Friday, August 27, 2010

Youth on the Balance

I was reminded today that if you do not want your personal details to be known, then don't put any of it online, on the internet, to be specific. The internet media has a long long memory. You can delete the pages where you posted these info, you can delete your account, but whatever you do, those pages, if they were once openly available on the internet, will always remain there in some cached pages (such as those that Google maintains) - perhaps till kingdom come or the internet is destroyed, whichever happens first. Even Google's demise, should it happen, would not erase those information. So also if you want to post a comment that can be viewed as a threat, especially one of bodily harm to someone living no more than 41 km away (that's the diagonal size of Singapore island). Then you had better be ready to defend yourself. In particular, I am referring to a Singaporean who did just that on his Facebook page - threaten to kill the Sports Minister of Singapore.

He was arrested and questioned, as anyone who has threatened murder should be, and subsequently released on bail. I agree with many who wrote on the incident, that if he hasn't done anything wrong, he should not be afraid. And he displayed this fearlessness by subsequently claiming, on the internet again, that whatever he said wasn't literal. One can argue till the cows come home if his tirade on his Facebook page is a piece of literary art form or a bald threat by a would-be terrorist. That he goes by a Malay name doesn't help. He should have known better, or is he fronting for someone in the shadows? For all that we say about freedom of speech, if this person boarded a subway train, I will not follow him into that same train. Call me a coward, or accuse me of being paranoid, but you can never know, until it is too late. I am not going to put my life on the line for some vague freedom of speech thing, which some claim they will die defending even if they don't agree with what was said. Hogwash. That is the idealism of youth and the folly of the aged - probably a fallacious belief if ever there was one.

It is so easy to criticize someone or something. Sure mistakes were made in the YOG. Everyone could see it, and not a few poured scorn on the organisers. It was very publicly visible, and embarrassing for a Singapore that prides itself on being efficient, and always planning to the last detail. Perhaps our Kiasu spirit showed up and the MOE soaked up as many tickets as it could so that it could send in the 'army' if and when necessary, to fill the stands.- so some tell me. But what is important is that corrective action was taken, it was effective, just like what our young footballing cubs did to secure the bronze medal after a disastrous outing with the Haiti Football Team.  

So was it worth it? Only time will tell. I asked a youth today if he had volunteered to help out in the YOG. He said 'Yes', and I asked what he got out of it all. He was positive about the experience, especially with the opportunity to mix around and converse with so many different peoples of the world. Somehow I was happy for him but felt a tinge of sadness that I could not go back in time to experience what he has for the past week or so. For our young, who are our future and to learn to co-exist with others - this alone makes it worth it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cubs to Kings

Ever since the heady days of Choo Seng Quee and his band of merry footballers, the country hasn’t had much occasion to celebrate its football prowess at this level. Even Fandi Ahmad has turned his back on the country, together with his sons. I don’t blame him. That’s reality. Nothing wrong with a father wanting the very best for his children.

But the show that our young footballing cubs have put up at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) so far is nothing short of amazing. I didn’t give them half a chance of advancing to the second round, and now they are in the semi-finals.

Good for them, and great for Singapore. This shows that, under the right training and guidance, and with the right stage and heart, Singapore can yet produce quality football on the international stage. And to think, these young ones were virtually unknown a fortnight ago. Maybe it is too early to celebrate. But for them to have advanced to the semi-finals isn't a small feat. And tickets for this match has really been sold out. If we had used the 55,000-capacity National Stadium (which was recently demolished) instead, I believe the tickets would also have sold out.

Go cubs, go! Show the world that Singapore has a young football team that is not only the best in Singapore, JB, Batam, and some are going to say, in the world!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Youth Energy

The world's first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is well under way in Singapore. No, there aren't any star athlete on display, unlike the Olympic games when many competitors would already have gained fame competing in international meets prior to the Olympic games proper. This is an inherent weakness, if one can call it that, in the Youth Olympic games. Many, if not all of its athletes, are starting out their young lives chasing their dreams. The world's press cannot see themselves selling enough papers and air-time when there are no celebrities on parade. So there is a corresponding lack of buzz and excitement in the YOG
It would appear that Singapore's hosting of the inaugural YOG is both a boon and a bane. Its great because Singapore gets to show off its capabilities in organising a world class event. This it has done in the midst of putting on a fantastic National Day Paraded just a week ago. This 'can-do-ness' has become a hallmark of sorts for this tiny island nation. The world now knows that if it wants something done, it can turn to Singapore. Its a bane because it is easy to pick on Singapore for coming short on not presenting 'star athletes', inability to sell all the event tickets, lack of press interest, the hot weather, and what have you, as if Singapore can work miracles.

Sure, I am not personally tuned into the games even though I live in Singapore. Heck, I don't even have a ticket to any of its games. But that doesn't mean I do not feel a sense of pride for what my country is doing for world sports. Sure, there aren't any star athletes, but in time to come, they will hear of them who once competed in the world's first YOG in Singapore. In Singapore, you have no choice when it comes to work and career. We cannot put down our tools for 10 days. Well, maybe some can, but most of us can't. But we can support the effort by NOT pouring cold water on it. Starhub has devoted 4 free channels broadcasting various games throughout the day. I caught a badminton game, and I must say it's absorbing. These athletes may be amateurs, but that is what the Olympics is about in the first place.

Must we have the Press trumpeting an event to make it significant? I don't think so. In fact, I am seeing may young people dressed in the official YOG T-shirts running around the island these days. And no, they are not athletes, they are volunteers. I think in time to come, they will look back and be proud of the fact that they were part of the inaugural YOG.

Oh, to be young again!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Closer to you

I think the idea to have mini-celebrations of the National Day in the heartlands was an inspired one. This year's celebrations, for the first time ever, was celebrated simultaneously at Sengkang, Woodlands, Bishan, Eunos and Choa Chu Kang. People disappointed in not securing tickets to main event at the Padang, and don't want to just sit in front of the telly all evening, could head down to any of these places to join in the celebration.

I live in Sengkang, just a stone's throw from where the events venue. People came out in droves to at least have a look-see. One has to have tickets for a 'front row' seats (in fact, it entitled one to be seated). There were only 300 on offer at Sengkang. I wasn't aware and was told that they were snapped up almost immediately. Who doesn't like freebies? The ticket entitled you to watch the main NDP event via a gigantic screen, and watch live performances. Of course you could stand around without the tickets and watch too. I comforted myself that I had a 'walk-about ticket' as a resident. I walk around snapping pictures of this historic occasion, and what's more, positioned myself in first class stands to witness the drive-by of Singapore's latest armour that had come all the way from the Padang. It was 8'tish when it appeared, but the wait was worth it.  Singapore probably paid millions to acquire and maintain these hardware. At least you get to see where the money has gone to.

The surprise for the night were the fireworks. I had thought that they wouldn't do this because of the high-rise apartments around. But I had forgotten that next to Compass Point, there are a few large but empty pieces of land. So the fireworks went up and everyone, especially the kids wowed and wee'd. As cheezy as this may sound, it was a night to remember, and I had the photos and videos to prove it. Later.
Enhanced by Zemanta