Friday, August 27, 2010

Moving On

The inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) has ended and not a moment too soon for the Singapore government and the PAP (People’s Action Party). Despite all the chest-thumping by the Singapore government, reactions to the YOG by most Singaporeans had been, at best, muted.

Questions about the YOG ranged from the S$387 million budget (3 times above the estimate), to poor food for volunteers (leading to food poisoning), to poor management of ticket sales (which lead to “sell outs” even when over half the seats at the events were empty), to an arrest of a Singaporean man who attacked the ruling PAP on Facebook. Despite the “face” we shown to the world, I’m pretty sure almost everyone in Singapore is glad the YOG is over.

Only that it’s not quite over as now it’s time for the aftermath.

Two persons have come to the spotlight due to the YOG. Mr. Abdul Malik Ghazali, 27, is under investigation for posting a series of comments on Facebook critical of the YOG. Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan (Minister for Community development, Youth and Sports) has come under fire for the handling of the games.

Personally, I think both are in trouble for nothing. Mr. Abdul has been arrested on charges of inciting violence. He had written on Facebook that it was time to “burn” the sports minister and vote the PAP out of office. As some readers would remember, we had a case when an idiot attack a member of parliament (MP) last year and set the MP on fire. Maybe that cause the police to be sensitive about this matter but I had read the comments in question by Mr. Abdul and frankly I don’t see what’s the big problem is. The comments in question is in the middle of a series of comments by a lot of people, some of which I found much more insulting than what Mr. Abdul posted. It was one post, one comment, in the middle of about 60 different comments (when I saw it) by him and other people.

As for Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan, he is under fire as he is the minister for community development, youth and sports. Although I must say he must take some responsibility for the YOG mistakes, on the whole I do not feel that the YOG is a failure. I admit I didn’t feel much if any of the Olympic spirit but as an overall event, it would be a stretch to call the YOG a failure. Events were held, there were no security scares, and even the most anti-YOG Singaporean will have to admit Dr Balakrishnan tried and worked hard on the YOG.

The YOG is over. It’s not the overwhelming success wanted by the Singapore government and not the complete failure hoped for by the anti-YOG crowd. There’s no need for any deep inquest (except maybe on the S$387 million), the event is over and done with. Let’s just all move on.

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