Not as sports-crazy as China? Imagine these…

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 14 Aug 2012 letter “Not as sports-crazy as China? Imagine these…” by Mr David Foo.

Mr Foo professes to use examples to show how wrong Mr Christopher Ong was when he concluded that uniting the nation through national sports is overblown. Mr Foo should consider the context in which Mr Ong made that conclusion. He was referring to national sports through foreign born athletes, not national sports per say.

Mr Foo imagines Singapore playing against Brazil for the Olympic football gold while the whole nation comes to a standstill to watch the match. One detail missing from Mr Foo’s fantasy is whether the 11 players representing Singapore are all foreign born. If that were the case, we might end up with the same situation as table tennis where a purely foreign born team could not unite the nation. The closest we got to Mr Foo’s fantasy was the 2008 women’s table tennis team’s Olympic silver medal effort. We were up against the Brazil of table tennis – China. Yet, the nation was far from coming to a standstill. Contrast this with our previous experience with the Malaysian Cup tournaments. A mostly native Singaporean effort was able to galvanise the nation without us having to go up against Brazil.

Mr Foo reasons that if we had Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, Singaporeans would be more enthused by our sporting achievements and this will contribute to our unity. Actually, the achievements of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps transcend nationality. Singaporeans are enthused by their achievements even though they are not our achievements. If unity means the spontaneous and unanimous rooting for these heroes, then Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps have united us though not in the nationalistic sense. The example of Lee Chong Wei is the one that most clearly demonstrates how to truly unite the nation – through our own native people.

Mr Foo wants us to punch above our weight in sports. But we can’t even carry our own weight in sports and have to rely on foreign born talent. Does Mr Foo want to make it our lifeblood to depend on foreign born talent to win glory for us?

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One Response to “Not as sports-crazy as China? Imagine these…”

  1. Charles Soon Says:

    China is certainly not sports crazy …… China is Machiavellian. It wants to prove through sports that the Communist system produces better sportspersons than the democratic West especially USA. Similarly US is doing like-wise through the monetary rewards after te sportpersons get their Gold medals after the Olympic Games. We have to wait & watch how much Michael Phelps will be earning.

    Which is better? None. Both US & China forgot what the original creators of the Olympic games want the Games to be.

    Then again, we don’t live in a perfect world. Otherwise we wouldn’t have let Syria, Afghanistan etc happen.

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