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这些年,我们一起穿红衣 with English Translation

August 13th, 2012

 

《我报》8-8-2012
炎下之意(专栏)
文/马炎庆

 

这些年,我们一起穿红衣

RC上门卖国旗,居民反应一般

上个星期六下午,我在滨海中心看到很多人穿着红衣,想必是要去观看国庆日典礼的预演。过去几年的8月9日当天,我注意到街上很多人穿红衣。他们看来并非全都出席国庆庆典,多数是凑凑热闹庆祝国庆。似乎新加坡人已养成穿红衣表达爱国情怀的习惯。

另一方面,政府鼓励国人在国庆期间张挂国旗,居委会成员还会沿家挨户售卖国旗,呼吁居民响应,但是,反应却很一般,看到的多数是基层组织的国庆布置。

冯天薇胜利,为何诸多质疑?

乒乓女将冯天薇一个星期前,在伦敦奥运会为新加坡赢得一面铜牌,也是我国有史以来的第三面奥运奖牌。这可算是给新加坡第47个生日最好的礼物,可是,有些国人却认为,冯天薇原藉中国,不能视为新加坡的荣耀。网民还因为她得奖后把手花丢向中国球迷,质疑她的效忠。

后来,在现场的新加坡球迷为她辩护,解释冯天薇和金牌及银牌得主是在离开会场的前一刻把手花丢向观众,刚好中国球迷就坐在附近。新加坡球迷当时坐在体育馆的另一端,方向和角度的问题,冯天薇无论如何也无法把手花丢向他们。

冯 天薇是乒乓神童,7岁就拿到黑龙江省第一,2002年夺得中国全国青少年锦标赛的女单冠军,同年入选国家青年队。可是,国家一、二队升降级比赛中,冯天薇 只排11名,与国家一队擦肩而过。不久后,冯天薇被诊断出患有心肌炎。2005年,她在教练的劝说下,放弃世界乒坛的最高舞台,去日本打职业球赛。两年 后,新加坡乒总教练挖掘冯天薇。5年来,新加坡投入资源继续栽培冯天薇,果然不负众望。如果她留在中国,可能永远进不了国家一队,更别说参加奥运会。新加 坡要为冯天薇的胜利领点功,当之无愧。

现在的社会,犹如叛逆的青少年

有 些新加坡人对我国昨天刚夺得的奥运乒乓组合铜牌和于2008年北京奥运会赢得的相同项目银牌也不认同,因为选手李佳薇、王越古和冯天薇都不是道道地地的新 加坡人。多数人认为,只有在1960年罗马奥运会夺得举重银牌的陈浩亮才真正是我国的光荣。可是,大家可能不知道陈浩亮其实1933年出生于中国汕头,也 是外来人才!

我们都渴望有个国家英雄为我们争光,让我们欢呼,让我们感到自豪。可是,为什么同样来自中国,有人可以把陈浩亮当成自己人,却视冯天薇为外人呢?

为什么国人喜欢穿红衣,不爱张挂国旗?

这种心态是微妙的,也是复杂的。

或许,新加坡人不喜欢政府过于干涉,处处左右人们的选择。

现阶段的社会民情犹如一个青少年,属于青春叛逆期,政府越是鼓吹,人们越想抗拒。

张挂国旗等于响应官方号召,但要不要穿红衣是自己的决定。

政府无需超之过急

当陈浩亮举起我国的第一面奥运奖牌时,当年的新加坡还只是一个未独立的自治区,资源有限,陈浩亮为了追求自己的梦想,除了在国泰机构当文员,还打多一份技工的工作,自己赚钱供举重训练,以不屈不挠的精神创下奇迹。

虽然现在政府花钱礼聘的外来运动健将也流了血汗,他们集训锻炼背后的辛酸鲜为人知,而体育专业化的世界趋势也无法扭转,但是,冯天薇等人要引起国人的共鸣时,就少了陈浩亮草根性的感染力

观念的转变需要时间,政府也无须超之过急。

祝福大家国庆日快乐,让我们一起穿红衣吧!

 

Translation:

Let’s Wear Red!

Last Saturday afternoon, I saw many donned in red tops at Marina Centre.  I gathered they must be making their way to National Day Parade (NDP) preview. Over the past years, I have noticed many wearing red on 9 August. I do not think they are all going to be at the NDP, so I guess they are joining in the fun to indulge in the festive mood. It appears that Singaporeans have grown accustomed to associate wearing red with patriotism.

On the other hand, while the government is encouraging us to display the national flag during national day period and RC members have been walking the blocks to sell flags, the response has been mediocre.  Most of the national day decorations we see are put up by grassroots leaders.

Last week, table tennis player Feng Tianwei successfully clinched the bronze medal at the London Olympics. This marks our third Olympics medal in history, probably also the best gift for Singapore’s 47th birthday. However, some do not recognize this to be Singapore’s glory given that Feng was originally from China. Netizens even cast doubts on her loyalty to Singapore after she tossed her hand bouquet towards supporters from China.

Singaporeans who were in the audience later defended Feng, explaining that she joined the other medalists to toss the flowers towards the spectators just before they left the stadium and coincidentally, the Chinese supporters were seated in the vicinity.  Feng was not able to reach out to Singaporean supporters only because they were seated quite a considerable distance away.

Feng was a table tennis child prodigy. She seized the top spot in Heilongjiang province at a mere age of 7, was conferred championship in the 2002 Chinese national table tennis youth competition and was roped into the national youth team that same year. However, she missed her chance to be in the country’s top team when she was ranked 11th during the national relegation competition. Feng was later diagnosed with myocarditis. In 2005, she was persuaded by her coach to give up on the sport at the foremost platform and relocate to Japan to play professional table tennis. Two years later, Feng was discovered by the coach from Singapore Table Tennis Association. For five long years, Singapore pumped our resources to groom Feng to the rising star she is today. She might never be given the chance to make it to the first team had she continued to remain in China, not to say take part in the Olympics. Singapore can thus claim some credit to Feng’s astounding achievement and success today.

Some Singaporeans also do not quite recognize both silver medals won at this and last Olympics for the table tennis team competition.  This is because Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu and Feng Tianwei are not born and bred in Singapore. It appears that the vast majority can only identify with the silver medal won by Tan Howe Liang for weight lifting during the Rome Olympics in 1960. However, most may not be aware that Tan Howe Liang was originally born in Shantou, China in 1933. He is also a foreign talent.

We all yearn for a national hero to bring glory to the nation, whose achievements we would celebrate and rejoice with pride. However, why do we accept Tan Howe Liang but not Feng Tianwei as one of us when both came from China?

Why are we donning red but not putting up our national flag?

This behavior is interesting yet complicated.

Perhaps Singaporeans are less receptive towards governmental intervention.

The current societal sentiment is akin to the phase of rebellious adolescence. The more the government tries to advocate, the stronger the societal push-back. Putting up the flag would mean responding to the call of the government, whereas wearing red is a personal choice.

Singapore was only a self government with limited resources when Tan Howe Liang brought our first Olympics medal home. In order to pay for the weight lifting training to fulfill his dreams, besides his job as a clerk at the Cathay organization, Tan also worked as a mechanic.  His tenacity earned us our first Olympics miracle.

Even though the foreign athletes attracted by our government do put in blood, sweat and tears, and there is a global trend of sports professionalization, it would still be more challenging for Feng Tianwei to gain the recognition of our people as she did not have the same grassroots appeal of Tan Howe Liang.

Perspectives need time to change, therefore our government should learn to be patient.

Wishing all Happy National Day.  Let’s wear red!

 

Happy 47th Birthday, SINGAPORE!

Daily Journal, Little Red Dot

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