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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

On the Closing Ceremony of The National Stadium

Stadium closing ceremony: Lap of honour turned out to be just a sea of shadows

What a dismal send-off for a Grand Old Dame

We were there too, on 30 June 2007. It was not about Australia beating the current Singapore Lions 3-0 in the last international friendly ever to be staged at the Grand Old Dame.

I came to watch the Singapore ex-internationals comprising the likes of Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim, V. Sundramoorthy, Malek Awab, Terry Pathmanathan, David Lee. I came to relive my memories of spending my childhood days with Papa and Ah Pak.

But there was hardly a whisper of the Kallang Roar or the spontaneity of the Kallang Wave.

It only came when the paltry emcees (Daniel Ong and Jean Danker) came on at the end of the game to 'rile the crowd'. Honestly, it was obviously more like a bloody mic test for the sound system.

The ex-nationals tried their best at their current fitness levels - terrible and very lacking; can't blame them - but I'm sure they wanted to play on sacred ground one last time too. I'm very sure Kallang turf meant more to them than to me.

Alas the emcees disappointed the die-hard fans big time. We were roused like obedient dogs to Roar at nothing and to perform the Wave at nothing. By the way, the only sound that came from the emcees were them mentioning the names of 'our kind sponsors' over and over again. I did not come to be mesmerised by the generosity of Nike and Polar Mineral Water. I'd rather reminisce the Malaysia Cup days of yore when the Milo commercial came on during every halftime and every spectator imitated the two-arms-raised-in-jubilation action. Remember that?

Then it was the lighting of the cauldron by past National Sprinter C Kunalan. I could feel the air of nostalgia, but again the stupid emceess and programme management just spolit the entire experience.

Then it was the Lions versus the Socceroos. The Lions played darn well against a team that went to the World Cup Finals. We did not win the game, but I'm sure they won my heart for their gutsy showing.

Some idiot(s) marred my entire evening with their irritating and incessant idolatry for the Aussie team. Hello...... they are only your EPL 'heroes', you commercially brainwashed myopic POS! Get a life away from your gogglebox will ya?!

The National Stadium stood tall and proud with her fair number of wins and losses. The National Stadium was about Singapore Pride and United Camarederie of 'friendly' insults and the occasional lump-in-the-throat feeling of patriotism and belonging.

Indeed I spent some National Days as participant (1989), as Signaller and Logistician (1994), and numerous times as spectator. This is not even counting the uncountable times as a self-declared die-hard fan. I may be the occasional skeptic of national policies but I'll always be floored at the National Stadium. Yes, grown men did cry at the stands.

The writers of the 2 articles share the same sentiments. And they've mentioned - very accurately - the total lack of athlete recognition (past and present national athletes parading in the dark?), the lack of preparedness and organisation (no old video clips, or were they also lost with the time capsule?), the lack of money and effort put into this, etc. It's very poor organisation and it is an insult to me and others who have put so much support to the sports scene in Singapore.

Where is the nostalgia I came for? Where is that lump-in-the-throat feeling?

I want that. And I'm sure the others want that feeling too.

Come on Singapore (or whoever the organisers are), there's still some time to organise a very good send-off for an icon that has always reminded me of my roots here in Singapore. Just once more. Please?

Tiger Cup Finals when Singapore beat Thailand for the championship title a few months ago.

1 comment:

moby sky said...

i had to watch the match on tv at home...and while i'm not singaporean, i could feel the rising intensity of emotion with each and every time the lions threatened the aussie goal. i mean, it was almost a tear jerker in the making for me. i was very proud of the lions...good stuff.