Lee Suet Fern’s “Dignity Blooms” handmade quilt goes on auction for social enterprise Dignity Kitchen’s renovation efforts

A handmade quilt by lawyer and quilting extraordinaire Lee Suet Fern will be up for grabs to the highest bidder in an online charity auction slated to take place next month.

Social enterprise Dignity Kitchen in a Facebook post on Saturday (26 September) said that the online auction for the “Dignity Blooms” quilt will take place from 1am on 1 October to 4pm on 15 October.

An “early bird” viewing of the artwork will be held on 30 September from 9.30am to 2.30pm for the first 50 registrants. Photography is allowed.

Public viewing of “Dignity Blooms” will take place the next day on 1 October from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

Proceeds from the auction will be channelled into the renovation efforts of Dignity Kitchen’s new facility at 69 Boon Keng Road.

Mrs Lee will “generously match the winning bid amount dollar for dollar to Dignity Kitchen”, Dignity Kitchen said.

Made during the COVID-19 circuit breaker, the colours in “Dignity Blooms” represent several positive values that will carry people through the pandemic.

“The rich shades of blue – navy, cobalt and royal – to reflect honesty and trustworthiness, emerald greens for harmony, freshness and renewal, and fuchsias to inspire confidence and assurance for the days ahead.

“These colours almost jump out through the quilting of a single large lush bloom. If you look closely, see if you can spot a bird, a butterfly, a ladybird and a bee hiding on the petals,” wrote Dignity Kitchen.

The quilt, measuring 106 cm by 106 cm, “would make a striking, stunning, inspiring wall hanging”, added the social enterprise.

WATCH: Lee Suet Fern speaks about her handmade quilt “Dignity Blooms”

Parties interested in “Dignity Blooms” may dial Dignity Kitchen at 65 6333 5668 for more details. Alternatively, Dignity Kitchen can also be contacted via WhatsApp at 65 8223 0954 or email.

Founded in 2010, Dignity Kitchen is Singapore’s first social enterprise food court. It works with underprivileged and disabled persons via efforts such as using a functional food court as a training platform and a combination of innovative teaching methods to develop its trainees’ skillsets.

It is registered with the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE), a collaboration among the Ministry of Social and Family Development, National Council of Social Service, Social Enterprise Association and Tote Board.

Dignity Kitchen is the recipient of the Singapore President Challenge Social Enterprise Award in 2015.

The social enteprise’s fundraising campaign on the Give Asia website has garnered S$44,258 out of its target amount of S$328,000 as of Monday afternoon.

On Dignity Kitchen’s Facebook post about Mrs Lee’s quilt, several commenters praised her for her refined skills and workmanship as well as her work’s “inspiring colour combinations”.

Mrs Lee is the wife of Progress Singapore Party’s Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Last year, she bagged an award at the Yokohama Quilt Time Festival in Japan for her work “Castel del Monte”, which was inspired by a protected World Heritage European castle with octagonal towers located in southern Italy.

The Straits Times reported in November 2014 that two of Mrs Lee’s quilts were selected for the Traditional Pieced Quilts category at the International Quilt Festival Houston the month before — reportedly the world’s largest and most competitive quilt show.

The ST report noted that it was Mrs Lee’s first time partaking in a quilting competition.

While Mrs Lee’s quilts didn’t win in Houston back in 2014, it was still a significant moment for her, as that was the first time that a Singaporean contestant’s quilt made it to the finals.

Mrs Lee, a lawyer of 37 years’ standing, is currently awaiting the Court of Three Judges’ decision on her appeal against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s findings that she was guilty of professional misconduct due to her purported role in the execution of her late father-in-law Lee Kuan Yew’s final will. The court so far has reserved its judgement after a hearing last month.

Mrs Lee was first faced with charges related to professional misconduct following a complaint filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to the Law Society on 4 December 2018.

By law, the Society is obligated to submit an application to the Chief Justice to appoint a Disciplinary Tribunal, as the complaint was lodged by AGC.

One charge pertained to how Mrs Lee had failed to advance the late Mr LKY’s interest as his retainer, unaffected by her own interest and/or that of her husband.

She had allegedly demonstrated this by preparing for and arranging the execution of the will, in which her husband was to get a one-third share of the estate as a result.

The second charge accused Mrs Lee of breaching the rules as a retainer by acting on the one-third share and failing to advise Mr LKY to be independently advised on the “significant gift” to be bestowed upon Mr LHY.

The Law Society last month pushed for Mrs Lee’s disbarment, relying on the DT’s findings that she has engaged in “gross improper professional conduct” as a lawyer by having “misled” her frail and ailing father-in-law into signing his last will.

Walter Woon, former Attorney-General and one of Mrs Lee’s defence counsels, however reiterated that the DT’s findings “sought to convey the impression that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a doddering old dotard being taken advantage of by his son and daughter-in-law”.

He added that this is a “complete perversion” of the facts and that LKY was actually still “very lucid” and remained a Member of Parliament until his passing in 2015.

Prof Woon also submitted that the DT had “cherry-picked” evidence against Mrs Lee and subsequently made “very serious allegations” against Mrs Lee and Mr LHY when it accused them of “lying, suppressing evidence and deceit”.

He argued that the DT had ignored parts of an email which recorded the late LKY’s wish to address the possible degazetting of his Oxley Road property.

The DT also ignored the fact that it was Mr LKY himself who expedited the signing of his last will, he added.

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