The national football team won the Suzuki Cup for the 4th time, beating Thailand who was also vying for a fourth time victory. It was a big victory, something similar to the medals the table tennis team won in the Olympics. It was also cause for a national celebration.
The victories of the two teams have many things in common. Both were great sporting achievements for the country, with imported players. The table tennis team was nearly a complete foreign talent team. The football team was regulated and the number of foreign players was restricted. One cannot help but to notice the foreign faces all over, including the coach. After so many years of foreign coaches, some are begging for the coach to stay on as there was no local talent coach available, trained and prepared to take over the national team when the current coach leaves. In terms of coaches, the table tennis team is looking more like a total dependency on foreign talents.
The other big similarity was the victory tours. Both teams were paraded in some parts of the city with autograph and photo taking sessions. Both were touted as big national events. There were great expectations of the citizens flooding the streets to welcome the heroes and heroines. There were reports of a national celebration, trophies to bring Singaporeans together, to make Singaporeans proud.
I was not in any of the celebrations. Based on the media, the celebrations were more muted, attended by a few diehard fans. There was no spontaneous outburst of joy that the country and its citizens have achieved greatness in the sporting fields. Whatever celebrations they seemed to have fizzled out in double quick time. There were no street parties or overnight parties happening across the island. Not many people even bother to talk about it.
Should Singaporeans rally to such successes and feel proud to be Singaporeans that Singaporeans can be world beaters?