By: B. Goode
The SEA Games has just ended. I don’t know what’s the final medal tally is. All that matters is that Singapore is on top of Malaysia.
But seriously. In the middle of the hysteria over Shanti, Schooling, the young sailors, the canoeists and others, how many of us were interested about what happened to the table-tennis team? If I could hazard a guess, not too many.
No matter how much the MSM wanted to give them airtime, we just didn’t care. They are like the unwanted adopted child whom the family would hide in the basement away from the guests.
This is nothing personal. I am sure the table-tennis players are just like us, going to where the opportunity is.
This is about an experiment of getting international recognition for our sporting achievement. Most importantly, this is about the government’s attempt at generating national pride through sporting glory.
And it has failed miserably. In fact, it has become a national shame.
The table-tennis team has been called many unsavoury names. One that cuts the deepest is China’s third team. And whenever they won any medals, accusations of `medal buying’ would come fast and furious.
And it doesn’t matter that other countries import Chinese players too. It doesn’t make the accusation any less painful.
And the worst is that it is beginning to tarnish the achievement of other sports as well. In the recent SEA Games for example, Myanmar sports minister accused the Singapore football team of importing foreign players as well because most of our players were Malays. He had thought that we had bought them from Malaysia. It didn’t matter that he was way off the mark. The point is that, because of the table-tennis team, we are now known as `cheaters’.
The same goes with the swimming team. Many had thought that most of our swimmers were foreign imports.
And the worst was that, each time someone won a medal, the first question asked was; `is he/she a true-blue Singaporean?’
It has become that bad.
If the reason for importing foreign sportsman and sportswomen was to generate national pride through sporting prowess, then it is time that this ends because the goal has failed to be achieved.
In fact it has turned into a national shame and is tarnishing the whole of the local sporting fraternity.