Spectator sports allow Singaporeans to be different – louder, braver to a certain extent, and nastier (to our opponent). It’s our choice.
So, little Singapore is exercising its new ration of whatever by banning personal mobility devices (PMDs). This is not as tricky as it may seem, because they ban whatever they want to ban whenever they want – it’s too Singaporeish. Which then bears an opportunity – you suppress whatever you suppress for years, and we the hoi polloi will take the first chance we get to have a symbolic go at a piece of yours and make it as shambolic as hell.
And this opportunity is just the thing for symbolism: uniting at the terraces!
From watching your teams at the stands and shouting at the top of your lungs, some fans thought it dramatized the struggle of the little man, like us, while some felt it displayed the raw power of nature and order. Today, however, it may be hailed as a picturesque, mystical, and highly profitable manifestation of cultural diversity in a “the person beside me is not a Singaporean” world.
It is an enjoyment to its admirers, and to opponents, it’s a degrading verbal slaughter. For non-white-top loving Singaporeans, it is proof that some are uncivilized and will kill spectator sport, or throw hindrance and barriers from towers if you manage to gain an independent track on them for a moment to buy more non-interference.
Ask yourself, do you think it is fair to judge others by their pastimes? Just as surely as ours. It helps to define ourselves, the who we are. We are a nation allegedly obsessed with non-local football. Meaning, we admire the skills of the average joe who have no PMD bans to face with and in an indirect way, attempt to entertain and give the Singapore Pools punters something feasible to bet. Or it could very well be that we are born into this country to worship a grossly commercialized product, which by the way is not a sin nor a crime, with racism, happy to be exploited by money-focused clubs, unknowledgeable broadcasters, and primadonna players.
Things are never simple around local sport and foreign sports. Yes, it is never simple around sport.
Footballing history, national pride? Insecurity, identity, emotional and financial commitment, and the lone cry of a lackluster crowd all help to make sports that queasy combination of propaganda opportunity and a nice day out with fellow fans, which we are familiar.
Sports and local football, in particular, give us permission to be different: louder, cruder, nastier – pick lah. Hougang Hools has chosen to be fans and supporters who don’t watch their club solely for the sake of entertainment. They are more than that. Being a Hougang United Football Club supporter once involved sitting on the stadium’s jogging track to watch the proceedings on the field, only with more skin – then the decision to become a fan who sits on a chair oblivious to the events unfolding in front of them. We create the atmosphere because we can pick.
As this country continues to tell us what we must listen to and read, I wonder if you should join us at the terraces and change your pastimes too – make a bold statement about, not anyone else, but who you are.
Pulau Semakau disposes off garbage in a fascinating way but now it seems increasingly appropriate that we should also dispose of unspecified red tape when it comes to running a local football team – we could adopt the three R’s; Refuse, Reduce, Rot. We’d undoubtedly feel different without all these domesticated dog shit. Why not formalize the total independence of a football league so that everyone can enjoy it in the way it’s supposed to be? The ball in the field gets 90+ minutes of attention as it is kicked around, and sometimes the ball picker receives a round of applause. That’s far more than the common rule, regulations, and procedures ruining the beautiful game. Admittedly, it is time to give our local football league a really Singapore flavor.