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The Business Times
www.businesstimes.com.sg

Michael Tay, Arts Entrepreneur by The Business Times

December 18, 2018 | Highlights, In The News

He was a kampung boy who grew up to become a wine-drinking, music-loving plenipotentiary and polymath, but you wouldn’t know it on first meeting him.

Mr Tay, 59, describes himself as a big-picture, long-term kind of guy, and there’s sufficient evidence to back that up. As a foreign ministry official and diplomat – he’s a former Ambassador to Russia – Tay is well-versed in the art of state-craft, but he’s also a champion of the arts scene, on a mission to provide a global platform for local artists and musicians and change lives in the process. While serving as ambassador, he commissioned Russian composer Vladimir Martynov to create a full-blown symphony for Singapore. It debuted in Moscow in October 2005 and was performed in Singapore in 2007. While in Moscow, he also created the Singapore-Russia Business Forum, an annual meeting to promote bilateral ties, persuade Russian oligarchs to visit Singapore and provide business opportunities for all parties involved.  

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Michael Tay’s early interest in philosophy has profoundly shaped the way he thinks about issues and trends – simultaneously teaching him how to seek underlying motivations and causes in the area of problem-solving. This, together with his passion for the arts and its place in society, led to the genesis of Foundation for the Arts and Social Enterprise, which aims to pin Singapore’s art scene onto the world map.