When word filtered through that Myanmar added Chinlone – a form of traditional ball game from Myanmar – into the repertoire of sports in this year’s SEA games, no eyebrows were raised.
In fact, the only eyebrows raised were from Myanmar. How did the Singapore Sepak Takraw team manage to score a bronze in our sport? Amazing.
I digress. This act of including obscure sports that the host nation is strong in isn’t a one-off. In 2011, Indonesia introduced Bridge (yes, that card game and they won four golds) and 2005 saw the inclusion of Arnis, a form of traditional martial arts from the Philippines (they won three golds).
So herein begs the question: What are the uniquely Singaporean sports that the Singapore Sports Council can add to the initial list of 30 sports in the 2015 SEA Games? These unique sports must guarantee the nation truckloads of gold medals.
Given our will to be number one and the small matter of being host country with the newest, swankiest stadium, here are five sports that will propel Singapore to sporting immortality.
1. Queuing for one day
If there’s a line, we will queue it to death.
Singaporeans have been practising the dark art of queuing for decades. Be it famous hawker food, the latest launch of another housing project or the priciest K-Pop concert, the length of the queue has never dissuaded any self-respecting Singaporean.
The sport of queuing might even be the crown jewel of endurance sports, given its popularity and prestige. At the very least, the duration will be longer than the average cricket game.
Medal hopes: 5/5
Star athletes: Survivors of Hello Kitty and Despicable Me queues.
2. Eating the national dishes of all SEA games nations in 30 minutes
To not love stuffing your face silly in Singapore is in effect to be a misfit. That’s right. Singaporeans love food and the different varieties that come with it. Our love for nosh (posh or otherwise) stems from the respect for food and the culture behind it. And that respect extends beyond just local cuisine. Vietnamese, Thai, French, Indian, Italian, Korean and even Nepalese food can be found at a neighbourhood near you. Our Southeast Asia brothers can include pho, phad thai and ayam penyet in the competition menu and it still makes no difference to us. We have the appetite to rule them all.
Medal hopes: 5/5
Star athletes: Hungrygowhere members and food bloggers.
3. Texting with eyes closed on both iPhone and Android phones
For a nation so dependent on gadgets, the inclusion of this sport comes as a no brainer. Here’s a factoid: So wired and weird are Singaporeans that we communicate through text messages even when we sit side by side. What else is there better to do than texting when our vocal cords have become too precious to be utilised? However, victory isn’t guaranteed. Though many Singaporeans possess excellent speed of thought and fast fingers, the over reliance on Singlish and typing in abbreviations could dent our medal hopes.
Medal hopes: 3/5
Star athletes: Preferably teens. Their dexterity with smartphones cannot be ignored.
4. Complaining non-stop for 30 minutes
When there’s no phone signal for us to text, when flights are delayed or when our favourite nasi lemak stall closes for no apparent reason, the natural thing for Singaporeans to do is to voice our displeasure. The ferocity of our complaints can come across as insensitive but make no mistake - the right to complain incessantly is our main source of happiness. It is that single-mindedness that makes us world-class athletes in the arena of complaining.
Medal hopes: 5/5
Star athletes: Anyone with a Singaporean core.
5. Take photos of athletes without them noticing
What do you call a person with a smartphone, tablet or DSLR? Photographers, no kidding. Indeed, taking photos is etched into every Singaporean’s psyche. From young adults not giving up seats on the train to female bombshells in cosplay showing off their underboobs, there are no subjects too controversial or difficult for us. After all, we live in a NPNT society.
Medal hopes: 4/5
Top photo from Team Singapore FB.