Hospice patient gets his wish to visit new Leica Store

Freelance photographer Alan Lee, who is suffering from a lung disease, checking out a Leica camera with the help of store manager Ray Tan at the Leica Store Singapore in Fullerton Hotel yesterday. Getting Mr Lee out of Assisi Hospice proved to be a c
Freelance photographer Alan Lee, who is suffering from a lung disease, checking out a Leica camera with the help of store manager Ray Tan at the Leica Store Singapore in Fullerton Hotel yesterday. Getting Mr Lee out of Assisi Hospice proved to be a challenge due to his illness.ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

When freelance photographer Alan Lee, 69, read about the new Leica Store in Fullerton Hotel in The Straits Times on June 28, visiting it shot to the top of his bucket list.

Except there was a problem. Taking Mr Lee, who is suffering from a lung disease, out of the Assisi Hospice was a challenge. The planning involved consulting the clinical team on his condition to ascertain his suitability to be out, who should accompany him and the items they needed to take with them, such as medication and an oxygen concentrator. The route also needed to be taken into consideration, given the need for wheelchair access.

All of this was worth it judging from the chuffed look on Mr Lee's face yesterday morning after an hour-long tour.

He flipped through photography books like Sebastiao Salgado's Workers, Magnum Stories, Vietnam Inc by Philip Jones Griffiths and the 100 years of Leica photography captured in Eyes Wide Open.

He also viewed a photo exhibition in the gallery and got to caress as many Leica cameras as he wanted.

He said: "Every photographer wants to have a Leica, but it's terribly expensive. Once, a friend lent me a Leica M4-P camera for a week... I refused to return it till a month later!"

When asked what his other wishes were, he chuckled and said: "A man has a million wishes. My second wish is to go out on a date with Maria Sharapova."

Mr Lee had previously exhibited portraits of his fellow patients at the Assisi Hospice.

The new Leica gallery in Singapore replaces the one at Raffles Hotel, where the brand has held exhibitions for the past five years. The store showcases local and overseas photographers' work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Hospice patient gets his wish to visit new Leica Store'. Print Edition | Subscribe