is just trash.

Visual artist Yip Yew Chong said it was "embarrassing" to have people see the illegally dumped rubbish in the Chinatown alleyway where he was commissioned to paint an outdoor mural.

He started work on the mural at 25 Temple Street on Monday (April 17) and was expected to complete it today (April 23).

Stomper Kantaya shared photos of people watching the artist painting the mural last week with a mess of discarded items nearby.

"The famous muralist was painting on the mural that was surrounded by rubbish and illegal dumping," said the Stomper.

"Lots of overseas tourists are visiting his mural, but it looked like this."

She later told Stomp that the rubbish was cleared on Saturday (April 22).

When contacted by Stomp on Thursday night (April 20), Mr Yip said: "It hasn’t affected my work as the rubbish is on the other side of the alley. Just embarrassing when visitors and tourists came by and saw all this rubbish!"

He was commissioned to paint the mural by the owner of the building.

"The owner reported the rubbish to NEA (National Environment Agency) on the day I started the mural," said the artist.

"The tenants of another property were also frustrated with the increasing rubbish. They said it started about 20 days ago when someone threw bulky stuff there illegally. It led others to think it was a dumping ground and more were added every day.

"The cleaners only cleared the rubbish thrown inside the green bins. They are not responsible for clearing rubbish thrown outside into the ground. NEA has not shown up after four days I was there. The rubbish was accumulating every day. There were charred wood and wood with sharp nails, food et cetera, which attracted rats and mosquitoes, and were a hazard as the rubbish was thrown right in front of a power station.

"I saw a similar situation in Little India last month when I was painting there. There were lots of illegal dumping of food waste and bulky stuff onto the floor from nearby restaurants when the green bins were overfilled. It attracted rats, crows and mosquitoes. The rain washed this waste into the open drain and became smelly sludge."

When Stomp visited the Temple Street alleyway where Mr Yip was working on his mural on Saturday (April 22) at 4.30pm, most of the rubbish appeared to have been cleared.

Stomp has contacted NEA for more info.