The state of play

Dear editor,

I refer to the letter by Mr Patrick Tan dated 11 Jun 2010.

It seems to Mr Tan that we Singaporeans have forgotten that our forefathers were immigrants too. But our forefathers came when they were young and worked their entire lives to earn their place in Singapore. No one forgets or doubts that. While the new immigrants need not work their entire lives to earn their places here, shouldn’t they at least require a good ten years before they earn their places too?

Mr Tan points out that no one questions our great grandfathers’ countries of origins or their loyalties or what they have done for Singapore. But no one makes a big fuss out of our great grandfathers’ achievements either. It is because the government and the press have been making a big fuss out of the paddlers’ achievements that the identification issue surfaces.

Mr Tan suspects that Singaporeans won’t be too critical if our foreign born talents had been the likes David Beckham, Michael Owen and Kaka. He might as well have added other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs from other fields as well. Mr Tan doesn’t seem to understand that celebrities transcend nationalities and are celebrated by fans all around the world. The affection one has for David Beckham is no different from that for the next pop star. That affection has nothing to do with one’s pride for one’s nation.

Mr Tan urges us to take an ‘objective’ and ‘pragmatic’ view which is to pay foreign talent to do what few Singaporeans want to do – to deliver gold. What he is saying is that it is okay to outsource the delivery of gold and achievement of national pride to foreign talent. Can you imagine that? Outsourcing the achievement of national pride to foreign talent? What kind of an oxymoron calling is that?

Mr Tan feels that until local conditions improve, it is best left to foreign talents to win medals for us to put Singapore on the world sporting map. But doing so may put us on the world map of shame and embarassment instead. Imagine paying foreign talent to carry us to the finishing line instead of running our own race. What pride can possibly come out of it?

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