one of the ten things i hate about singaporeans

July 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm (news, ramblings, sports, wtf?) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

First off, let me say that I’m a Singaporean – a 21 year old male who has completed his national service last year.

Like most of my mates in unit, I resented the 2 years spent in my camp at desolate Lim Chu Kang.

Unlike most of them, the patriot in me still felt it was necessary as much as my hatred for this unwanted conscription burned.

Simply put, we do this to protect the things important to us.

However, there are times when I question why the heck am I putting in the effort to protect some of the idiots on this island.

Yesterday was one of those instances.

Here’s an article written in the Sunday Times:

Parents have BIG problem with boy athlete
Nur Dianah Suhaimi
1065 words
6 July 2008
Straits Times
(c) 2008 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

As was the case last year, he’s sweeping medals at schools meet. He is training at Sports School now

The boy who created a furore in the athletics scene last year is back – taller, bigger, stronger and faster – and once again, some parents are upset.

At the Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships which started last week, Kang Yee Cher, now 10 and at least 5cm taller than last year, clinched two gold medals and broke one record.

He still has one more race to run on Wednesday.

At the podium, the 1.65m-tall Primary 4 pupil from Fuhua Primary in Jurong stood head and shoulders above the other winners.

He is at least 20cm taller than them and boasts developed biceps and calf muscles. The other boys – like most boys that age – are skinny in comparison.

As was the case last year, some parents whose children are taking part in the meet are upset at Yee Cher’s participation and persist in the view that the Vietnam-born boy is older than he claims.

Born to a Singaporean father and Vietnamese mother, Yee Cher moved to Singapore and became a citizen here when he was two years old.

One parent, Mr Premraj Thuraisingam, 41, who is a former physical education teacher, complained to The Sunday Times: ‘I’ve never seen a 10-year-old of that size in my entire life. He even has hair on his legs.’

Mr Premraj, whose 10-year-old son is competing against Yee Cher in at least two races at the meet this year, added: ‘The problem is he has created so many outstanding records that, for generations to come, there won’t be any child who would be able to break them.’

Last week, Yee Cher won gold in the long jump event. His jump of 4.74m was 74cm farther than his closest challenger’s and also set a new record.

He also won the 300m D-Boys final in a time of 43.84 seconds. The runner-up was still 30m away when he reached the finish line.

Away from the schools’ scene, he has since also made his mark in the international arena.

At the Annual Australian Little Athletics Championships in Perth in April this year, he won gold in the 100m and 200m races, beating his peers from around the world.

His coach,Mr Remy Gan, said that many of them were Yee Cher’s size.

The young sprinter was an unknown until last year’s track and field championships when his record-breaking performances were greeted with disbelief.

He finished the 100m dash in 12.41 seconds and 200m race in 25.7 seconds.

The times topped all four divisions – A, B, C and D – in the 13-and-under annual school meet.

Observers, however, voiced their doubts about the boy’s age to the authorities and the media, claiming he was older than nine.

Even after the Ministry of Education had checked and confirmed his age, many still had their doubts about it.

One parent, who declined to be named, said last week: ‘It is widely known that in some neighbouring countries, people can change their age for their own benefit. It is possible that this boy’s official records are inaccurate.’

At the meet last year, parents and spectators did not bother to conceal their resentment.

WheneverYee Cher stood at the start line or went on the podium to receive his medals, spectators would boo and jeer.

Some parents hurled insults at him and his teacher, calling them cheats. The boy had to hide in the toilet before races.

The experience left him so traumatised that he wanted to quit running. There was even talk that he would switch schools.

His school principal, Miss Fuziah Taha, said last week that she and the vice-principal tried to talk Yee Cher out of quitting.

Fearing the waste of talent, the Singapore Sports School offered to train Yee Cher.

He now trains once a week at the school in Woodlands.

Dr Irwin Seet, the school’s sports director, said: ‘We give him good-quality coaching and help him build up his confidence. He is happy and more assured now.’

His Sports School coach, Mr Gan, 31, said Yee Cher ‘eats and sleeps’ track and field.

He would come every other day to watch the older boys train and ask questions on how he could improve.

Miss Fuziah described him as an above-average pupil who is humble and well-liked in school.

‘He is rather shy but he’d sit and talk to his teachers in school. Everyone in school loves him because he is a very good boy,’ she said.

While Yee Cher will be too young to participate in the upcoming inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, which is open to teens from 14 to 18 years, the Singapore Athletic Association is considering putting him ‘under the radar’.

Said its president Loh Lin Kok: ‘We’ll look at him as a budding athlete and maybe nurture him.’

While some parents are still upset at Yee Cher’s presence in the schools’ track and field meet, most are now more open about his participation.

Parents no longer boo or hurl abuse at him.

But Yee Cher is still clearly scarred by what happened last year.

In between races, he and the other athletes of Fuhua Primary congregate at the back of the stadium, hiding from the crowds, unlike other teams who sit in the stands.

After each race, instead of celebrating his win, he walks off quietly, keeping his eyes on the ground.

He is still terrified of publicity, repeatedly declining to speak to reporters and avoiding cameras.

His parents have also declined to be interviewed.

At least one parent thinks Yee Cher should be given a break and due credit.

Said Mr William Wong, 50, father of 12-year-old sprinter Jannah Wong from CHIJ Katong Convent Primary: ‘The boy is in Primary 4 and talented for his age. He won the trophy because he deserved it.’


So when some guy comes in to whoop your child’s butt and blow the competition away, you complain of an uneven playing field.

Some even have the audacity to tell the press that he changed his age for his own benefit, under the guise of anonymity no doubt.

This guy, mind you, is a bloody 10-year-old boy.

And yet you booed him off the podium last year. This year, the abuses have stopped, but judging from the comments you made above you haven’t changed your mindset at all.

Do Asians complain about the bigger and stronger physiques of the Europeans or Americans at the Olympics?

Wake up your bloody idea. There was never a level physical playing field to begin with. Everybody is gifted with different talents when they were born. To put it any other way would be showing sheer immaturity.

If my son ever competes with him in the same event and comes whining to me after that, I would be frustrated no doubt. But would I jeer at him at the podium and deny him his pride? No, thank you. I would tell my son that it’s just bad luck he was in the same age group and that the better competitor had won.

Isn’t that what sports is all about? May the best man win? How about being sporting instead? I’m sure that doesn’t mean crying foul to the authorities or whoever that will listen to your sorry self digging up old stories again.

To Yee Cher, keep on running man and ignore those bastards.

To all those whom I’m talking about, I’m sure you feel pretty damn great tormenting a 10-year-old boy and taking away his chance to celebrate. I just hope your children know better.

How bout putting yourselves in his parents’ shoes for once?

I think being enraged and ashamed doesn’t even begin to describe it – ashamed by the very people who call themselves the same Singaporeans.


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