On a daily basis, i scoff at the horrendous standard of journalism present in this sad little country of mine and the worst publication possible is MyPaper. I cannot fathom why throngs of people queue to get a copy of this tabloid at the MRT stations every morning.

The front page of the paper today proclaimed "Racial Barrier Broken Before Obama" .
Ladies and Gentlemen, i present to you, the article printed on page A12 by Chia Han Keong.


Forgive us sports fanatics for being a tad non-plussed about last week’s monumental event. You know, the one where the United States elected its first black president. While the political world went ga-ga over Mr Barack Obama’s successful election, many sports fans merely shrugged, and fervently discussed about Formula One’s first black winner Lewis Hamilton, also crowned last week. In truth, the race barrier has already been battered down many times over in sport, since as early as the 1930s. Indeed, we are al most inclined to ask our friends in political circles: “What took you so long?”

In 1936, Jesse Owens shot Adolf Hitler and his theory of Aryan supremacy to smithereens at the Berlin Olympics, by winning four golds in front of the Fuhrer. Two years later, Joe Louis became boxing’s first black champion, ironically becoming the sport’s “Great White Hope” as he beat Germany’s Max Schmeling during those war- torn times. Within a decade, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in Major League Baseball. Within another 10 years, Althea Gibson stepped out of Harlem and into the tennis elite. Muhammad Ali then became a hugely-divisive – and eventually unifying – sports figure in the1960s and 70s, as he raged against the Vietnam War and fought legendary battles against Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the boxing ring. Recent breakthroughs include basketball great Michael Jordan golf’s world No. 1 Tiger Woods and, of course, Hamilton.

It’s not just the blacks. China came from nowhere in the 1980s to dominate badminton and table tennis to such an extent that one would think that the country invented the two games. (It was the Englishmen, not the Chinese.) Football ? Hardly any one bats an eyelid when Brazil’s Ronaldinho weaves his magical dribbles. It may seem flippant to compare sports with politics, but the essence of success is actually the same in these two public fields: If you’ re good enough, you’re good enough. The record speaks for itself. These racial breakthroughs in sport may very well have paved the way for our acceptance of Mr Obama.

So let this be a clarion call to anyone picking up sports in Singapore. An Indian can play table tennis, a Chinese can play cricket, and a Malay can swim for a gold medal. The road to success may not be as easy, but it is never out of bounds. If you’re good enough, you’re good enough.


It's precisely the brand of pointless sensationalization that lesser publications resort to in order to gain readership. To challenge convention simply for the sake doing so without offering any real knowledge or insight. My question is , if it seems flippant to compare sports with politics , then don't do it. Don't subject readers to your inane words and utter lack of analysis.

Fact of matter is, the triumph of minority athletes cannot be compared to Barack Obama's victory on the 4th of November because it is not as simple as just being "good enough". President Elect Barack Obama win is in part, determined by a democratic process and receiving the legitimacy from the US population. It is not a mark of personal victory on the part of Barack Obama, but a signal to the shift in the values of the society and a representation of how far the American society has come in dealing with racism. If we were to believe in the writer's line of analysis and argument, perhaps he should explain why George W. Bush was voted into office for a second term. Ah , i know . George W. Bush was better than Al Gore .

It is also worth noting that the Obama's campaign for office didn't rely on dividing the country along racial lines, but he sought to bridge different parties together, battling political apathy to communicate a message of change and hope.

The writer should perhaps go back further in history to note that success was constantly kept out of bounds to significant groups of people over the years. In fact, we don't need to go too far into history, just look around now. If it was just a matter of being good enough, why is there a racial quota for public housing? Do we not share the same currency ? If success is defined as being able to settle down, get married, why are homosexuals not allowed to do so ?-- see prop 8. Anyone with a decent amount of education can also cite the many glass ceilings present in today's economy. So no . success is not available to all and it is simply not enough to be good.

If the writer cannot see the many examples present around the world, i wonder what he is doing in journalism? Does the profession not serve to inform and educate the general public anymore ?

What is also deeply troubling, is to know that an article of such calibre as allowed to go to print by the editor. The article reflected a lack of sensitivity to the issue of race not just in its words - "blacks" - but in it's entirety and yet, here it is, leaving me seething mad while i read it on my morning train ride to work.
Posted by shangz at 11/10/2008 11:53:00 pm | 4 comments read on