...and utterly regretted it.
Pre-teenage cousins and young kids glued their faces to my TV box (we had a family gathering), having been told by their schools to support the YOG. If they aren't participating, at least give their support in spirit by watching the YOG opening ceremony.
I was in the same living room with these starry-eyed future generation of Singapore, accompanying them in their eagerness. I was all ready to give credit and accolade to the organisers, the working committee, the supporters and the event itself.
Deep down I hoped it to succeed. I wanted it to succeed.
I lingered on the thought that no matter what comes may, a Singaporean is still a Singaporean. We will roll up our sleeves, grit our teeth and gird ourselves with the 'never-say-die' resolve to see it through. So there I was fully prepared to swallow my pride and to hold my criticisms that the over-publicised event might actually pull it off. I even berated myself for being cynical and skeptical about the whole thing.
SGD380+ million dollars, mind you! It's a huge sum of money.
But whatever resolve I had died after some time into the show. My pre-teen viewers cringed at the ridiculous 'alien', my young audience were befuddled with the boxer, and I felt the commentator tried too hard to lift the spirit of the games. Seriously it wasn't even his fault!
One of the audience remarked, "Why boxer? Why is he totally clueless about what he wants to do? At least footballer we understand." Another queried, "Where is this held, huh? Is it Marina?" And the final icing, one young one piqued, "Aiyoh, what kind of alien is it?
Wow... such a pale contrast to the recent National Day. At least with the National Day parade feedback I gathered, people enjoyed the lights, sounds, colours and singing. Especially the freebies in the goody bags.
We have these too at the YOG. But seriously something is amiss. This is Singapore's Youth Olympics to the world. There were lights, colours and singing alright but missing in SPIRIT!
Spirit comes with youth. You just can't buy. It comes along when the youths feel this is a 'cool' event to be in and the word of mouth spreads like a wildfire. From my interactions, most of them don't give a hoot about it.
It showed throughout the whole event amid the aplomb of bursting pillars of fire, zooming spotlights and fantastic stage show by the water front. There was an absence of the spirit of the youths in the event. It felt like it was all for show, a disappointing wayang of sorts. I pondered whom the event was for and if the budget given was even worth the spending. Bluntly put - disappointing show.
By the agonising looks on our faces, we switched to another channel. We concurred it was too painful to watch.
And I thought National Day needed more spirit and patriotism.