SEA GAMES – Who Should Light The Flame?


By: B Goode

There was a suggestion that Fandi Ahmad should light the SEA GAMES flame. That man himself has since downplayed the idea saying that he has not been approached.

But it has caused much controversy nonetheless with the people split right down the middle as to whether Fandi Ahmad is the right choice.

A lot of the debate centred around a false premise and that is; lighting up the flame is seen as a reward for the person’s sporting achievement. It is not that simple. And that is why the debate rages on because if that is the case, as many have argued, there are other better contenders such as Junie Sng, Joscelyn Yeo, Ang Peng Siong, the Water Polo team, James Wong etc.

The argument should instead centre on what that person represent. What are the values and characteristics of that person that resonate with the ideals and tenets of the country?

Fandi Ahmad fits the bill on many fronts. He is a real success story of a kampong boy who, through sheer hardwork and perseverance has managed to accomplish much success both as a player and some would argue, as a coach.  The problem is, based on those criteria others as mentioned above are entitled too.

And then we have the detractors who point out that Fandi Ahmad is an Indonesian PR and has been quoted as saying that he would like to retire in Indonesia. It doesn’t make a good resume.

But why should there be only one person to light the flame? Or if the rumours are to be believed, two with Fandi and his son Irfan? Must it be a sporting personality?

Why not have a group of people, each representing a value that Singapore cherish that we want to showcase to the world? It has been done in other countries in other sporting events.

In this way and true to the nature of Singapore being a melting-pot of cultures with a vision of being a global city, what better way than to have a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds to light up the cauldron and tell the world: `Hey! Look at us. We are one!’

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