• Pritam Singh

20211005 - Tokyo 2020 Olympians and Paralympians

The Minister-in-charge of MCCY gave notice to move a motion in Parliament today to congratulate Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians, a debate which saw MP Jamus Lim ‘s participation too. I joined some legislators to chat with our athletes later.

Joan (pronounced Joan-ne) was someone who I was looking forward to meet – she grew up in Hougang SMC and now lives in Aljunied GRC (best of both worlds!). That she and all the other atheletes represented Singapore in sports is a feat in itself. But she is a frontliner too, working as a nurse at National Centre for Infectious Diseases (she had just finished her shift and was still in her work wear). Meeting a nurse who serves on the frontlines in an age of COVID makes one appreciate our nurses and frontliners even more. They are heroes in their own right. What would you call a hero who is an Olympian too?

Speaking of heroes, you would know that there is something special about Chantel when you meet her. Representing Singapore in marathon swimming, Chantel is the first Singaporean in our history to represent the country at the Olympics in the event. Not afraid to speak her mind, Chantel’s Olympic experience informed me that the journey to finish a job is a massive achievement in itself. Don’t believe? Try swimming 10km and tell me how long you take. A good reminder that no critic can get in the way of a person who believes in himself or herself.

Our paralympians and their coaches were a delight to get to know better too. Two of those I met are Sengkang GRC residents. I was particularly happy when they shared that their MP, Sengkang GRC’s Chua Kheng Wee 蔡庆威, had visited them in the course of his house visits.

All our Olympians and Paralympians, including Muhammad Deroy, Nur Aini, Maximillian, Steve (& pilot Kee Meng), Jonathan, Adele and Kirin who I also met today, remind us how, in the words of MP Jamus Lim, “we need to understand as a nation, that our support for our sportsmen and women should not be dependent on them having won medals or tournaments. Our nation’s sporting culture will only be elevated when we do not view their accomplishments as transactional—and as such, we only celebrate the wins—but rather unconditional, based on the fact that these individuals—having been blessed with the talent, ability, and desire—subsequently chose to sacrifice their time, energy, and finances toward climbing the pinnacles of their sport. In representing us, they afford us the enormous privilege of being able to live vicariously through their accomplishments and successes. For that, we are thankful.”

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