What do you seek when the Singapore Premier League is back?

Having always instinctively hated Modern Football and its cronies of kelongmongers, I have these past months, at last, finished researching a few suspicious matches.

What helped was the pandemic, in that it provided me with the time and inactivity to scrutinise those matches. I guess I was right to view football games akin to the professional entertainment-laden athleticism world of wrestling, and not because they were unreal and scripted, but they were entertaining. Predictable at most. Yet, many still miss the Rock’s cooking. Smell it?


My research, and the conscientious updates of Match-Fixing news, will hopefully, draw more fans to the Singapore Premier League. The Cyan Tongue Interview Series, revealed this hope, especially among the “aku tak tahu” about local football diaspora. Indeed, there was a semblance of a patriotic narrative. Right? As akin to the verbal description by all the interviewees in the Cyan Tongue Interview Series. Which also further reinforce the notion that those keen on live football can save monies on would-be travels by staying local and supporting local.


The alleged benefits of supporting the Singapore Premier League, especially in emotional terms, nevertheless, continued to be regarded as a “not my business.” On this demise, many football supporters raised massive, staggeringly expensive collections of European football jerseys and similar merchandises at their expense; the sports gear companies get obscenely more decadent, and the cycle goes on season after season.


Although some might argue otherwise, the local football scene with all its improvements is stuck: support, as we understand it, sadly, has nothing concerning the Singapore Premier League. A misconception of watching football on TV while one takes a swig of their beer will not increase the fans number in stadiums. Nor will having more foreign teams in the league. To mobilise support and keep fans number flowing, there is a need to flood the digital realm with narratives of the Singapore Premier League – Cyan Tongue is trying to accomplish this. Yet, it is hard to squeeze a local-inspired idea into most of today's’ local sports consumers.


So, support instead has to come from government-backed activities that are integrated into our ordinary life. Kids need open spaces in which they can kick about freely without the fear of the police reprimanding them. Not some giant sports centre or the likes which are of little use to them. These kids need to be exposed to the availability of the Singapore Premier League at a level which is familiar to them. It’s no good getting one of the highest-paid athletes in the world to front a brand and entice local support while exposing kids to the imagery of European superiority. These kids will grow with the poignant memory of a man singing to this tune. No pun intended. Adults, too, might suffer from such scenes, but even more so being lured into the perception of non-local superiority.

We, as in, we the independent writers/content producers of the local football scene in Singapore, particularly the Singapore Premier League, need to flood the digital diaspora with more narratives. Even if our work is not appreciated or reciprocated. Because one will never know when their work can influence someone to support the Singapore Premier League. Once all the Covid-19 stories have ended (no guessing when that will be) fans can hopefully look forward to a richer presence on the terraces. Perhaps, the g’s favourite people the #ShooShoo could be involved too. But sorry, only local twang please – like; lah, lei, mah, meh, dah, dey, mak kau punya laki and kepala butho!


If the g really wants to make us… wait, who cares about what the g wants? They want they get. Like duh! Instead, we ought to implement the Singapore initiative. Being hunched inside a work from home office for longer than 12 hours per day without thinking what’s going on outside the office can cripple our minds. So does being propagandised inside the system of a more than 50-years one-party rule. It cripples our initiative!


As for the privatisation of football clubs, these should not be treated with deep suspicion. Just a tad is fine. Football clubs do build communal spirit, but not always have broad racial representation. Cyan Tongue has argued that language can and cannot be a crowd-pleaser factor – it all depends on how you regard it. That the Singapore Premier League has so far seen one club going private certainly seems promising, if not encouraging.


So, where does the idea that football is a uniting factor for societies and communities come from? The answer, as in many other initiatives, is from us, the fans, and it got nothing to do with the state or g. Singapore football promises this unity – one that is separated from any political parties or figures. Far from having any fans to march through a concerted controlled bureaucracy, football is aimed at giving fans a short but glorious collectivity.


Football fans alma mater, their secondary schools, in particular, duly gave them the choice of competitive sports as part of their extracurricular activities (ECA). Many such schools adopted football and basketball and netball with realistic ambitions. “Cheering, shouting, crying, yelling,” was how the school students motivated their schoolmates in matches and games. Golf was not there, but gardening was and still is. Students were encouraged to attend crucial or latter-staged games and support their schoolmates with their typical renditions of cheer such as, “North, South, East, West, who is the best?”


Unfortunately for Singapore, sports remained a minority pursuit. Students in schools were told that they would have no lucrative future if they as much as studied too much as they would be a doctor. Ordinary ex schoolgoers like myself, got myself fit playing sports such as football, which was fun, suave, and more often than not involved people from other countries, like China and India.


There has been encouraging change for football. On the one hand, we saw the first privatisation of a club. On the other, someone left a particular organisation and rightfully so? Having long crying for the separation of state and football affairs into separate entities, Cyan Tongue was thrilled at peeing and pooing in proper toilets: such practices, the natives were told, were regulated by the nightsoil collectors in the past.


Football, though, continues to be missed, but not for long. The Singapore Premier League will resume on Oct. 17 in a condensed format after an extended stoppage. Cyan Tongue, a full-fledged independent blogger whose blogging talents makes them about one in don’t know how many, is sold by this return.


What the Singapore Premier League need are more fans, and the one Cyan Tongue would pick is Singaporeans. We may be a cauldron of keyboard-warriors, but we are united, critical yet willing to support other Singaporeans. As a result, we always get the better of our opponents #ShooShoo in our midst.


Football is a great spectator sport, indeed. It does not require anyone to submit to an all-powerful one-single party rule. It will open your horizons of realisations without getting sued to yourself or others. And, if you are supporting any clubs, you do not have to show your NRIC because there is no need to. We will just…know.


Because as football fans, we recognise each other.


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