By Kannan Raj
If the Singapore Sports Hub’s response to a recent letter writer to TODAY is anything to go by, then it is obviously in need of a harsh reality check.
In a letter to the TODAY newspaper published on 1 March, Mr Tom Chan Whye Shiung suggested how he had wished that the recent Guns N’Roses concert could have been held at the National Stadium instead of the Changi Exhibition Centre.
“It is a pity that our new National Stadium, the supposed pride and joy of our nation, has become a white elephant in a short time,” he said.
“All stakeholders would do well to work together to look into the high cost of leasing it for events, so that in future, more such performances can be held at the stadium, which is easily accessible to the general public,” he added and ended off by saying that “to date, I have not set foot in our National Stadium.”
However, in its response to TODAY, Mr Chin Sau Ho, the Sports Hub’s senior director of Communications and Stakeholder Management stated that the Sports Hub “held over 180 events at the Hub.”
He obviously misses the point of Mr Tom Chan’s letter which refers to the National Stadium, and not the entire Singapore Sports Hub.
This is precisely the same issue which has the National Stadium suite owners up in arms.
So instead of stating that the Singapore Sports Hub has hosted more 180 events at the Hub, can Mr Chin Sau Ho and the Singapore Sports Hub provide the public the number of events which were held at the National Stadium in 2016 and the expected number of events at the National Stadium for 2017?
Just in case the management of the Singapore Sports Hub is not aware or have chosen to forget, when the current consortium was announced as the preferred bidder in 2008, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, then-Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said that the consortium’s “strategy is supported by a comprehensive sporting calendar that guarantees at least 90 event days at the National Stadium and 46 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It consists of a well-balanced mix of local, regional and international sporting events and activities targeted at various different target segments.”
Full text of Dr Vivian’s speech and announcement can be found here.
Also, the public’s expectation of events at the National Stadium is not events like the Community Play Day.
The public’s expectation is that of having mega-concerts like Guns N’Roses, and to have major football teams grace its grounds. The Sports Hub should stop playing on semantics and should get down to understanding what exactly is the public’s expectation of events at the National Stadium.
The public will not waste its time to step foot into the stadium for a Community Play Day.
The management of the Singapore Sports Hub should reveal its calendar of events for the National Stadium for the upcoming year so that all it can put arguments set aside br Mr Tom Chan to rest.
If it cannot, then it is quite clear that its response was nothing but mere fluff, and that it needs a reality check.