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YOG volunteer questions sincerity of YOG committee

The following is a letter to TOC by Amanda Lee, a volunteer for the recently-concluded Youth Olympic Games.

I was a volunteer for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and along with other volunteers – attended the appreciation party on September 16 which was held at the Universal Studios.

At the Universal Studios, my team mates and I queued up for the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix (F1) Bay Grandstand tickets (W$298*) for approximately 30 to 45minutes. Upon registering, the respective personnel assured us that the F1 tickets will be mailed to our home one week before the event.

As the F1 race drew closer, my team mates and I had still to receive news about the tickets. Checking my letterbox at least twice a day became a daily routine as I feared that I may have carelessly missed the F1 Grandstand tickets through the pile of other mails.

Sept 24 marked the start of F1 practise sessions when competing drivers test the tracks. On that day, I checked my letterbox thrice, even at 10pm on one night. However, there were no signs of any tickets.

Ironically, on September 27, when I opened my letterbox, I found an envelope stamped “On Government Service” with the details: “SINGAPORE. 24 SEPT 2010.” However, what caught my attention was what was printed on the bottom right hand corner of the envelope:, “Sports Division, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports” Anxiously, I opened the envelope. And there it was – the promised F1 Grandstand ticket. A letter accompanied the ticket:

“In appreciation of your commitment and dedication in making the inaugural Youth Olympic Games a success, we are pleased to offer you a complimentary pass for the 2010 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.”

I read that letter several times and wondered if the YOG organizers really appreciated my commitment and dedication in making the inaugural YOG a success.

Is it possible that the YOG organisers had failed to know the actual dates of the F1 races?

It is publicly known that SingPost operates on a 5-working-day basis (Monday to Friday) excluding the weekends and takes about 2 working days to deliver a letter locally.

Even though MCYS has made a public apology and explained that the tickets were posted in batches via mail from last Tuesday (22 Sept) and the last batch (23 Sept), why are the letters (which came with the tickets) received by my team mates and I stamped with the date, “24 Sept 2010.”?

Is it really possible that the tickets came in late because they were delayed at the post office?

The F1 ticket fiasco is just one of several.

After completing my last day of duty, my team mates and I were told to head back to the YOG headquarters located at 1 Kay Siang Road to collect our certificates of participation and some souvenirs. When we went to the YOG headquarters, we were in for a surprise.

Firstly, instead of printing my team mate’s surname once (i.e 'Low'), it was printed twice (i.e 'Low Low') on the official YOG certificate of participation. Secondly, I was told that my certificate of participation could not be found. Therefore, we were told that we had to return to the headquarters the next week to collect our certificates.

Why were we told that our certificates of participation were ready to be collected when it was not so?

The second incident which caused an uproar affecting 45,000 volunteers was regarding the sample signature printed on the certificates instead of the authentic signatures.

Subsequently, I was interviewed by one of Yahoo’s writer, Ion Danker, regarding the incident. I expressed my feelings saying that I was appalled and felt that the organizing committee should have been more careful.

I am deeply grateful for the incentives which I have received during this international event such as the complementary transport and food.

I have also taken a series of memories from the Youth Olympic Games – meeting new friends and working with the athletes.

The series of unforgettable blunders committed by the YOG committee during and even after the YOG itself has made me remember this event in another light.

The last sentence of the letter from MCYS said,

“We hope you will enjoy the night race this weekend.”

“Yes, I enjoyed the night race this weekend - live, on Channel 5.”

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This letter has also been sent to the YOG committee.