[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, February 21, 2008

[We won]
At 4pm, students collected their free T-shirts from SMU's campus green. There were 400 T-shirts given out. This was an SMU effort to prepare for that announcement. That big announcement. The one that will impact Singapore in 2010.

Still can't get it? It's the Youth Olympic Games.

We proceeded to the Lee Kong Chian School of Business to assemble for the big operation. Surprise surprise, two bigwigs from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports suddenly appeared in SMU. Teo Ser Luck let me in on something when I asked for an interview after the announcement of the bid. He revealed that the Prime Minister would be at the Padang later. "Exciting," I thought to myself.



Slightly before 6pm, various flags and a contingent of students made their way to the Padang led by officials and the two guests.



Notice the guy with white hair beside Dr Vivian? It's none other than Singapore's only Olympic medallist Tan Howe Liang.

The contingent waited till exactly 6pm before their grand entrance into the Padang. I realised that I was about to be squeezing with more than 5,000 Singaporeans. It was a huge fanfare.

Hyper cheerleaders from Jurong Junior College dressed in green kept everyone entertained. Daniel Ong worked up the crowd. Then Daren Tan, Tan Diya and Hady Mirza entertained with a few English and Mandarin songs. There was a lot of noise and the crowd was building up. I saw various sports reporters strolling up and down - Ernest Luis, Tan Yo-Hinn from Today, Marc Lim and many others who looked very familiar. People from Team Singapore, NYC and PAYM came down to support as well.

7pm was the time to go "live" on TV. PM arrived shortly after that with lots of cheer. He was in high spirits just like always. Almost everyone sitting at the stands was wearing red. So was I (except for the motivators in green from JJC). At first the feeling was mild. Nothing exciting yet. Videos of youth speaking about the games were flashed one by one on the big screens.

In a matter of seconds IOC President Jacques Rogge (who I met during the IOC session in 2005) came on screen. My heart was beating slightly fast as I anticipated the results. In front, less than five meters away was Singapore's Prime Minister. Flanked by Dr Vivialn Balakrishnan on one side and Minister Teo Chee Hean on the other the rest of the seating area was filled with officials such as Singapore's only IOC member Ng Ser Miang and Singapore Sports Council's CEO Oon Jin Teik.



Suddenly, everyone stood up, anxious and full of smiles.



PM looked to the side and gave a wave. It was a false alarm.



They sat down slightly disappointed. It made me nervous. Two bid videos later (Moscow first, then Uniquely Singapore), the screen flashed back to Jacques Rogge. A small envelope was presented to him. By then, everyone was up on their feet again. It was time. I waited in anticipation of the announcement. A short silence was broken by some words. A split second later after the word "Singapore", the crowd went into a frenzy. PM could not speak at first (his mic was off). A shout and many screams later, he gave his piece thanking not only the young but the old (taxi drivers that put up decals to support the bid).







It's just the start of everything. After the happiness, it's back to work for the bid committee and without a doubt, I'll be looking forward to hosting the world in 2010. Nothing beats the excitement of having the first Youth Olympic Games right at our doorstep. Well done Singapore!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Bernard said...

Hi Minister Mr Yeo and Ephraim,

Bernard's here calling from NY USA. Remember me from last year's talk with you Minister Mr Yeo ? I am now studying in USA for a year till May 2008. I might return earliest in July.
Yay, 3 cheers for Singapore ! Hip hip hurray . It feels great to hear this good news about Singapore hosting the Youth Olympics. Now I can tell my American friends about this to show off. Oh yeah ! I thought that we will never get to host Olympics due to our small size. Never thought that we can host the Youth version instead. I can also boast to my China friends that Singapore is gonna to host the Olympics too as well. Hahaha !

Kudos to all those who lobbied hard for Singapore to host this.

Bernard.
A overseas Singaporean calling back to his fellow Singaporeans back home in Hot Sunny Singapore

Friday, February 22, 2008 12:14:00 pm

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

Hi Bernard,

It was an exciting experience. You should have been at the Padang. My voice is almost lost and my eardrums nearly exploded from all that cheering and shouting.

When I joined almost 15 other reporters interviewing Dr Vivian and Parl. Sec. at the event, they seemed to feel that the event "rallied Singaporeans together". Felt almost like NDP to me. The funniest thing was that Ser Luck mentioned his teh tarik for celebration.

PM said that we are all set "to welcome the world to South East Asia, to Singapore". It was a proud moment.

Hope to see you at our events when you are back here. Have fun in USA.

Friday, February 22, 2008 12:50:00 pm

 
Anonymous Bernard said...

Hi Ephraim,
I kinda miss Singapore alot but I also want to see more of the world out there. Part of me wants to come back to Singapore, while the another part of me wants to go around to gain international exposure.
Oh well, I think I just leave it up to destiny and luck then to determine my outcome whether I would come back to Singapore in July or stay on in the States for internship. All depends on the state of the U.S economy whether will it avoid a big and sharp recession.
Let me ask you - a fellow young Singaporean yourself. Would you want to venture out overseas, if you find better opportunities out there, would you leave for good ?
Better yet if you have the money, uproot your whole family out of Singapore as well. I met several overseas Singaporeans in NY who were divided over this matter. I wonder if I ever come to this, what would I do ? I don't know for now. Tell me, what's your take about it ?

Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:29:00 am

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

I enjoy travelling to places. Over the last few years I've been to Thailand, Phillipines, Qatar, Vietnam but on those trips I've always missed home.

I grew up here and I will always remember the memories I've had in Singapore. If I find greater opportunities, I'd definitely take up the challenge and work overseas but one thing's for sure, I'll still come back to Singapore.

Over the years, more and more Singaporeans are venturing abroad. My Prof asked us a question during one lecture. "How many people do you think are leaving Singapore over the past years?" His assumption is about 5% of the population. He tells us that most of his friends are around the world.

I have many of my family members overseas. It's been long since we last saw each other and I miss them a lot especially my nephew who's in HK.

Well, as the saying goes "the grass is always greener on the other side". If I leave, that place has to be as stable as what it is now in Singapore. And I don't mean a communist country for that matter.

I'll probably be going to Beijing pretty soon but I hear it's not as clean as Singapore anytime. But things change. Ask me five years later and you may get a different answer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 8:38:00 pm

 
Anonymous bernard said...

My China friends here in university kinda have a good impression of Singapore. One was even asking me about job prospects in Singapore, even wants to join GLCs like GIC and Temasek. Being on the other 'side' now and out of Singapore as a foreigner, I realize that foreigners really contribute to the local economy. I just look at the sizable economic impact that we have in my university and the surroundings. Now I can understand better about the foreign talent debacle.
Hey I even heard that the American financial guru Jim Rogers is gonna to relocate from NYC to Singapore. He is one of the foremost legends in financial world with his wealth and financial acumen. Wow ! Everyone from the Wall street is muttering that Singapore scored a big coup in attracting him.
Hmm Some Singaporeans will say that the govt is gonna throw the red carpet for him with open arms. Banks will compete for his attention. Companies will be awe of him and consult him for his expertise. Oh yes, NUS, NTU and SMU will invite him to be a guest professor of finance as well as he is at Columbia university business school. Yeah, you know green with envy that he get preferential treatment like the top scientists for our bio-tech venture at one north.
For me in the past, I might say that it is unfair. Now having been on the other side and out of Singapore to elsewhere as a foreigner, I quote our dear PM Lee's words, " the world is our oyster". If you are really good, whatever you go, you be in demand. This is a fact which goes way back in ancient time. got to learn to live with it. I guess that I had become more pragmatic in my worldview. Hah I surmise we all must learn to adapt to the environment - a necessity to get on with life. I suppose I gotta stop here lest I got too deep and philosophical that I ramble on .

Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:51:00 pm

 

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