July 2009


If today was 14 August 2009,  how many days are there to the first Youth Olympic Games? 365!

We are going to mark this date at the Padang (where we won the bid, remember?) with the launch of the Countdown Clock.

All this for a clock?

Course not. There’s going to be a run, carnival, concerts and more. Everyone is invited!!

Mark it down on your calendars and countdown to the One Year Countdown.

Lastly, a secret prize for anyone who can count the number of times the word “Countdown” appears in the post.


Yu Neng Primary School  students report on the Youth Olympic Games and the preparations by the Organising Committee. The sweet young things are honing their reporting skills to become the next presenters of Singapore Television. Cute!

Every other week, Ellen, my e-newsletter editor, would come and show me the comic strips that the NTU ADM students had done for the next issue. It is one of the moments that I really look forward to – to see the drawings, to read the storyline. I am always in awe when the comic strips are finally done and the colours bring them to life. So to Calvin, Tze Qi, Samatha and Yvonne, thank you.

When the team of us started working on YOG, we have said we would not bus students and senior citizens to fill the stadiums. We want people to come to events because they are engaging and interesting and people want to be part of it. We said we would not have young people standing on the stage as mere props. We would not have lucky draws and goodie bags because we didn’t want people to just come grab their bag of freebies only to vanish into thin air the minute the last lucky draw number was picked out of the box.

We want to inspire people especially the young people, build sport culture, improve social standards and change mindset – not by telling people what they should do but by making available a platform and creating the opportunity where we could take action. We want to send the message that the youth is not just the future waiting for their time to come. We are here and now, and we can do something about it.

So it was interesting this week at work that we had a number of issues that reminded me of the very fundamental of why and how we have wanted to organise this Games. Do we keep asking people to contribute ideas and works when we have not quite worked out how we are going to use them? Should we spend money (when we don’t have the budget) to hire a pop star to sing at our event so as to draw the crowd or should we work harder to make the programme more interesting and engaging so that people would want to take part? Should we standby a student on a Saturday afternoon to present a gift to a Guest of Honour just in case he pass by our booth?

It reminds me of a teleconference I had with the consultancy company working for the IOC – I was asked if I would agree that the preferred outcome from all our initiatives would be to have a stronger engagement with a smaller group, as it is assumed that a smaller group would be more passionate and have a higher level of commitment to the YOG cause.

It is the age old question of quality versus quantity. I know that YOG is not just an event by one single organising committee. It is event involving everyone – where we can all take part and help to organise. The difference as well as challenge lies between engaging people and engaging people meaningfully. We want to do the latter because we want to stand by our value of Respect.

Last night, I went through the Asian Youth Games photos that Amanda, Yee Hon and their team of young YOG volunteers had taken and uploaded on Flickr. I don’t know much about photography but the pictures spoke to me. I could almost feel the tension of the competition, joy of the young athletes, and the mood of the moment. They were amazing pictures – taken by people who put their heart and soul to it.

Check out what some students of Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media found when they went on a little YOG adventure of their own:

GROUP MEMBERS: Victoria Lee, Wendy Wong, Yeung Wing, Ryhan Mohd Yazid

The front view of Bishan Sports Hall. This is where the gymnastics will be held during the YOG 2010.

An oblique view of the badminton court, which is inside the Bishan Sports Hall.

Only the bendy are allowed here!

Enjoying ourselves at the Bishan Stadium ☺

To read more of this story, click here.
For more of the students’ little YOG trips and the likes, check out their blog here.

The Asian Youth Games has livened our little city of Singapore.

We saw young people from Kuwait, Bahrain, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Iraq, North Korea, Palestine, Kazakhstan and more. 44 National Olympic Councils in total!

The international mix of athletes  could be seen at Raffles City and the different competition venues. They were dressed in normal teenage gear: jeans, berms, track pants, t-shirts, slippers. You wouldn’t know which country they were from until you asked.

Photo by Jeremy Tan, Iranian football boys watch the televised replay of their winning bronze medal match against China

There was also a high level of potential and talent displayed at the Games.

Photo, Liu Jiao from China attempts the 10m platform (diving) and wins Gold

But was soon time to go and athletes we spotted at Changi Airport was having a hard time parting from friends they made in AYG.

Photo by Kee Ya Ting, Korean shooter says goodbye to the Korean-born student translator that helped them throughout their stay here.

We managed to capture voices of athletes at the Asian Youth Games.

Go to our website, flickr or youtube channel for another recap of AYG.