Monday, May 31, 2010

China Beat China To Be World Champions

The Republic's top player, Feng Tianwei, was pivotal in the team's 3-1 victory over mighty China in the 50th World Team Table Tennis Championships, screamed the local papers. Republic of Singapore, that is, not People's Republic of China.

Feng, like her team mates Wang Yuegu, Yu Mengyu, Li Jiawei and Sun Beibei, including coach Zhou Shusen, are all imported from China, feted, housed and salaried at the expense of Singaporean taxpayers. They even write their names in the preferred two-name China style, unlike, say Tan Ah Kow. There's not a token local born and bred in the picture.

When multi-national corporations were introduced in Singapore during the industrialisation growth period, implicit in their contractual undertaking was to train local managers and effect technology transfer. That's what the nation gained from the exercise, and homegrown corporate giants were nutured. Mr Wong Ngit Liong of Venture Manufacturing, for example, was the pioneering manufacturing manager of Hewlett Packard in Singapore. Koh Boon Hwee joined as accounts supervisor, and ended up Managing Director.

The future for Singapore sports has to be ominous if the prediction of Singapore Sports Council CEO Oon Jin Teik is allowed to go unchallenged, "If you look at what the STTA has been trying to achieve under Lee Bee Wah's leadership, it's really a sign of bigger things to come." And what may that be? Buy up the whole Brazilian team, lock, stock and waterboy, to boast "S'pore Beat Spain To Be World Cup Champ"? (Current odds for Brazil winning the 2010 World Cup is 9/2, tied with Spain).

In America, they have football scholarships. Baseball scholarships. So local boys get to be groomed to make their country proud. Can any Singaporean, regardless of race, language or religion, be cheered by an all Chinese victory?

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