August 2009

Yes, that’s always been important, and even more so, with the Youth Olympic Games coming.

It just won’t do to befuddle the young athletes from all over the world with our Singlish: “Ok La!” “Can one!” “She won meh?”

Last Friday, the Speak Good English Movement 2009 was launched at the Campus Green of La Salle SIA College of the Arts.

There were random little fun activities going on, as well as the launch of this year’s “big thing”:

To quote their “about” page, Six Lives is “a drama series played out entirely online through blogs, Twitter and Facebook.” Check it out for some online blogging drama.

Upon arrival, we were given a cocktail glass that contained words printed onto magnetic strips. People at the launch were invited to a little game of Magnetic Poetry. We had to use the words in the glass to come up with our own quote.

Not as easy as it sounds, but still, a fun game.

Along with the martini glass, we were given a shirt each, with a blank speech bubble on it. Three ladies, blessed with impressive penmanship skills, were seated at a table.

All we had to do was to tell them a quote we like, and they’ll have it written on our speech bubbles within minutes. Brilliant!

Turns out, there were many more quotes than the usual, ho-hum “To be or not to be” (Shakespeare).

Check out what quote WhyOhGee editor, Amanda, chose for her very own Speak Good English shirt.

It certainly was a fun event for a fun movement!

Let’s Impress. Inspire. Intoxicate. If you do not know what the words mean, use a dictionary.


I have been told that we are not doing enough to engage the community. So I asked around, what is community engagement. But no one could give me a clear answer.

Is it defined by the number of events organised and people who attended these events?

Is it visibility – getting reported in the media every other day?

Is it, as one newspapers suggested, the level of awareness among a random population sample? How many people know that we are hosting YOG in August next year – hands up.

I thought about the students and youth that our CEP colleagues have been working with – 40,000 when we last counted. Many of them have taken the effort to find out about YOG to create activities like card games, and organise events – 80 events so far – that are centred on the YOG.

Or they have done research about the NOCs that they are twinned with in order to prepare for exchanges with their twinned schools and put up exhibits for the World Culture booth.

I thought about our quarterly Singapore 2010 CAN! and how each main event is preceded by a street rove. Invitations via emails, facebook and twitter would be sent to ask the people take part in the rove. And they showed up on those weekends, learned the moves and went onto the streets to do flash mobs, all in the name of publicising YOG and CAN!

Or when we had the logo launch, how a group of NTU students had designed and built the launch mechanism – a Rube Goldberg machine that activated the countdown sequence to unveil the logo. It had everybody in the audience spellbound.

I thought about Johnny, a one-man mission, who has worked with the university and partners to create YOG-themed curriculum. He provided us the opportunity to meet the students to talk their design concepts. From these sessions, we enlisted four students who now draw comic strips for our fortnightly e-newsletter and give their take on YOG subjects.

I thought about the New Media team of volunteers, who spent their time after school, to take pictures and write about events, providing contents for the WhyOhGee site.

I thought about how Harold, the Head of Media Publicity, has been involving a group of polytechnic students in our events so that they can use YOG as subject for their media studies.

I thought about the throngs of students who made day trips to our YOG Learning Centre to learn about the values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.

I thought about the Teck Whye rappers who performed at the launch of the Million Challenge Deeds Challenge, and how spending two afternoons with us prompted them to write in to say they want to be involved in YOG events again.

And how the taxi academy had initiated a meeting with us to see how they can be part of YOG when the Games take place next year.

YOG is an event where everyone can be part of, where they can contribute, play an active part, make something of their own, where they will be engaged meaningfully and their experience with YOG a special one. To me, that will be community engagement.


These pawprints have been seen all over the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee’s (SYOGOC) office.

They’re the brand new mascots for the Youth Olympic Games!

There are two of them: One a Lion cub, the other a Merlion cub.

They don’t have names yet, and everyone is invited to contribute their suggestions.

For more information on the new babies of the YOG, click here.

Just when you thought that the Olympic Games formula was cast in stone: the same 26 sports, the same grandeur and the same WOW factor…you were wrong!

The International Olympic Committee (IOC)  is constantly seeking new ways to make the Olympic Games relevant to you and me.

Just yesterday, IOC approved several new events to debut in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Brace yourselves as you will see….

Boxing Women!, Claudio Gennari

The current 11 men’s boxing events will be replaced by 10 men’s events and 3 women’s events.

Mixed doubles in Tennis!

Never saw Roger Federer and Serena Williams on the same court before? You might get the chance in 2012 with the inclusion of mixed doubles.

Other than the above events, Wrestling, Swimming, Cycling, Handball, Modern Pentathlon and Canoe Sprints events were also modified for the 2012 Games.

In addition to events, new sports will also be added to the 2016 Games. Let’s wait for the good news as IOC chooses two new sports to join the Olympic family.

Find out more.