‘Rubber Duck’ nests in Kaohsiung harbor as storm advances

Staff writer, with CNA, GREATER KAOHSIUNG

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - Page 4

An 18m-tall Rubber Duck sculpture will go on display in Greater Kaohsiung’s harbor as planned today, despite the approach of a tropical storm that is moving through the region, a city official said yesterday.

The city will closely monitor the movements of Tropical Storm Usagi, which could bear down on the nation starting tomorrow, and the duck will be deflated and covered for its protection if necessary, Greater Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.

Greater Kaohsiung is the first leg of the Taiwan tour of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s creation, a massively scaled up version of the iconic rubber duck toys used by children worldwide during bath time.

The city expects to attract about 3 million visitors between now and Oct. 20, when the duck will be leaving to nest elsewhere. That volume of visitors could generate NT$1 billion (US$33.71 million) for local businesses, many of which have developed products and tour packages based on the sculpture, according to Lai.

Hofman’s project has seen different models of the Rubber Duck visit 15 cities around the world since 2007, including Amsterdam, Sydney and Hong Kong.

The newly built Taiwanese duckie is the largest to be displayed in Asia, the city government said.

After Greater Kaohsiung, the inflatable artwork is scheduled to move up the nation’s west coast to Taoyuan, where it will be displayed from Oct. 26 through Nov. 10, before arriving at Keelung on Dec. 21.

As of 8am yesterday, the storm that threatens to mar the duck’s stay in the harbor was centered 1,150km east by southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, moving west at between 9kph and 12kph, the Central Weather Bureau said.