Quick post before I head off to the airport.
A disclaimer before any politician invites me to friendly coffee again:
This post has no opinion. I’m just innocently wondering exactly what the Singaporean government did to nurture local arts/ sports/ music/ entrepreneurship in Singapore, instead of taking the easy way out to import foreign talent to fulfil their own KPIs.
Because you see, I’m seem to be really ignorant, so I would like to know.
Indeed, recently I’d been very puzzled, because suddenly a lot of ministers in the Singaporean government took (partial) credit for Joseph Schooling’s Olympic gold accomplishment. Then I was wondering, exactly what did each minister do?
So here are some of the points I’m “deeply puzzled” with:
- Firstly, there was this “commercial decision not to air the Olympics“–an argument made by our Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu. Then disgrunted Singaporeans made a lot of noise, and Medicorp eventually brokered a deal with Dentsu to air it. After Schooling won our first Olympics gold medal, it became such that ministers start to happily say that hey man, they played a part in helping Joseph get his gold medal! Check:
and MP Tan Chuan Jin, who affectionately calls Joseph Schooling “Jo”. Then there was this video of our president Tony Tan:
- It’s unlikely that Schooling will keep all of the 1millionSGD prize money due to taxes and obligatory giving, in spite of his parent saying that they spent over 1+millionUSD as an investment on Joseph.
- Other Singaporean athletes who want to compete at the Olympics seem to have to crowdfund their way there. Check here and here.
So hor, could it be that Singapore has this system:
- Step 1: set up a social system that clearly promotes mathematics and the sciences, and penalises people who want to pursue arts, entrepreneurship and sports.
- Step 2: When an exceptional group of people does well on the global stage in the arts, sports and entrepreneurship, get the media to do wide coverage on their accomplishments and then say “See, Singapore is a place to do arts/ entrepreneurship /the sports because Singaporeans can achieve these stuffs too”.
- Step 3: Repeat Step 1 and 2.
If like that hor, then why is there a need to change the Singaporean system? Because Singapore will have a great international media coverage in the arts, entrepreneurship and music anyway. Since there are a handful Singaporeans in arts/ sports/ entrepreneurship who are successful in spite of limited help from the state BUT Singapore (the country and by extension the government) still gets positive global media coverage.
Aiyah you just think about it lah. How many of our folks who want to do arts/ sports and entrepreneurship ambitiously are actually based their whole life in Singapore?
It seems to me more that the Singapore, Inc works on market validation. That is to say, you have to prove that you “have a market”, or “have some economic value (read=”$$$”) to Singapore first before the state will help you. This is true for entrepreneurship, music and arts in Singapore so far, and also true for Schooling’s case.
Anyway, I love how humble and ambitious Joseph Schooling is! Watch:
I feel so proud of him as a fellow Singaporean and honestly, I think his family and friends takes ALL his credit. 🙂 I feel slightly ashamed that the Singaporean government cannot/ will not want to do more to support local young sports people like him, and I hope someone can prove me wrong.
Feel free to disagree! Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in this topic.