Parliament United Scored
The local news finally reported a parliament vs media friendly football match. WP MP Pritam Singh wrote about it some days ago and the parliament team won in my view, regardless if the media trashed them 2-1. Frankly, that’s the power of the media, new or traditional, they can trash anybody if they want to. But the combined team of parliament staff, PAP and WP MPs working together to win goals scored for me in the end.
Credit to the PAP MPs who set up the game, specifically Teo Ser Luck who with one stroke, recovered from his horrific GE gaffe in a viral Youtube video . This set a new tone for the new parliament, whatever cynics of the PAP would think. Pritam’s witty retorts in his Facebook commentary on the game is also funny and insightful. Pritam is left-leaning, true to WP’s original roots, but the WP is now generally seen as centrist by some in the PAP. A compliment to the WP as it reflects balance in his positioning.
Pritam also qualified that he can be right-wing. Whether he meant it as his views on xenophobia, foreign policy or security, typical expressions of right-wing politics, he did not elaborate.
Football, and sports in general, can unite and parliament is metaphorically described as a team Singapore in this friendly match, scoring for Singapore together while each team member has his own quirks or loyalty to a different club. Reminds me of Tan Cheng Bock, ever the street-wise politician who participated in Eat Curry Day without officially endorsing it and who in his PE campaigning promised for sports to unify Singaporeans. He knew right away what could make Singaporeans stand together against the Other as the Kallang Roar demonstrated years ago.
Workers’ Party (WP) MP Pritam Singh was bearing down on goal during the inaugural Parliament versus media football match when he was fouled.
The referee pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty. Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck – the People’s Action Party MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC – handed Mr Singh the ball.
‘I told him he should take it because he won it,’ Mr Teo said.
Said Mr Singh: ‘I agreed to take it when he asked me to.’
Singapore Parliament Team
by Pritam Singh on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 1:56am
Sometime in August this year, MOS Teo Ser Luck invited the WP MPs to be part of a parliament soccer team comprising PAP MPs and parliament staff (solid players our parliament staff). The team came together last night for its first “competitive” fixture against a combined Singapore media team. Faisal Manap and I represented the WP. For all the team’s industry and number of chances created, we unfortunately lost 1-2.
The game was played in good spirit and friendly banter. Before the game, I informed MOS Tan Chuan Jin I was a leftie (both in terms of my kicking foot and my general ideological leaning) and that I would be happy to play anywhere on the left side of the pitch. He responded noting that the WP appeared generally rather centrist, to which I agreed to play in the centre if need be, but not before adding in jest that I could be “right-winged” on some matters. A round of laughs ensued. On the bench at the start of the second half, Ag Minister for MCYS MG Chan Chun Sing jokingly noted that if the Parliament team won the game, the media probably would not report the story since we were competing against a combined Singapore media team. I jokingly retorted that such non-reportage would prove the mainstream media was biased! Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer in good humour, promised me an extra minute of speaking time in Parliament after I scored a consolatory penalty.
But the evening was not just about a friendly football game. After the game, some MPs attended a briefing conducted by Singapore Sports Council (SSC) CEO Lim Teck Yin and his staff, who proceeded to outline the SSC’s strategic direction for Singapore sports over the next 20 years – Vision 2030. While it was a very broad-ranging exchange, very strategic in outlook, I could not help but to get the sense that the SSC wants to be even more deliberate in encouraging Singaporeans to turn to sports in a purposeful way, not just at the national level, but at the community level as well.
The other take-away from the briefing was a desire to encourage bottom-up involvement and also to bypass bureaucracy in sports (e.g. a willingness by the authorities to explore the usage of unused land for sports etc.) This bodes well for Singapore and I hope Singaporeans explore possibilities with the SSC and work with them to overcome hurdles and turn to sports to make it a central part of their lives. After all, keeping active through any sport is a great way to keep the mind and body healthy.
Some pictures of the event from MOS Tan Chuan Jin’s facebook page: