20 August 2008

Singapore Sports Foreign Talents

Entry inspired by Xtralicious' Have We Won An Olympics Medal? Really?

So we are mid-way into the Beijing Olympics and the big hoo-har of our flag bearer, Li JiaWei, dragging our flag along the floor has some what died down.

For those who have been through National Service or Uniformed Youth Organisation would know that it's a cardinal sin for the flag to touch the floor with the exception of the general salute (hormat).


"No person in possession of the Flag shall allow or cause the Flag to touch the floor or ground, even when lowering the flag from a staff or flagpole."

this is an even bigger sin than MeePok's raising of the national flag upside down on national TV.

Then, we have the good news of our Ladies Table Tennis team scoring our first Olympic Silver Medal in 48 years.

Problem is that many of us aren't exactly as thrilled about it as we should be.

The main problem is that we won the medal with foreign sports imports. Don't get me wrong that I am not thankful of Li JiaWei, Feng TianWei and Wang YueGu bringing in the silver, it's just that we wonder how come there isn't one who is locally born?

While I concede that we or our ancestors were migrants too, I just don't feel the parity that my father came to Singapore from Ta1wan in 1962 only to receive his citizenship 24 years later in 1986 and I was born in Singapore, got my pink NRIC in the same year and subsequently served my 2-1/2 years of National Service.
Then these folks come in and get their citizenship only after 1 year?! How do you expect me to accept them as one of us when they are just here for a fraction of the time the rest of us are here? Oh how I wish to see Tan Paey Fern* there on the podium!

This is not a sweeping declaration that we will never accept foreign imports as one of us. One of the more notable exceptions is Jing JunHong, whom herself was a foreign import from ShangHa1 and got her Singapore citizenship in 1994. Although, she is retired now, we thank her for her contribution to Singapore sports. 14 years on and she is still here with us and living the life of the Singaporean. That is one who we would gladly regard as one of us. Anyone able to verify if she is living in Toa Payoh now?

Question is that if JiaWei, TianWei and YueGu would stay with us for the long term?

Look at football's Egmar Goncalves and Agu Casmir who were given Singapore citizenship in a heartbeat. Didn't they throw it back at us when they found something else better? Where are they now?

Pardon the cynicism, but if we were to accept them as one of our own, how are we assured that they will treat us back equally as family? We open our doors to them, would they treat it as home?

I guess the gist of this entry is that if you want to be a Singaporean, we will welcome you the opportunity with open arms. However, we would like you to pay your dues and earn your right, like everybody else, to be one. It will never be given to you on a silver platter, regardless of what our Gahmen says.

* If you have read the Wiki on Tan Paey Fern, there was a mention of his brother, who incidentally was my NS-mate and Table Tennis National team mate. We were both in the reserves' reserves i.e. we will never get to see the light of day as far as donning national colours, waterboys was as far as we got. 

- Voxeros

1. Gary left...
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 1:41 am
waterboys or teaching girls how to play ping pong in bed?
*runs away*

2. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 1:52 am :: 
Gary: Walau... don't pichar my lobang!! However, I did help coach the girls' team back in ACJC.

3. TSSD left...
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 8:51 am
my dad says she stays in Hougang.

4. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 9:27 am :: 
TSSD: Well, I hope she enjoys the morning You Tiao dunked in Kopi-O. :)

5. Everton left...
Thursday, 21 August 2008 9:43 am
Egmar Goncalves and Agu Casmir....Are they Turks?

6. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 21 August 2008 1:31 pm :: 
Everton: Egmar Goncalves is Brazilian and Agu Casmir is Nigerian.

Read this -> timi/

7. akk left...
Friday, 22 August 2008 11:02 pm
hear hear! precisely the point, but isnt it so difficult to say it without ppl trying their best to typecast you under 'racist' and /or 'nationalistic'? Ppl who dun think alot usually do. Now take this scenario you have here and expand beyond sports and beyond China. Frankly, i'm starting to feel like a minority here....take the mrt for example, 60% of the crowd speaks a diff language and i'm not talking about hokkien, cantonese etc. and for some reason, more than 70% of them have seats...
We are being pushed out!
and oh, at least u are thankful about the medal. I'm not. I dun think singapore has won anything yet. I only saw that China is still the pingpong king. wah, some more win the medal liao, get tax payer's reward. excuse me? my money to reward someone who doesnt care about this place one bit? Re: her comments on staying in Spore. and her dragging th flag on the ground. Look, she dun fucking care! team leader my ASS!
Shame, PAP-py, to not know how far we have fallen and still think we are world-class.

8. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 23 August 2008 2:29 pm :: 
Akk: Let me respond in two parts. Firstly, I don't think it's fair that you lose your seat in the MRT train as a result of the influx of foreigners. This I am speaking in the literal sense. Blame it on the scholars behind the MRT board for being clueless to meeting demand of the people, especially during peak hours.

From a metaphoric sense, I don't blame foreigners for taking our jobs. What the Gahmen has done is opening up competition. If you want that job, work harder than the foreign talent for it. It is understandable that we are feeling the hardship now as we are adjusting after 40 years of pampered slumber.

Like many have said and I agreed. We bought the medal. We didn't earn it. Had Li JiaWei been a Ch1na reject and we took her in and we groom her into a medal, I would have been proud as we got the medal with our hard work i.e. we did contribution something towards that achievement.

Sadly, in this particular case, all we did was provide logistics and she took it the rest of the way. I dare anyone to say that we have a part in her success?

9. L left...
Sunday, 24 August 2008 2:11 am
I think it's a bit hypocritical to say that these girls aren't singaporean, and that singaporeans shouldn't be proud of their medal. Firstly, quite a few Olympic athletes and gold winners were NOT originally from the country they represented. Secondly, didn't Singaporeans feel uplifted by what these girls represented when they played? We made no secret of the fact that they're not Singaporean born and bred, but that they had come over from a young age and are originally from China. I think the sports commentator gave all these factd a good airing. More importantly, Singaporeans, even the cynics and the unsporty ones like me, were riveted during the match, and cheered for them.

What these foreign-born athletes eventually choose to do when they've reached success, we cannot predict, nor do they owe anything to us, since they've done what they're supposed to do- give the best years of their lives to table tennis and in the name of Singapore. I think that's what more than most Singaporeans have done for our country. We pay a few hundred dollars of taxes a year, and b**** like hell to others about Singapore. We migrate in droves and quite proudly declare ourselves as belonging to our new country, without stopping to think that we too are depriving Americans and Australians of jobs when we migrate.
Finally, there are many more Singaporean athletes in our Olympic contingent (sailing, shooting etc), who haven't done as well as the table tennis team, but who have also poured a lot of effort into their sport. If we feel that it's more meaningful for a "true" singaporean to have participated and not received a medal, than it is for two China-born Singaporean athletes to win a silver, then by all means laud the other athlete's efforts without making hostile remarks on the internet about the girls.

10. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 24 August 2008 9:59 am :: 
L: Hi L and welcome to the blog. Good points made there but I have a couple of things to add.

I applaud the ladies for winning the Team Silver and I congratulate them on their success. However, I won't credit Singapore anything for that success because seriously if you think about it, what part did we play towards winning it? Put these ladies together and give them a Malaysia jersey to don and I bet you that it will be the Malaysian flag raised next to the Ch1nese one.

We just got lucky landing the trio. That's all.

I urge you to take a re-look at the Bronze final of the Ladies Individual match between Ch1nese Guo Yue and Li JiaWei. I want you to pay special attention to their eyes. A vast contrast between one who has fire in them and one who is just there to get it done and over with. Read their body language and tell me if Li JiaWei gave her 100% in that match?

Yes, so the rest of the contingent scored nothing but I bet they went down fighting instead of just giving up before the game even started.

Now pause to think why the big difference in attitude?

The answer is simple. The rest of the guys did not take their Olympic opportunity for granted. They got there from the ground up. Bearing in mind that once these athlete's prime is over, they are on their own. I can't even begin to tell you how gut wrenching it felt when I bump into our ex-National goalkeeper <name withheld> at his current work place a few years ago. But have they any regrets fighting for their country's glory. No. That to me, is what I call Singaporean.

Now search yourself deep inside and answer this question. Where will these 3 girls be in 10 years' time. You think they will still be in Singapore? I personally hope so but I can also honestly tell you that I am not very optimistic about it.

From time to time, I compare myself to them. I have been living in Ch1na for the past 8 years and should continue to do so until the end of my career life. Do I want to stay on in Ch1na and be a Ch1nese? The answer is no. My heart is still with Singapore and still my wish to return home one day. I'd bet the ladies felt the same too.

Take a look at our ancestral migrant history. Trust me. All of them wanted to return to Ch1na when their work is done. Only changes in circumstances barred them from doing so and eventually ended up as our Singaporean fathers and grandfathers.

Granted some decided to settle in Singapore by choice but I can tell you that it is a small portion of the entire migrant population back in the old days.

11. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:20 am :: 
L: Re: "...nor do they owe anything to us..."

I have to strongly disagree with the above statement. I caught the interview on CCTV with Li JiaWei, her parents and her coach.

It was reviewed in the interview that if Li JiaWei were to stayed behind in Ch1na, she'd still be in Ch1na Team 2 today which is 2 rungs below the Ch1nese national team where World No.1 Zhang YiNing, Guo Yue, Wang Nan & Co are playing for.

In other words, Li JiaWei will never see the light of day as far as international competition is concerned, had she stayed on and compete for a place in the Ch1na national team.

The father reviewed that the path via Singapore was a shortcut to the international arena. With the standard of Singapore table tennis significantly lower, she would be assured of a pivotal role in the squad by default.

So if Singapore wishes to share a part of her success, then I can only say that we gave her the opportunity which otherwise would not have existed should she choose to compete with the rest of the Ch1nese table tennis ladies for that 3 places.

12. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:42 am :: 
L: In closing, let me drop one more name for you to do research.

Zhang Xue Ling

We gave her a citizenship and she gave us gold medals at the Commonwealth and SEA games.

Where is she today?

Answer that question and you will very much understand the point I am trying to drive. To give out citizenships in such a frivolous manner simply cheapen the ones that the rest of us are holding in our hands.

There is a very big difference between an immigrant and an import. We do not want the latter.

13. sunflower left...
Wednesday, 27 August 2008 1:49 pm
Our table tennis is over-rated!

14. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 27 August 2008 3:38 pm :: 
Sunflower: I only hope the foreign talents can eventually raise our own local standards.

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