Who really created the mess, George?

The report:

This report appeared in The Straits Times on Tuesday. I have highlighted a paragraph in particular and will comment on it later, as per my usual style. Here’s the report:


Stay out!

(The Straits Times, 12 May 2010)

Organisers erect barricades for schools rugby final to prevent pitch invasions

By Chan U-Gene

SUPPORTERS attending tomorrow’s Schools National A Division Rugby Under-20 Police Cup final between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) and Raffles Institution (RI) at the Old Police Academy will be forced to watch the clash behind metal barricades.

The organisers of the tournament have decided to erect the steel barriers following the pitch invasion that marked last month’s B Division U-17 final between St Andrew’s School (SAS) and ACS(I).

The invasion by supporters from both schools took place after Saints player Daniel Tan punched ACS(I)’s Leonard Wee following the heated final which ACS(I) won 8-7.

During that April 12 match, spectators were separated from the pitch by ropes.

Sources have told The Straits Times that SAS and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the sponsors of the challenge trophy, decided at a meeting after the incident to erect the barricades as a preventive measure.

The barricades were used during the A Division semi-finals last week. They were placed about 5m to 10m from the touch-lines. Yesterday, The Straits Times saw a lorry carrying the yellow barricades into the venue.

Coaches and rugby officials have given the decision the thumbs up. Said RI’s head coach Rhys Jones: ‘It is a good idea, and I am glad that safety issues are taking a step up.’

ACS(I) head coach Adrian Chong is hoping, however, that the barricades will not hinder access between the players and their bench.

St Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) coach Gene Tong added: ‘It could be dangerous when a player gets tackled near the metal barricade. Maybe the organisers can consider using foam barricades in future.’

The precautionary measures for tomorrow’s 4.15pm game between the top two rugby schools had the approval of Singapore Rugby Union chief Low Teo Ping as well.

‘The host venue is supposed to prevent encroachment onto the field by spectators. I am glad such measures have been taken. This will allow the players to focus on their game,’ he said.

But national convener George Danapal refused to comment when asked. He also declined to provide the team lists and score of yesterday’s third-place play-off between SAJC and Anglo-Chinese JC. For the record, SAJC won 18-3.

‘After the mess you guys created the last time, I can’t give it to you. I have to check with CCAB (Co-curricular Activities Branch) first,’ he said in a reference to the media coverage of the post-match fracas at the B final, which sparked a public outcry.

Both schools have since decided to organise a reconciliation session for the two teams. In a separate incident, two ACS(I) students were assaulted by a person at a bus stop near the venue after the game. The assailant is believed to be an SAS Secondary Four student, who was not in his school uniform at the time.


My thoughts:

I was very bemused yet saddened when I read the paragraphs on national convenor George Danapal’s refusal to give the team lists and score to The Straits Times  and his reason for not doing so:

“After the mess you guys created the last time, I can’t give it to you.”

I found Danapal’s comment  ironic.

Why don’t we go through this step by step? Let us ask: who started this mess in the first place?

Who opted to use his fists to hammer the ACS-I player who had apparently hurled a slur at him?

Some would say that he reacted because he was provoked. As far as I am concerned, trash-talking should never be allowed in sport. But it does. Yet to react to it with violence is wrong and the greater sin.

Subsequently, which student from which school assaulted the two ACS-I boys at the bus-stop after the game? The answer is here.

So, Mr Danapal, who created this mess in the first place?

The newspapers? For being there at the final, catching the assault first hand and then reporting extensively on it? 

Surely not.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

Tagged , ,

5 thoughts on “Who really created the mess, George?

  1. JL says:

    Dear SSF,

    This is your blog, and your forum, and so rightly you are very much entitled to your views on this, I humbly ask that you allow me to air my views on your platform.

    I’ve read your blog for a very long time, and really enjoyed your thoughts on a wide variety of topics, but I feel that this is really a character assignation of someone who admittedly said the wrong thing in the press, but the more wider question is this – Who are you (or any of us for that matter) to sit on our high horses and say that as a teacher he is not allowed to let his own emotions take over?

    To quote you, lets go through this step by step.

    1. Was what happened between the 2 players wrong? Yes – BOTH sides were wrong, cause and effect both were wrong , no such thing as one is less blameless than another.

    2. Did it merit taking the SA player to the masses and literally splashing his mug around the island and the world? Maybe, Personally I felt that the media blew it out of proportion just to sell newspapers.

    3. Did old boys from both sides contribute to the onfield malee? Yes. I was personally attacked by an ACS old boy while trying to break up the fight on the pitch between the boys- no one covered that now did they?

    Everyone is at fault here – there is no right place to sit and shout from. I pity Mr Danapal, and anyone in his place – not being equipped to handle the heat of the media (very few are), and at the same time as a by product of that the heat that is coming from top management as a result of the bad press to change and act on certain issues.

    Can you blame Mr Danapal for lashing out after all that he has gone through? A boy did something wrong, was punished and is currently being mentored for his wrong doing, but yet the negatives are consitently being hashed by the media. In his mind he has done all he can to rectify the situaition, but the media is constantly trying to hound him, and without the proper mindset, he’s bound to be frustrated.

    It was a 3th/4th placing of a A div rugby game – when was the last time media covered such a game so extensively? Of course one can say that as a result, media coverage of schools rugby after the incident has been a whole lot more- but for what reasons I wonder.

    I ask again – who are we to pass judgement? Are we in the trenches daily working with the boys, trying the best to mould them, and like a parent, held resposible when the child goes awary despite your best intentions?

    So much focus on how mature these kids should be, and how adults need to be responsible for their actions. Then what about the adults who attack (‘hammer’ to quote you) refs weekly at lower level football leagues and other sports? Who do we hold responsible when a supporter runs from sidelines and breaks a players nose in a local adult rugby game, as it did a couple years ago? Where was the media then?Everyone lets emotions get the better of them – is it right? No – but it happens.

    Having a viewpoint of Singapore sports is fantastic – we need more, but your moral high horse just passed out a very pungent load which I can’t take.

    It might not matter to you SSF, but you just lost one reader who actually thought you had some cow sense, not horse shit.

    • singaporesportsfan says:

      Dear JL

      Thank you for your strong opinions and feedback. I have reflected on them and see where you are coming from. Taking them into consideration, I will do the neccessary.

      And thank you too for your support these past two years. I wish you well.

      Warmest regards

    • justanothercritic says:

      Dear JL,

      I don’t always agree with SSF all the time. But the beauty of having a civilized debate is to be able to agree to disagree. To walk away from such a debate only shows a sense of close mindedness that is a complete polar opposite from your opening paragraph.

      I am a teacher myself and I say this truthfully, a teacher cannot and MUST not let his emotions take over. It is unprofessional. There is nothing high horsing around about this.

      I agree that everyone is in the wrong. But to blame the press is akin to biting the hand that feeds you. You have clearly pointed out about the press has done nothing but rehash the negatives.

      We have to learn to accept the good and the bad when it comes to the press. I think you know this, but have not come to terms with it. Some reasons for the media coverage can include mental preparations for our sportsmen/women when they are interviewed by foreign press.

      Just as the media coverage in US is huge for their college sports, I hope some semblance of that will occur in Singapore one day in the not too distant future.

      Lastly, just like you do not like the fact that SSF passed judgement on George Danapal. You should not do the same and pass judgement on SSF. (I have to point out that as much as we don’t want to pass judgement on other people, it’s innate that we do. It’s really in our culture to bitch.)

      All in all, I sincerely hope you read this and stick around. All of us could use an opinion. :)

  2. JL says:

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback, and yes I must admit that passion got the better of me a little bit, although I still think that we all need to be a little realistic here.

    The major issue for me (and am agreeing with justanothercritic here) is that in this day and age of mass media (bloggers, websites and all), each and every person associated with school sports needs to have some basic level of media training. Schools currently have teachers who double as ‘pr liasons’ for each school, but are they properly equipped to deal with the media?

    Personally, I think the trouble all started with a very ‘lazy’ quote that appeared on local school sports site redsports some 2 weeks before the B final. The saints captain was quoted that his team was gunning specifically for acs – now this might be just a 16 year old talking, but thats the point – a 16 year old needs to be guided. As someone who is in the media industry, I personally this that this was the little spark, and ammunition that was needed to start everything off.

    • matta says:

      Very good point JL.

      I was watch a program on TV the other day abut Singapore School sports. Apart from being one of the most poorly produced programs I have ever seen, I was amazed to see some of the quotes young kids were giving about their opposition.

      One 13 year old tennis player from RI in particular said some really critical stuff. Now, who is to blame for that? If a 13 year old is asked a question like “what is wrong with the other guys game?” or “what were his weaknesses” he is usually going to quote what he has been told or heard from elders….now this is fine but the media must know that kids are not pros and don’t know how to deal with criticism.

      Just like the skipper from SA as mentioned by JL. A comment like that printed in pro ranks is considered part of the fun. But when you are dealing with teenage boys its like red rags to a bull….the editor of redsports need to think more.

      My 10 cents worth on the actual incident…The ACS boy insulted the SA boy after whistle had gone and the teams were shaking hands, therefore deserved everything he got.

      Where I come from the ACS boy would be treated like a villain and coward, not the SA lad.

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