July 04, 2018
Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education, at the ASEAN Schools Games Send-Off Ceremony 2018
1. I am delighted to join all of you here today, as you prepare to set off as representatives of the Singapore Schools contingent for the 10th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG), which will be hosted by our close neighbor, Malaysia, this year.
ASEAN School Sports Council
2. Each year, the 10 member countries
which form the ASEAN Schools Sports Council (ASSC) take turns to host the Games, and the hosting country would put in tremendous effort to organize the multi-sport event. This year, Malaysia will be hosting more than 1000 student athletes from all 10 participating countries, along with half as many officials and delegates.
3. The theme envisaged by Malaysia for this year’s ASG is, “Unity Through Sports”. Indeed, sports has the amazing quality to bring people together, to pull people closer – no matter your race, background, or nationality.
Unity Through Sports
4. I understand that our Basketball team this year is one good example how one sport can unify a kaleidoscope of people. Both the boys and girls teams going up to Malaysia comprise students of various racial mix and heritage, playing in the same team. The two teams have point-guards of Malay descent, forwards of Indian, African and Filipino descents, various Chinese players, and even a centre who is Korean! All unified by their love for basketball and the common goal of doing well at the 10th ASG. Regardless of the results, the power of sports to unify has already triumphed.
Character and Ambassadorship
5. On the playing field, this is an opportunity to strengthen the Singapore spirit, and contribute to our success together, no matter race or heritage. Each of you have spent many hours of preparation and training to be one of the best in your game, so do your utmost for our team. Be resilient. Be the best you can be. And do it with graciousness and impeccable behavior. Continue to be advocates of sportsmanship and character as our past athletes have done at the Games. Be worthy ambassadors of the Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) and of Singapore!
Friendship at the ASG
6. Out of the playing field, extend the bonds of friendship with your teammates to fellow athletes and ASEAN friends. The ASG is a great opportunity for you to get to know other young people from our ASEAN neighbours, and to forge deep, enduring friendships beyond your own sports. Always be humble to learn from the rich heritage, cultures and strengths of our ASEAN neighbours, as you share our own unique multi-racial, multi-religion and multi-national culture with them.
The ASG Experience
7. For some of you here today, the ASG is a gentle introduction to high level regional and international competitions. The multi-sport format that you will experience at the ASG is one that is similar to the South East Asian (SEA) Games and the Olympics. You all know of course about Joseph Schooling winning Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal. You will be proud to know that Joseph also competed in the 3rd ASEAN Schools Games in Singapore in 2011, when he was 16. And so have many of our national athletes, who have walked the path of our local National School Games, before proceeding to the ASG, and then to other international competition. The ASG will be a worthwhile experience, be it for your development as an athlete, for the friendships among ASEAN schools athletes, or for your own learning as a person.
Sports Physician Team
8. I am heartened to know that that the Singapore Schools contingent has been supported by a dedicated team of sports physicians and physiotherapists since 2014. Dr. Teoh Chin Sim and her team from the Sports Medicine Centre of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital have assisted our student athletes at the ASG every year for the past 5 years, with the National Youth Sports Institute joining in to lend their support over the last 3 years. Ultimately, as responsible athletes, you have to take care of yourselves, and work with the medical team, your coaches and officials, so that you can go further in all aspects – in sports, in health and fitness.
9. With a strong team of 69 contingent officials that includes the secretariat team, team managers, coaches, game officials, sports physician team and the media team supporting you, take heart, and focus on striving to the best of your ability.
Acknowledgment and Conclusion
10. Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge three important groups of people:
- Firstly, parents, for supporting your child’s holistic development, especially in representing the Singapore Schools Sports Team at the ASG.
- Secondly, chef-de-Mission – Ms Pauline Fun, Deputy Chefs-de-Mission – Mdm Jenny Tan and Mr Wee Tat Chuen, and the Secretariat Team for your immense effort in coordinating everything and looking into the needs for the Singapore Schools contingent.
- Thirdly, the team officials, for your support and sacrifice, to make this ASG an enriching one for our youth athletes.
11. To all the 190 athletes of the Singapore Schools Sports Team, I wish you all a memorable and enriching experience at the 10th ASEAN Schools Games! Do us proud and enjoy yourselves.
12. Thank you very much!