Youth Olympic Games and Singapore

From 12 August to 26 August 2010, my dad, mom and I would sit back in the comfort of our home, watching the various Youth Olympic Games competitions ranging from Gymnastics, Swimming, Judo, Taekwondo and more. Dad and I cheered, shouted and mourn as the Young Cubs (Team Singapore) lost in the football match against Haiti. Dad’s personal favorite sports matches was boxing (as he used to be a boxer when he was young). Mine was the volleyball as I cheered for Argentinians. I also witnessed our Singaporean archer Mohamed Jaffar won the mixed team match, aceing that crucial shot in order to win. Even mom, someone who doesn’t know sports enjoyed watching Judo and Taekwondo. She would also scream in excitement of the match.

Everyday I look forward to watching it; there is always an event to watch! As a Singaporean, I am proud to be a part of this country, whereby we showed the world we may be small as a country, we can still dream big. We outbidded Athens, Moscow, Bangkok and Turin to host the first inaugural YOG. Putting on a colorful show, we showed the world what Asian cultures are like at the YOG Opening Ceremony. Some 20,000 volunteers residing in Singapore rose up to the call, volunteering their services in every way possible to ensure the smooth running of the 13-day event as well as the preparations before and after.

As a Singaporean, I’m glad to be living here at the right time, at the right place as I get to watch the extensive coverage for free! Though there were some hiccups and some mishaps in the midst of the 13-day events, majority Singaporeans did not disappoint as the volunteers continue to serve all the way to the end of the event while Singaporean fans bought tickets to watch the assortment of matches or support our local teams; some even paying as much as $180 for 2 to watch the Singapore vs Haiti football match!

Our country, regardless of race and religion, continues to work together for happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation. (part of our National Pledge) And we certainly had, opening 2 Integrated Resorts (that is said to even rival or possibly overtake Vegas!), celebrating our nation’s birthday and YOG in the same month and organizing the F1 Grand Prix night race in September, all in the year of 2010!

We may not be as vocal as our European or South American counterparts when it comes to professing love for our country, but we certainly more than make up for it in our actions.

To the haters, whether you like it or not, Singapore has made history. Even International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge mentioned “Hats off to Singapore for what they’ve done. I now have 22 Olympic Games under my belt and the YOG is ranking at the very top.”

To the Singaporean haters, I understand that the YOG did have some major glitches such as ticketing glitches, poor turnouts due to various reasons, food poisoning and exceeding budget by 3 times. But lets give the Government and various ministers a benefit of a doubt. I think we did pretty well for a country that has never hosted an event of such scale before.

It is perfectly okay and also a human right to question the Government, in this case asking for answers for the exploded budget. But my question is, surely we can do it [ask] in a much more polite and civilized manner can we? Do we need to bang the tables and demand for answers, whip the YOG and our country’s leaders upside down in forums and blogs in order to get what we want?

On MCYS Minister Vivian Balakrishnan spending $92 million on social welfare projects compared to YOG, lets agree that they are completely separate matters. $92 million to help those that fall out of the typical spectrum of society is already a very big amount. The latter is a worldwide event, not just a Singapore-only event, hence incurring much more expenses compared to the former. My question is also, how much do we as an individual, help our community and the disadvantaged around us? Are we qualified to judge?

Lets not take all that the Government has done for the country for granted. Efficient transportation, safe streets (“In Singapore, I can walk home alone and not worry.” – girl who shared during NDP 2010), peace and political stability. The world is already negative enough, churning out negative and saddening news continually, lets not add to it. Quit the Singapore sport [Complaining/Whining] and lets cheer for Singapore’s recent success! If even you don’t stand by Singapore, who would?

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

This article is presented in the author’s personal views and do not represent views of Singaporeans as a whole. Any part of the article can be used at no charge, but should be credited back to author and tracked back to author.


Support Youth Olympic Games, Support Singapore!

I don’t know about you, but I am really excited over the commencement of Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in a few week’s time. 2010 is an eventual year for Singapore as two integrated resorts Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands opened at our shores earlier in the year, we will be celebrating our Nation’s 45th Anniversary, we will once again be holding the inaugural first and still the only Formula 1 Night race from 17 to 26 September 2010, with a very special inclusion; The First Ever Youth Olympics Games to be held on our Island State from 14 to 26 August 2010!

I am proud to say that I am a Singaporean, being able to be part of this vibrant nation. Many recent articles and statistics show Singapore as a top destination to reside in or head to for a short holiday. Our projected GDP growth is a whooping 13% to 15% increase, ahead of the powerhouse; China. Surveys have shown that Singaporeans are highly sought after overseas, and the lists goes on. Not bad for an island nation huh. But this year, we have the awesome privilege to host the Youth Olympic Games, which I feel is one of Singapore’s greatest milestone and achievement yet. 

I felt very patriotic when watching the torch bearing ceremony from the origins of the event; Olympia itself. For decades, we could only watch the Olympic Games from afar as well as only being able to send a few athletes for selected sports. Who could have thought that 2010 could be our year to be part of the Olympic movement? 

Still, I must express disappointments in our fellow countrymen’s response to YOG. I was talking to my brother the other time and the conversation goes something like this.. 

Me: “Hey, you got support the YOG anot?” (pardon me, I like to use Singlish actually haha) 

Bro: “No.” 

Me: “Why? Our country is hosting the Youth Olympic Games lei, don’t you feel proud?” 

Bro: “Precisely, because of YOG, my sem (school semester) is shortened and project deadlines are reduced.” 

I am disappointed but I can’t blame him can I? Adding to the list, my mother, some friends and classmates also do not support the YOG. From what I can see, many voice their support for the YOG, but many Singaporeans also do not support the YOG. This scene paints a totally different picture compared to the one in 2008 when Singaporeans were celebrating at the stadium upon receiving the news that Singapore is awarded the country to host the first YOG. Where is our patriotism? Where is our cavalry? The Government identified that problem and has been trying to promote and motivate Singaporeans to support the event, but to what level of success? You can’t really make someone patriotic, can you? 

But should the Government be the ones responsible to promote the event to Singaporeans? Many of us watch the World Cup matches in awe as we observe the passion of the Spaniards, Deutschland, Argentinians etc as they support their country during the FIFA World Cup 2010. Though our team is far from qualifying to play in the World Cup unfortunately, I should say that the YOG is Singapore’s World Cup! What an awesome privilege to be able to host this iconic and historical event that has occurred for centuries. 

Still, I have to agree with my brother’s statement. Perhaps there could have been an increased nationwide effort to reduce the curriculum for students or workload for adults prior to or during the YOG period. Even so, it is too late to make any mitigation to the situation. 

With that said, it is up to us Singaporeans to support and cheer for our own nation’s success. No one else would, not the French, not the Americans, not the Malaysians. Now the ball is in our court, what are we going to do with it? 

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

YOG Singapore Official website: