YOG was positive in many ways

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the letter by Mr Joshua Loh dated 24 Sept 2010.

Mr Loh explains the many positive effects of the YOG as being the chance for thousands of volunteers and athletes to participate, to learn and to be enriched. While athletes from all over the world benefitted from this golden opportunity to meet and to compete, it’s difficult to see their learning as being our responsibility. As for our own volunteers, we need to ask ourselves what exactly have they learnt? While Mr Loh describes his experience as a volunteer interpreter as being wholesome and interesting, it’s hard to see this as being overarchingly important. Since Mr Loh admits that it is difficult to quantify the educational benefits of his experience, it would also not be appropriate for him to overstate its educational value. Furthermore, Mr Loh’s experience is not something that cannot be realised in other contexts. He could have taken part in a student exchange or sought internship in a foreign country or visited a foreign country school in Singapore to experience the same interactions with foreigners.

Mr Loh says that a hundred years hence, the YOG flag will fly the Singapore name. It will not. The centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996 carried the Atlanta name, not the name of Greece. Recognition, respect and admiration is associated with the current host nation, not the host nation a hundred years ago.

Mr Loh accepts the government’s ‘inexperience’ explanation as being reasonable. Does Mr Loh think that the current Commonwealth games fiasco in India can be reasonably attributed to inexperience?

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