This is indeed a small world. So many people connected to Providence came to see WaterFire again in Singapore.
Among them was our dear friend Joe Fernandez’s family, including his sister-in-law Naomi Tinklepaugh, and his nieces and nephews, Leah, Benjamin, Ilana, and Jacob, and their gap year students from Venezuela, Carolina and Cameila.
Joe was a good friend of mine. He was originally from the Philippines, but I had the honor of getting to known him in Providence, through Brown University and Leadership Rhode Island. He was active with Brown as a fellow alum and was the very capable Providence City Solicitor for Mayor David Cicilline. Joe was running for RI Attorney General, when we lost him due to a heart attack. Joe was dearly loved and is missed by many of us.
To find so many of his family here in Singapore visiting WaterFire reaffirms how connected Providence is with the entire world. I also had the pleasure of meeting many other Rhode Islanders including Ann Maroni and Michael Greco.
It is a small world indeed.
Lighting the braziers on a boat in Providence tonight with the flames sent there from our first lighting in Asia is a special guest. Isaac is here with our good friend Francisco Noya, the resident conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Isaac is from the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture and he is in Providence to take a look at WaterFire for a possible lighting in Buenos Aires.
As I told him just now by phone from the opposite side of the globe, Singapore is 1 degree north of the equator, so we still have to arrange for the first lighting of WaterFire in the Southern Hemisphere.
Isaac did say he was loving Providence and blown away by WaterFire! So stay tuned.
We just came back from our dawn transfer of firelight from here in Singapore, where the day first dawns, back to Providence on the opposite side of the globe. We tended one brazier here throughout the night to unfamiliar stars overhead. We watched the sky slowly turn pink in the east. A crescent moon rose first and then the glow of the rising sun filled the horizon.
The lone WaterFire brazier held forth an answering light to the rising sun in Singapore while Sake communicated with Arik and PK back home in Providence where the sun was just setting. We could hear all the excitement and music from all the way around the world in Providence. As the four Providence lighters, Jim Bennett, and three Providence residents with Singapore connections, Jonathia Ang and freshman students from RISD and Brown University, stood by we went live with the video connection.
Just as the boats entered Waterplace Basin in RI, four WaterFire volunteers from Providence, now in Singapore, Peter Van Erp, Paolo Van Erp, Christine Maino, and Jim Alves, all lit their torches from the Singapore brazier and then lit my torch. With that we passed the flame from Singapore to Providence, connecting two art installations of WaterFire, two thriving cities exactly opposite from each other on the globe, and two warm celebrations of diversity, culture, and arts to symbolize just how intimate a world we live in.
May peace be with you all. Knowing that the beauty of WaterFire will now be continued all night back in Providence with Salsa and glowing fish on the Woonasquatucket, we walked into the Singaporean dawn to encounter one hundred singing song birds twittering away in their gilded cages lifted high overhead in the park above their proud owners. Next a delicious Muslim breakfast of curried chicken with egg Masala and iced coffee!
Many, many thanks to all the thousands of people who have helped us keep WaterFire burning brightly and who have now joined us in connecting Providence to the world by bringing WaterFire entirely around the globe.
Good Night and Good Morning!