Monday, May 31, 2010

Singapore’s table-tennis win triggers fierce debate

Singaporeans’ reactions to the Republic winning the World Table-Tennis Championships has been mixed.

The China-born but Singapore-raised trio of Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Bei Bei stunned reigning champions and arch-nemesis China 3-1 in the final held in Moscow on Sunday.

While some Singaporeans feel that ultimately, it is still a “China versus China” competition and that the win is no big deal, others disagree, triggering a fierce online debate. To date, the post has garnered close to 600 comments within the first 12 hours of the post being published.

One Yahoo! Fit To Post user, Raj, comments, “What’s the point anyways, aren’t this kids Chinese migrants (sic)? Most athletes are imported in Singapore anyways, it’s just a sense of hollow value. Hardly any pride in it.”

Many others, however, beg to differ.

“Regardless of the nationality issue, this achievement is outstanding,” says reader Ignatius Albert Wijaya.

“The players might not have been locals but they train to become the players that they are in Singapore. I hope Singaporeans can show their respect to the players. That’s the least we can do,” he adds.

Judging by the comments on this post, most Singaporeans agree with Ignatius.

Another reader, Chris, sums up the general sentiment, “Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Bei Bei won the game as Singaporeans, sang the Singapore anthem and wore the Singapore flag. Why complain about foreign talent winning the game for Singapore?”

Reaction aside, credit must be given to another stirring performance, in particular from Feng. Once again, just as she did in the 2008 Olympic women’s team semi-finals in Beijing against South Korea, Singapore’s world No 2 rose to the occasion.

First, Feng defeated China’s world No 4, Ding Ning, in the opening singles game but not without first having to engineer a stirring fight-back after having gone down 2 sets to love in the first 15 minutes.

That set the tone for Singapore’s famous victory as Wang then doubled the advantage for Singapore when she scored an upset over world No.1 Liu Shiwen 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 12-10.

But Sun’s defeat to China’s Guo Yan in four sets, losing 11-6, 6-11, 4-11, 6-11, set up a dramatic finale for Feng to clinch the winning point 3-2 against Liu.

It was sweet revenge for the Singapore women’s team after they lost in the 2008 final and the Olympic final to the Chinese.

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