Jade Rabbit’s aglow with controversy

Monday, March 22, 2010
Issue 969, Page 1 & 4
Word count: 753
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Architect Carlos Marreiros, the winner of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo Macau Pavilion Concept Design Competition, rejected allegations from one of his collaborators in the contest that he kept the MOP180,000 reward in his own pocket and fired him from his architecture firm for no justified reasons.

Edward Tang Meng Wai held a press conference at the Metropark Hotel yesterday, where he reiterated to the reporters that he was one of the designers of the “Jade Rabbit” Macau Pavilion and played a “key role” in pushing forward the design to enter the competition and the progress afterwards.

Tang also said that he was the one among the three architects in the team to liaise and meet with the government regarding the execution of the entire design proposal since the end of 2008.

Marreiros, Tang (who was at that time the project manager of Marreiros Architects, Engineers and Town Planners Ltd) and Lei Sai Cheong formed a team to participate in the July 2008 competition.

Marreiros was selected as the team leader while Tang and Lei were the “collaborators” in the whole design process, Marreiros told the MDTimes on the phone yesterday.

Tang said to the reporters that the three of them agreed to send Marreiros as the representative to collect the MOP180,000 reward from the Macau Preparation Office for the Shanghai World Expo in October 2008.

A cheque payable to Carlos Marreiros in the amount of MOP180,000 was issued on November 5, 2008.

Tang said, however, he still did not receive his share of 33 percent amounting to around MOP60,000 to date.

He said he did not know if Lei had gotten his part of the money.

In addition, Tang claimed that Marreiros “asked me to leave the company at the end of last year”. He was reluctant to reveal what the reasons were and called the sacking “unjustified”, but added that “he [Marreiros] said I wasn’t hard working enough”.

Tang also said he had contacted Marreiros but he gave no explanation about the “outstanding payment”.

Moreover, he stressed that “Marreiros doesn’t represent me and his speech [on the newspapers recently] had nothing to do with me and also did not represent my view and perspective”.

Tang said he disagreed with Marreiros’ point of view and believed that the Macau Preparation Office for the Shanghai World Expo owns the intellectual property of the Macau Pavilion design and has the right to introduce modifications.

On the other hand Marreiros confirmed that he did not and is not planning to give the MOP60,000 to Tang. “He was my employee and no matter we won or not I still had to pay him salary and other office expenses,” he told the MDTimes, “It was me who won the competition, I designed it.”

In contrast to Tang’s claim, Marreiros said “I can definitely proof to you that he [Tang] didn’t design [the Macau Pavilion]. He was just a draftsman and did not have enough talent to create a design”.

Even if Tang really did contribute to the design, Marreiros said, “he did not have the qualification to receive any share of the reward.”

When asked the reasons for putting Tang’s and Lei’s names as his teammates, Marreiros explained that it was a means to “support them” so that they could gain some reputation through being part in the contest.

“However I will need to be more cautious [to be a good guy] in the future,” he said.

In addition, Marreiros said he did sack Tang at the end of 2009 because of his “poor work performance” and it was a “fully justified decision”, but declined to further comment on it.

The architect also said that he and his business partners knew nothing about Tang’s allegations as he did not contact them before holding yesterday’s press conference.

According to Marreiros, director of the Macau Preparation Office Ieong Pou Yee had publicly said that “I have the right to change everything in the architecture design because the royalty and the intellectual property of the Pavilion belong to the government. So therefore I can change whenever I like without even consulting with the architects”.

Marreiros said he still “feels strange and surprised right now” because Tang used to oppose what Ieong had commented and call her actions “unacceptable”.

However, he told the MDTimes he will not contact Tang for an explanation. “How can I call such a guy, a guy who I helped in the past…I consider it [the allegations] as a betrayal and I will not talk to him.”

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