by Simon Lim

The Asian Games 2018 is in full swing this week and the table tennis events will take place in Jakarta and Palembang.

Years ago, Singaporeans were sold the idea by their PAP government that Chinese table-tennis imports will help us bring up our table-tennis standards. But after all these years of them being here, what has really happened and what exactly have we achieved?

Ms Ellen Lee, President of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and former PAP Member of Parliament said in 2016 interview with Channel News Asia, “We need to deliver results, but on the other hand there is also a need to cultivate and develop youngsters here…The past 20 years, our national team has been made up predominantly of foreign talents, because that was the policy then – to have the assistance of foreign talents who can help us propel the game forward.”

She also said, “Now that manpower rules for foreigners have been tightened up, we have been experiencing a lot of difficulties where immigration problems are concerned. So in the six years of Lee Bee Wah’s tenure as president, she put into play different pathways to groom our local talents,”

Forwarding to today and the latest news is that there will be no medal for Singapore after our imported Chinese table-tennis women’s team lost 3-1 to the South Koreans in their quarter finals. So with the results of the players, perhaps it is time to rethink our sporting policy without so much emphasis on the medals.

For so many years, the PAP government has failed so spectacularly in sports and in nurturing our own sportsmen by openly resort to buying foreign players and winning medals – and some said cheating – thus making any sporting victories won by foreigners donning our jerseys meaningless!

I liken these foreign table tennis players as tutors we have engaged to teach our children in their weaker subjects. All that sounded so correct and hopeful. But after engaging their services for a while, instead of them tutoring our children in their weaker subjects, those foreign tutors are now openly doing our children’s homework for them.

Speaking on having local-born players in the same interview, Ms Lee said, “While we would very much want anyone who has reached that level to stay on and play for Singapore, we cannot ignore the fact that they have their own needs and their parents have their own expectations.” and goes on to state, “Unless parents are willing to relent, and players themselves confident of handling both studies and sport at the same time, then we have to respect their choices.”

What Ms Lee seems to forget is that while imported players are paid for handsomely, local players are supported in a bare-minimum condition where only if they win medals are they rewarded for their efforts and that there is no other country to retire to like foreign players when the sporting career comes to an end.

PAP government has failed so very miserably that it doesn’t understand or even care that sports binds our people and country stronger together, help us in our nation-building efforts and make our people more loyal and patriotic citizens etc.

They once again openly display their ugly mentality of knowing only the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Seriously, what a crying shame.