Thu, May 16, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Keelung eager for ‘Rubber Duck’ visit

LOCATION, LOCATION:Keelung Harbor offers ideal tidal conditions for the duck, a prime viewing area for visitors and easy public transportation, officials say

By Lu Hsien-hsiu and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A composite photo provided by New Taipei City Councilor Lee Kun-cheng shows an artist’s impression of a giant rubber duck floating in Taipei Port, Bali District, New Taipei City.

Photo courtesy of Lee Kun-cheng

Keelung officials have invited artist Florentijn Hofman to let his iconic 16.5m tall inflatable yellow Rubber Duck come to Keelung Harbor.

Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮) and Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰) sent the invitation to the Dutch artist on Monday, days after Huang launched a signature drive on Facebook to have the floating art installation make an appearance in the city.

The campaign has triggered an online frenzy and gained fervent support from netizens and Keelung residents. As of Tuesday, it had garnered about 9,200 “likes.”

Since its creation in 2007, the Rubber Duck, the world’s largest rubber duck, has traveled to 13 cities, including Amsterdam, Sydney, London, Osaka and Hong Kong.

The oversized bath toy is on display in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor until June 9, before sailing to its next destination in the US.

“Keelung Harbor is the best location to show the Rubber Duck because visitors can see the giant toy up close at the Keelung Maritime Plaza, which directly faces the harbor,” Chang said.

Chang added that the YM Oceanic Culture and Art Museum nearby is also an ideal area for onlookers to take photographs of the yellow duck, while Heping Plaza in Renai District (仁愛) could serve as a place for the display and sale of duck-themed products.

Since Keelung Harbor is located near the downtown area, people who want to see the duck can easily take the bus or train to do so, Huang said.

“In addition to the harbor’s advantageous location, the tidal range in the harbor is only about 0.8m, far below the tidal range cap of 2m for ports to accommodate the rubber duck,” he said.

Huang added that the city government had contacted Hofman and invited him to inspect the harbor.

In response to criticism about the sewage stink near Keelung Harbor and the lack of public facilities, Huang said that despite the city’s shortcomings, it must not give up the opportunity to advance itself.

Huang urged the city government to step up efforts to make the harbor a stronger candidate to become the next host of the floating sculpture, as Greater Kaohsiung and New Taipei City (新北市) have also expressed interest in hosting the duck.

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