Feng Tian Wei just won an individual medal for Singapore, a feat last accomplished by a born and bred Singaporean some 52 years ago. Some would argue that nowadays, foreign talents can be found anywhere rendering their services to countries who are more than willing to adopt them as their own. For the less welcoming, their arguement would be that the glory was “bought”. Already, online buzz has it that the win is not truly by a Singaporean. To be fair, if Feng and the rest had stayed in China, they may not even make it to the national team and see themselves fighting for a medal in the Olympics. So, do foreign talents who delivered the goods deserve the rewards? I’m all for may the best man/woman wins and whatever rewards that comes along the way. I guess it isn’t so for some and this whole idea of foreign talent, especially those brought in through sports runs a lot deeper than this.
First and foremost, we need to examine why our highest gold medal achievement from a local athelete is in the Asian games, before China’s rise as a global sports power. Tao Li, Feng and company all hailed from China in their early years. Even in the SEA Games, our dominance by local atheletes only extends to the water sports. As for the other disciplines, we only get a splattering of winners every now and then. Are we a sports nation, when strictly local born atheletes are rallied upon to deliver the goods? I must admit, Singapore do have alot of facilities for sports enthusiasts, enough for some countries turn green with envy. But….this is where the difference lies. Some of those countries which have less actually produces a lot more world class atheletes than we. Why is that so, one might ask?
I guess part of it lies on the mental strength and discipline and at the same time, also the circumstances surrounding Singapore’s own survival in this complex world we live in. People of my generation and before have been ingrained with the fact that sports are mostly done to keep fit and for the occasional competition at a low level. Even nationally, our benchmark isn’t high. Just look at football. Singapore pays almost, if not the, highest cable fees in the world just to watch club level football in England. Despite such fanatical support for the sport, where is our own national team rank, worldwide? I rest my case.
As parents, we inculcate almost the same principals to our kids. Getting a good education is the key to a good carreer and ultimately a comfortable retirement. For most of us, chasing the dream usually means getting the standard of living we desire. Though there’s nothing wrong in that, reaching the highest level internationally is a whole new ball game. Life as a professional athelete is short and many here cannot see what becomes of life after retirement. Also, admittedly, only a handful have the talent and the potential to reach such heights. But that shouldn’t stop the majority from practising the Olympic spirit in whatever they do. I do not know what exactly the Olympic spirit stand for but my own observation is that giving 100% isn’t quite enough; it has got to be the performance of the lifetime. Somehow, local born Singaporeans just can’t measure up when it matters most. It’s especially sad given the fact that in many other fields we win awards quite regularly. Could it be that our Singaporeans’ genes are inferior because we have been brought up in such comfort that those with the talent simply cannot muscle enough effort to realise their potential? All the financial incentives the various government bodies provide will not be enough; encouragement must be self motivated and the ambition to succeed must burn like a wild fire. The likes of our foreign born table tennis players deserves to be emulated, their desire to excel at the highest level must be ingrained in our younger generation of atheletes so that in time we can finally come out of our shells and become true champions in our own right.
It’s a tall order. I sincerely hope the day can come soon enough.
This morning when I stopped at a traffic light beside an ambulance belonging to the Muslim Missionary Society of Singapore, I was elated to observe that the ambulance was donated by Loyang Tua Pek Kong. This is cotton dry evidence that religious and racial harmony is very much alive in Singapore, and this makes me proud of being a Singaporean.
I may sound sentimental, but I cannot help to ‘rewind fast backwards’ of the time when Singapore was plagued with racial and religious disharmony and problems. It was through the resolute and determination of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team of old guards that Singapore today enjoys genuine racial and religious harmony.
Let all Singaporeans of good conscience preserve this very important and valuable asset worth more than gold and silver.
There must be space dedicated for creative expression, …. for local artists and artistic organisations to grow and flourish – Tin Pei Ling
As Singapore aims to cultivate a stronger and more vibrant arts culture in Singapore, there must be space dedicated for creative expression, and provision of funding and opportunities for local artists and artistic organisations to grow and flourish.
In the same way, to cultivate greater interest and a sense of ownership in our community and nation, Singaporeans must have the space and opportunity to participate and express ourselves – creatively and responsibly.
This view of mine was reinforced after a chat over coffee with Faris – a young Singaporean who founded Social Creatives with the aim of promoting community art in Singapore. His social enterprise, like others in Singapore, faced challenges in pushing out its programmes but achieved much nevertheless. With support from the community, I hope Social Creatives will continue to thrive, introduce new artwork in our living spaces and contribute to the development of arts in Singapore.
[For those who may be interested, we were at a relatively new cafe, Yesterdae, that serves waffles and home-made gelato. It is set up by a young lady and is at Blk 86 Circuit Rd.]
And since we are discussing the topic on art, thought I will share this short video featuring community art, Social Creatives and our void deck art gallery in MacPherson.
I am not going to sign the petition to move the charge againts Skl0 from Vandalism to Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance), because it would go against the spirit of what a good legal system ought to be.
In a good legal system, laws are decided by the people, and then applied without exception, fear, or favour to everyone. This is why it is very important to have good people in Parliament, because they are the ones who decide on the wording of the laws, and therefore the scope of each individual law, and what offences should and should not be punished.
I believe this episode simply illustrates the inadequacy of our current laws in supporting a culture of innovation and self-awareness. I agree with most of the comments about how Skl0 is a good and thought-provoking artist. Unfortunately, our laws as they exist today do not support such artists. Such artists are punished together with all the other miscreants that Skl0’s supporters believe should be punished.
If you want to petition, please petition your local MP to go to Parliament and change the law, so that Skl0 and others like her will not be punished in future.
But because the law is the way it is currently, she has to face the S$2,000 fine (no caning for her because of her gender, something which the law also currently provides her protection for).
So by all means offer Skl0 a job and give her money to pay off her fine. Just please don’t screw around with our system of law-making and law-administering, because once you do that, you give license to those who would override the laws for their own selfish ends.
Just adding a follow up comment here from the other discussion thread.
I am not suggesting that the law isn’t well worded. I am saying that the law is worded specifically to include acts such as Skl0’s under the definition of behaviour that deserves to be punished. The law is worded this way because when that law was written, the damage to the public was perceived to be greater than the benefit such acts bring. If things have changed since that time, then we need to change the law, and the way to do it is to get your MP to bring it up in Parliament so the people whose job it is to make and amend the laws actually do what they’re paid to do.
You might not agree, but some people believe that what Skl0 did was wrong, law or no law. You have to respect their views as much as you want them to respect yours. And you have to settle your differences through well-reasoned debate in Parliament (by proxy through your MP), not take your grievances before the Emperor and ask him to rule in your favour.
And that’s because we are not ruled by an Emperor.
We can only have our youthful physique for so long. But we can certainly double/triple our positive youthful imprints on the community for a long time to come – Desmond Choo
Ok, the comic strip was something that got me thinking when I was having Punggol Nasi Lemak supper with my activists ;) That is quite an aside :)
I was inspired by one of my young volunteers.
She had been helping us out at the Coffee Session for about a year. Used to seek help but decided that she also could do more for the community. At the end of that session, she said to me, “Can we talk?” That is usually recipe for saying I’m going to take a break for while.
To my surprise, she flipped open her laptop and showed me her proposal on making our Sessions better! There were clear problems and solutions mapped out. She had gotten a couple of other youths to work out the proposal. It was something that I had dreamed about for so long! That my young volunteers would take the initiative, inject their idealism and creativity in the journey of service.
The future of the community belongs to the younger generation.
It is not as daunting a duty as many imagined. Quite frequently, it is about making those differences one small step at a time. Appreciating the past, and making sure that their youthful imprints are embedded in the solutions for today and tomorrow.
The team researched on the historical context. They pointed out problems that had blindsided me. And came out with very exciting ideas. I could see the passion and thoughtfulness. I could feel their eagerness to make that difference. They inspired me with their go-out-there-and-get-it-done energy!
The leaders of today will never have the monopoly of ideas. The youths and future leaders have to be the authority on solutions of our tomorrow.
We can only have our youthful physique for so long. But we can certainly double/triple our positive youthful imprints on the community for a long time to come. Cheers!
Lim Hock Siew (1931-2012) – a fiercely independent unbending tenacious political fighter all his life. I was struck by the absence of bitterness despite all his sacrifices – Vivian Balakrishnan
Lim Hock Siew (1931-2012) – a fiercely independent unbending tenacious political fighter all his life
I remember meeting him 24 years ago at a party hosted by my mentor Professor Arthur Lim. They were classmates in medical school and life long friends.
He introduced himself as “I am Lim Hock Siew, and just came out of prison a few years ago!”
We had a good chat and he freely shared his life experiences. I was struck by the absence of bitterness despite all his sacrifices. I think he knew in his heart that he was a patriot, and was proud that he never gave in.
I consulted him before I entered politics. He did not discourage me. On the contrary, he told me to focus on doing the right thing. He told me he did not bear any ill will to the current leaders. He reminded me that he was a founding member of the PAP.
We met from time to time socially. Whenever we discussed politics, it was obvious that he was still a conviction socialist. There were times, we agreed to disagree.
Singapore has lost another member of the founding generation. We must all be deeply grateful to him and his family for all their sacrifices. He was a good and honourable man.