by Tan Tee Seng
Soh Rui Yong has been excluded from the coming Asian Games by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC). This news has been obscured by Tharman’s announcement of his candidacy for the upcoming Presidential Election.
But reading about how the SNOC dealt with Soh is all so familiar and disappointing. This is yet another instance of a sickness that pervades Singapore society, one that infects our institutions of authority and power.
In the view of SNOC, Soh “continued to make disparaging and derisive remarks [in the] public domain” and did not conform to their “constructive, mature and professional standard”. Tan Chuan-Jin (Speaker of Parliament) is the President of SNOC.
What did he say that warranted this action? You can find them here:https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2023/06/11/soh-rui-yong-excluded-from-asian-games-due-to-social-media-comments-regarding-past-controversies-and-snocs-president-tan-chuan-jin/
Our taxpayers’ money is used to pay these people. Millions of dollars are paid to these administrators to manage and boss around our athletes, only to give us this kind of childish bullshit.
This is utterly disappointing and petty. Now, Soh Rui Yong is not running for President. He is running to hold on to his four national records. He is the undisputed king of long-distance running in Singapore and one of the top athletes in Asia. His performance and sportsmanship in the recent SEA Games is celebrated beyond this tiny island.
But too bad, he can’t compete because there are little emperors in the SNOC who did not like what Soh posted on social media.
I attribute this kind of self-entitled power trip to elitism. Elitism is a distrust of people considered to be beneath the elite.
It fuels a righteousness that “justifies” their opinions. It allows them to dismiss responsibility for their actions in the name of their superior intelligence or whatever it is. That is why their opinions matter and why the rest of us should just accept what they say.
Time and again, we see over-extensions and abuses of power by little emperors who are so myopic and self-indulgent. The worst part is that there is no accountability nor transparency in their decision-making. For the people in power, ownself check ownself is becoming a norm. The principles of democratic checks and balances are derided and dismissed as popularism.
A first-world country needs a functioning democracy to thrive and progress. There must be a balance of power. People in power must be accountable for their actions and decisions to the people they SERVE.
Recent incidents like the Parti Liyani case, Keppel corruption case, and the SLA Ridout saga show that our elitist meritocracy which produces these little emperors who are not only full of self- entitlement but are also very divisive and disruptive to our pursuit of a democratic society based on justice and equality. They can abuse their power to the detriment of society. It is an illness in our society to not be able to properly keep misuse of power in check.
Cancerous cells exploit the resources of the body, and ultimately disrupt the proper functioning of the body itself. A healthy immune system regulates the self, and it kills cancerous cells before it becomes cancer.
Singapore suffers from an auto-immune disease because we can’t seem to stop cancer cells from abusing the resources of our body. And just like Soh, we as a society are stunted in our ability to develop to our fullest potential if we allow this illness to fester.
Remember that we still have the ballot every five years. Time to get rid of these cancerous cells.