Critics of foreign talent in sports get red card

Dear Mr Balakrishnan,

I refer to your comments made at the youth and sports forum as reported by Straits Times on 23 Jun 2010.

You said the survival and prosperity of Singapore depend on us remaining open and being able to attract, absorb and integrate talent of all kinds. Since you have nothing to back what you say, yours is merely an opinion and nothing more.

You said some of our table tennis players have spent more than half their lives in Singapore. The key, Mr Balakrishnan, is ‘some’ as there are others who have only been here for one, two years. Therefore, before you criticise Singaporeans who view foreign-born athletes as less Singaporean, make sure you know who they are referring to. Are they referring to those who have been here for more than half their lives or those who have only been here for one, two years? Clearly our recent table tennis success, which is at the heart of the issue, is due largely to a very recently minted Singaporean.

So if you believe that a person who has only been to Singapore for one, two years can be as Singaporean as any other, you cheapen what it means to be Singaporean. If we take the argument to its fullest, are you going to consider a person who has just landed onto Singapore as being as Singaporean as any other? In that case, all the tourists coming to Singapore are as Singaporean as they can be. The whole world is Singaporean the moment they transit through Singapore.

So it is not that Singaporeans are small minded, unfair and selfish. It is you who have belittled our national pride by cheapening it into something so inconsequential that it can be outsourced to foreigners.

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5 Responses to “Critics of foreign talent in sports get red card”

  1. Subra Says:

    outsourcing national pride… that’s a nice phrase.

    What the Minister fails to appreciate (or perhaps he appreciates it but is unable to openly acknowledge) is that pride in sporting accomplishment comes with a sense of tribal bonding that exists between the sportsman and the larger community that he represents… The community feels that somehow the sportsman is a product of his community and his success is the success of the community that he represents.

    Transplant a sportsman into the community and the socio-psychological link does not exist. It makes it difficult for the community to beam with pride about the achievement. That is the problem that we have had with our Table Tennis team.

    When it is a home grown talent, even a SEA games medal is euphoric. But, a transit passenger holding Singapore citizenship gives us little more than amusement even if they win a world championship.

  2. Ah Gu Says:

    Vivien is declaring to the world:

    “We have lotsa money bit no ability!!!”

  3. george Says:

    Very well put indeed.
    I don’t recall any demand by Singaporeans to win sports medal in the international arena by hook or by crook.
    If the govt chose to do it, don’t expect to receive any
    accolade from us who were not consulted beforehand.
    There is a clear difference between winning sports honours and bringing in really needed FTs for the economy.

  4. Ah Gu Says:

    Sorry. Should read “…..but no ability.”

  5. gdy2shoez Says:

    Considering that he once urged Singaporeans to be more enthusiastic about the YOG, this untimely comment is shooting himself in the foot

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