June 1, 2010

Never Accept without Questioning

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 11:40 am

Singaporean sports writers must be delusional.

Already deprived of independent opinion, stripped of their ability to distribute impartial information, a handful of them still refuse to acknowledge the fact that we are but a country of mercenaries.

Should we or should we not celebrate the Singapore women’s table tennis team’s victory over mighty China? Should we or should we not accept the victory as an important milestone in Singapore sports? Should we or should we not speak to our international friends and brag about how we brought home the gold? The answers… are irrelevant, because the questions are incorrect.

As always, we have been asked the wrong questions. Questions carefully devised and placed to incite a certain response. The real question is, why? Why import? Are we not good enough? Will we never be? Have we degenerated to that stage already?

Remember when you were in school, there was this rich, fat kid who always got everything he wanted. Remember when you wrote a better composition than he did? Remember how he sulked about it? Now, remember how he did better than you the next time? What you don’t remember is seeing him pay his tutor to write a draft for him. And that’s who we are. A rich, fat sore loser.

How could we have sunk this low? That’s the real question. Why has it taken us only 45 years to concede that we will never achieve significant sporting success? Because that’s what this is about. We have conceded defeat. We’re done trying, we lost. So let’s buy some talent and win us some medals. What you can conclude is that the rich, fat sore loser isn’t very bright at all.

Sure, they are citizens on paper. Sure, they look just as yellow as I do. Is that all you require to be convinced, sports writers? That’s mighty shallow isn’t it? If you don’t feel even a tinge of annoyance, chances are you didn’t understand what was happening at the World Team Championships. It wasn’t Singapore vs China. It wasn’t even China B vs China A. It was Homegrown vs Mercenary. It was Free vs Paid. It was Proud to be representing country vs Proud to be playing.

It is important not to misunderstand the wrath and displeasure being displayed. Any implication that Singaporeans are outdated if they refused to embrace globalisation brings with it a tinge of arrogance. France won the World Cup with Zinedine Zidane, who despite being of Algerian descent, was born and raised in Marseille. But they did not win it with a team of Zidanes.

Cacau could never get into the Brazilian national team. Similarly, the German team does not comprise of 11 Cacaus. Lagat studied in Washington State University, and currently resides in Germany. He also had to serve a ban from international championship events for switching nationalities. If our sports writers fail to spot the vast, vast differences between our situation and theirs, then our papers have a very serious problem. Not that there was ever any doubt in the first place.

The truth is, there is nothing wrong with being “biase about an imported victory”. It only goes to demonstrate how much Singaporeans want Singaporeans to achieve success on their own. It shows how seriously we take ourselves, and how independent we want to be. It tells people that we will not be happy with just paying someone to write our essay; if we’re going to get a golden star-shaped sticker, we’re going to earn it ourselves. Even if it takes us decades. The world’s not going anywhere, we have all the time in the world.

The only insult present is directed at us; that we would have to put up with and celebrate a victory that is neither ours nor deserved, that we would be expected to glorify mercenaries, that our loyalty be doubted when quite clearly, there can be no question.

They did not do it in Singapore colours. They did it in pink, or white, or red, or blue, whatever their favourite colours were. But they most certainly did not do it for Singapore. And if you believe otherwise, if you believe that the image of our nation’s flag dancing in the wind was playing in their minds as they swung their paddles back and let out their now trademark grunts, if you embrace their victory as your own because you believe we neither can nor will do it on our own, then with the calmest of tones sheltering the most bitter of sentiments, I urge you to question your own allegiance, along with your state of mind.

This entry was written in response to an article… And I use the term “article” very loosely, by Chia Han Keong. It can be read here.



  1. Another awesome piece. Love all you metaphors!

    Comment by Nabs — June 3, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  2. Nabs: Cheers.

    Comment by theinkhorn — June 3, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  3. 同意Nabs,比喻生动易懂,把道理说得非常透彻明白。

    Comment by sushi bar — June 3, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  4. Superbly written!!

    Comment by Dave — June 4, 2010 @ 5:20 am

  5. I have seen sharp, analytical and critical commentary written using pseudonyms. At least they are intelligent pieces. What is your reason for not using your name?

    Comment by Peter Chin — June 8, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  6. Peter: I do use my name, Chin. Just intelligent enough not to use it all the time.

    You, on the other hand, don’t seem to be intelligent enough to know where to look.

    Comment by theinkhorn — June 8, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

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