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Take 2 for Cardinal Sin’s statue; they got it right this time

/ 02:05 AM February 26, 2012

Take two for the monument to Sin.

For the second time in a year, coinciding with the celebrations to mark the 26th anniversary of the first Edsa People Power Revolution, a statue of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, one of the icons of that historic event, was unveiled on Saturday at the same spot in Rizal Park where a previous likeness of him stood and which had been derided as nowhere resembling the subject.

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This time it took a Chinese sculptor, who has admitted to knowing nothing about his subject, to capture the image of the Cardinal Sin of the 1980s that people remember.

Delivering his homily at the Edsa Shrine on Saturday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle remarked at the very strong resemblance of the new statue to the late cardinal.

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“It looks more like him now. Do visit later and you will see, it looks more like him now, right?” he said, eliciting laughter from the audience.

“They got him right this time,” remarked Lillian Jarabo, 60.

“He resembles Cardinal Sin now, not like before,” said 43-year-old factory worker Rowena Arcadio.

The life-size bronze statue of a smiling, elderly Sin, a little stooped, with his right hand raised seemingly in acknowledgment of the crowd gathered for the celebration, joins the triumvirate of “people power heroes” standing on the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Padre Burgos Street—President Corazon Aquino and her husband, the martyred opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr.

The statue was donated to the City of Manila by Manuel Chua of Tulay Foundation and seven other Chinese organizations in recognition of Sin’s Chinese ancestry. It cost P700,000 to construct and ship it to Manila from Beijing.

Shipped from Beijing

According to Chinese sculptor Shi Yan Min of Beijing, he was going for the closest likeness of the cardinal that everyone could easily identify.

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“(I am) not familiar with Cardinal Sin, I tried to learn about (his) history and collected pictures so I could realize what (his) appearance is,” Shi said in an interview. He said he worked on the bronze statue for three months in Beijing, before it was shipped to Manila two months ago.

Though he is thankful for the overall verdict about his work’s close resemblance to the subject, Shi is not completely satisfied.

“(It is) still not perfect,” he said, pointing out flaws in the rendition of the draped cloth.

“I was happy to do the work,” said Shi, who has been given two other commissions—a statue of the late movie idol Fernando Poe Jr. to stand at Luneta, and a bust of President Corazon Aquino for Malacañang palace.

Out with the old

According to Ric de Guzman, chief of staff at the city mayor’s office, the statue arrived from China two months ago so there was enough time to prepare for its installation at Rizal Park as the old one had to be removed from the pedestal.

The city government decided to replace the old statue by sculptor Eduardo Castrillo, which was unveiled exactly a year ago, after it drew a lot of criticism over its lack of resemblance to the people power icon.

Castrillo explained that he had captured Sin in his youth, an image unfamiliar to most Filipinos.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said the decision was made to replace the Castrillo version after some bishops noted that it “showed a very young-looking Cardinal Sin.”

Lim said Chua had offered to have a new monument built by a sculptor in China and then shipped to Manila free of charge, an offer he readily accepted.

“When we first saw the statue from Beijing, we instantly recognized the cardinal. It is really Cardinal Sin this time,” said De Guzman.

He said that when Sin’s brother, Ramon, was shown the new statue last week, he instantly recognized the likeness of his brother.

The old statue is to be shipped to Sin’s hometown of New Washington, Aklan. With a report from Kristine Felisse Mangunay

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TAGS: 26th Edsa Revolution anniversary, Edsa People Power Revolution, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Manuel Chua, Rizal Park, Sin monument, Sin statue, Tulay Foundation
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