Jackie Chan gives last of his historic sandalwood houses to Singapore
Jackie Chan will give the last six of his collection of 10 historic Chinese sandalwood houses to a Singaporean university, after a decade of failed preservation talks with Hong Kong bureaucrats.
The film star bought the houses - said to be between 200 and 400 years old - for an unknown sum in Anhui province in the 1990s. They include a stage and a pavilion in traditional Hui-style architecture.
Chan reportedly had them renovated in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and stored them in warehouses. He donated four to the Singaporean government in 2009, which gave them to the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Chan decided to give the university the remaining six after being impressed by its preservation plan during a recent visit.
In an article posted on his official website on Thursday, Chan, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said: "These historical buildings are the essence of traditional Chinese architecture and I think it's such a waste if they're not displayed for people to appreciate.
"Ten years ago, I wanted to donate these buildings to the Hong Kong government so they could be displayed to the public … But after several years of discussions, and for whatever the reasons may be, we still haven't come up with any results."
But he said the Singaporean government quickly made arrangements to accommodate the houses and eventually a deal was struck to put them on the new campus of the university, to be opened in 2015.
Stephen Chan Chit-kwai, a member of Hong Kong's Antiquities Advisory Board, expressed regret that the city had missed an opportunity.
But he added: "From the perspective of conservation, the buildings should stay in their original locations. An old building will lose its cultural and historical significance if it is moved away from its original location."