Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Chairwoman

Singaporeans should be shameful for the way it treats its 'foreign talent' in sports. All its major sports - soccer, swimming and until recently, table-tennis, are coached by foreigners. Yet in a year when Singapore has achieved most in the sports arena - Olympic silver medals, 5th place finish in the Beijing Olympics, 1st place in the Paralympics swimming, it couldn't find a coach who had stood out. I don't know what yardstick is being used, but it appears that this yardstick is a tad too long for anyone to measure up to.

It can be argued, very strongly, that the coach of the year (COY) award should have gone to the coaches of sportsman/sportswoman who did Singapore proud in the Olympics, indisputably the most prestigious and the toughest sports arena in the world. Yet all of them have been found wanting. If so, why don't we just sack all of them and find more worthy people to fill their shoes. After all, Singapore taxpayers' money is being used to fund sports in Singapore. Singapore taxpayers have a right to ask why we are using sub-standard coaches to drive excellence in Singapore sports.

But the most shameful thing is that an aggrieved coach, Mr Liu Guodong, is in town to seek an apology from Mdm Lee Bee Wah, President of the STTA, for allegedly slighting him in remarks explaining why he wasn't nominated for the COY award. This in spite of the fact that he coached Singapore's Olympic Table-Tennis team to silver medals - the first in 48 years. Yet, in the first meeting, she reportedly didn't turn up. Some officials appeared instead. I don't know what was said in that meeting, and whether the discussion was useful, but it does look to me as if the STTA is acting like the Communist Part of China -that 'Chairwoman' Lee BW deigns it beneath her to meet with a 'discredited' coach. Liu flew in to Singapore to LBW's doorstep. The least she could have done was to meet him, if only for old times' sake? Well, I shouldn't drag China into this, but Mr Liu is from China , after all. And for the Chinese, 'face' is important, and credibility is important in any leader, as our top political leaders in the PAP have stressed and demonstrated countless times since the country's independence.

So I am not surprised at Mr Liu's incredible quest (I hope it is not an impossible quest) to clear his name. It is now up to Chairwoman Lee to show that she is deserving of everyone's respect and support, from all sportsmen/women and coaches down to the taxpaying public, by facing Mr Liu and explaining herself, and/or otherwise, apologise PERSONALLY.

Personally, I think she and her management team in the STTA should step down for bringing disrepute to the Table-tennis fraternity in Singapore and diminishing the achievements of the silver-medal winning Olympic team by refusing to nominate their coach for the COY award. A wrong step here and she may even cost the PAP a GRC, eventually. For a fresh politician, nothing is worse than becoming unpopular for the wrong reasons.


WLPT said...

I think she is a bit too emotional. If she didn't mean it then should apologize. Now the Chinese are mad with Sporeans; not just with her.

Anyway, I think the whole Foreigh Sport Talents scheme is a disaster. I don't even remember for sure which silver medals we won.

Zeus Yeo said...

I agree with the post.By not meeting up with Mr Liu who travelled all the way back to Singapore does not seem to be a graceful thing to do.

In fact, it will most likely be interpreted as "not giving face" to the Chinese.

Where is the spirit of sportsmanship?

auntie killer said...

she is just another arrogant auntie, she should shut up and sit down..