Tag Archives: The New Paper

Shame on you, S-League, for even nominating Shahril for the Player of the Year Award in the first place.

The crowning of Shahril Ishak as the S-League’s Player of the Year for the 2010 season is a sad indictment of  the moral state of local football.

Sure, the 26-year-old midfielder and playmaker may have had a stellar season with Home United, his performances and 17 goals playing a major part in Home’s pursuit of the title.

But the fact remains that Shahril left his club to join Indonesia Super League side Persib Bandung several matches before the end of the season.

And as The New Paper astutely noted in its report: “After his departure, the Protectors never regained the momentum to keep their title charge going and finished third.”

The New Paper also quoted Shahril as saying that he had no choice but to take up the offer from Persib Bandung.

“I feel sad that my team struggled after I left. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to leave for Indonesia. I had to take it,” he said.

I do not deny that Shahril is a highly-talented player and that he had a great season with Home.

But regardless of how Shahril chose to explain it, the fact remains that he had abandoned his club for a higher-paying opportunity at a crucial stage of the title race. Mind you, his departure didn’t just jeopardise Home’s title chances. It also dealt a huge blow to the attractiveness of the competition.

All this, in my book, should have automatically disqualified him from being even nominated for the Player of the Year award in the first place.

And yet, the S-League chose to put him on a pedestal instead. In doing so, they have sent the wrong message to all other young aspiring footballers.

On his part, Shahril should have also done the noble thing and declined the nomination from the start.

Shame on you, S-League.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Resignations at SingaporeSailing are part and parcel of leadership changes

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times. Similar reports appeared in The New Paper and Today.

Choppy Waters

(The Straits Times, 19 Oct 2010)

Two senior staff members quit sailing federation less than a month before Asian Games

By Lin Xinyi

WITH less than a month to the Asian Games, there are signs that the ride to Guangzhou is not going to be smooth for the Singapore Sailing Federation.

The national sports association yesterday confirmed that two senior staff members – executive director Edwin Low and head of high performance Mark Robinson – had tendered their resignation on Sept 24 and Oct 12, respectively.

However, they are expected to remain in their posts until after the Games in Guangzhou, where sailing is expected to deliver at least two gold medals.

Both men downplayed the significance of their departure and signalled a desire to move on.

According to a source, at least two more full-time staff members and a national coach are poised to leave – a claim denied by the association.

Parting will be hard for 54-year-old Low, who is also the secretary general.

He has been with SingaporeSailing since 2000, and was one of the pioneer staff at the National Sailing Centre.

‘After 10 years, it was definitely a tough decision to leave,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a good time. I suppose with a new management in place, it was a good time to step out before I got too deep in the system.’

Robinson, 36, joined as a technical manager in 2003. When asked if his decision to resign had anything to do with Low’s earlier resignation, Robinson said it was not a factor.

‘It’s just part of an ongoing evolution,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure it’s a dramatic event. I don’t think it’ll have any effect on the Asian Games.’

SingaporeSailing deputy president Dr Loh Kok Hua said that preparations for next month’s Guangzhou Games would not be disrupted.

‘This is a tremendous loss because of their sterling service to SingaporeSailing,’ said Dr Loh, who also chairs the search committee for suitable successors.

‘The most important thing now is to make sure that preparations continue and our sailors are well prepared.’

He expects the transition period to take up to six months but insisted that strategic plans will be carried out.

Low himself had taken over his current post from his predecessor Andrew Sanders in February.

In June, Dr Ben Tan took over the helm from outgoing president Low Teo Ping, who served for 12 years.

Dr Tan could not be reached for comment.

Teo Ping said he was numbed by the news but was quick to pay tribute to the two stalwarts.

Singapore’s chef de mission for the Asian Games said: ‘Knowing that Edwin and Mark are going to play pivotal roles in supporting the sailors, and hearing that they will leave only after the Asian Games, I’m relieved.’

With the Games beckoning, both Low and Robinson are eager to bow out on a high when they leave in April and January respectively.

 Said Low: ‘We’ve been working on the Asian Games project since 2006. We want to see this through and end on a good note.’

My thoughts:

To be honest,  I felt that the reports on Low and Robinson’s resinations in all the three main English papers ie The Straits Times, The New Paper and Today sounded a little alarmist.

Let’s give these two men a little more credit, hey? Yes, they have tendered their resignations, and yes, it is a pity to see them go, particularly Low who is a good bloke and whose ‘uncle-ly’ presence, I am sure, will be missed by the sailors.

But Robinson and Low  are only leaving in January and April, which means they will be around to see the Asian Games through before preparing the handing over process. So for the above report to say that “the ride to Guangzhou is not going to be smooth” is a bit of an extreme view.

Am I shocked by the resignations? Well, I was surprised when I read the reports today but then again, resignations are a common occurence in organisations whenever new leadership takes over at the helm.

For example, six top executives in the Singapore Sports Council subsequently resigned over a period of time after Oon Jin Teik took over as its chief executive in 2004. And now that Oon is leaving to join water management systems company Hyflux next year, it will be normal to expect some of his lieutenants to be quitting soon after his successor takes over.

Likewise, the senior management staff at the Singapore Athletics Association also stepped down soon after Loh Lin Kok announced that he would not be running for the presidency again.

As such, I felt it was a crude and cheap shot for a source to tell The New Paper that the resignations are not as amicable as they seem, that “there is discontent with the new management, wheher it’s because of their modus operandi or something else , I don’t know.”

What the resignations do suggest, however, is that former Singapore Sailing president Low Teo Ping and his successor Ben Tan probably have different leadership styles and that both men have different plans for the sport. And now Tan needs to find his own people to carry out his vision for the future of the sport.

Let’s see whether Tan’s own men can deliver the goods for Singapore sailing. Only after a period of time, when they have settled in, can we then be in a position to say whether the ride ahead for the sport is looking rough or smooth.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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My take on Loh Lin Kok asking Subhas Anandan to run for the SAA presidency

The report:

This report was published in yesterday’s edition of The Sunday Times. It is a follow-up to a story earlier in the week about embattled  and beleaguered Singapore Athletic Association president Loh Lin Kok asking his good friend, renowned lawyer Subhas Anandan to consider running for the presidency of the SAA in the elections in June.

Subhas is no stranger to the world of sports administration as he is the president of Cuesports Singapore. In his four years at the helm, he has slashed the $700,000 that CS owes to its creditors to $100,000. Singapore has also won several SEA and Asian Games medlas in snooker and billiard since his arrival at the helm.

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‘I won’t run against Loh, but I’m not his puppet either’

(The Sunday Times, 25 April 2010)

Subhas Anandan will not throw his hat into the ring if incumbent Loh Lin Kok decides to stand for the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) presidency again.

‘I think our friendship is much more valuable than the presidency of the SAA,’ said Anandan, the 62-year-old president of Cuesports Singapore.

‘I will not sacrifice my friendship with him even for 10 presidencies. Lin Kok knows I will not stand against him. I think if I stand, he will step aside.’

The pair have known each other since their days at the then-University of Singapore law school in the 1960s.

Oil trader Tang Weng Fei, 56, the SAA chief between 2004 and 2006, has already formed a team to contest the biennial elections, which must be called by June.

Anandan is no stranger to sports administration, having held the reins of Cuesports Singapore since 2006.

Back then, the association was saddled with debts of about $700,000. It now owes about $100,000.

Under his tenure, the Republic’s snooker, pool and billiards players won two golds, three silvers and four bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 South-east Asia Games.

If he wins the SAA election, the criminal lawyer wants to remove the ill-feeling that has built up between the SAA and Singapore Sports Council (SSC) in recent months and ‘start the reconciliation process’.

Anandan added: ‘The SSC knows I will not be a proxy for him (Loh). I am not that type of fellow who gives people the opportunity to say I’m a puppet.

‘If I do things, I’ll do it my way.’ 

Leonard Lim

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My thoughts:

You have to hand it to crafty old Loh Lin Kok. He’s clearly been hard at work thinking of ways to ensure that the Tang Weng Fei-led team does not win this June’s elections.

And asking Subhas to come on board is a brilliant move since the veteran lawyer has proven his mettle at sports administration with his leadership at Cuesports Singapore.

There is, I hear, another reason why Loh is looking for someone to run in the elections. The fiercely loyal leader that he is, I hear that he is wracked with fear that the successful election of Tang and crew would mean the sacking of all his paid staff at the SAA.

I guess to lose office is one thing, but to cause the loss of other people’s ricebowls as  result of the loss of office is another altogether. (Whether or not these people are actually competent in the first place is another matter altogether, I guess)

What’s my take on all this?

Well, I am all for a electoral battle come June because I firmly believe that it is always good to have a contest.

But I am wondering who will make up Subhas’ team if he does throw his hat into the ring. As Tang indicated in today’s edition of The New Paper, we don’t know who will make up the rest of his team.

So my reading of the situation is this (and I would advise that you take this with a pinch of salt):

It sounds like a case of Loh asking Subhas to stand for the presidency IN HIS PLACE, and with HIS TEAM.

In other words, it does sound as though Loh has finally decided that since he is the person causing the most antagonism to the Singapore Sports Council, the best way to solve this situation is to bequeath his team to Subhas, and take himself out of the running.

Of course, if the make-up of the current SAA leadership is still offensive to the sporting powers, then Loh can always recommend a few names to Subhas, or Subhas can always choose a couple of his own trusted lieutenants, to show that the team is not entirely made up of Loh’s loyal officers.   

Maybe then the SAA affiliates, especially those who are sitting on the fence with regards to their vote —  as in keen to vote for Loh but fearful of reprisals from the sporting powers — can then be emboldened to vote for Subhas, and tilt the voting numbers towards Loh’s team (oops, I meant Subhas’ team, actually).

After all, they can always explain their choice by saying that Subhas’ team now presents the best of both worlds: a new credible leader, and a management team with experience in running athletics.

 What will then happen to Loh if Subhas’ team does win the election?

Well, I am sure that he will lie low for several months.

Then down the road, he will be invited to come back as a special adviser to the SAA, given his many years of experience and international clout, and to help Subhas, whose own schedule must be pretty packed as it is, giving him not as much time to spend on athletics as he would like.

And then the athletics scene will come full circle once again.

Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this?

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan  

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