I’ve been trying to be less cynical. Sometimes it feels like I’m spending my days constantly upset about something or other, and getting distracted from the good stuff. And so I’ve been trying to rectify that.
I don’t want to be suddenly “happy-go-lucky” overnight, because the problems I’ve seen are still problems and they’re still there and they still need to be talked about, but I’ve been trying to remember to balance it out with the good things.
Which is why I’ve been trying to find good stuff about the Youth Olympic Games to balance all these less-than-happy thoughts I have about it. And the good stuff, ultimately, would be the stuff about the people this whole thing was conceived, created and designed for: the youth. Specifically, the young athletes who are going out there and giving it all they’ve got for themselves, their families and their countries.
While many articles are going up on TheOnlineCitizen highlighting many issues that the people need to discuss and take note of – and which the mainstream media would never in a million years publish – I try to remind people of the youth athletes by posting updates about the Singaporean athletes who are winning medals on TOC’s Facebook page. However, while doing this, I have realised that it is actually not that easy to find coverage of these youth athletes who have done so well for our nation (and completely homegrown too!).
Which raises the question: why is that? If the Youth Olympic Games are really about the young athletes, why is there not more coverage about them?
The sort of coverage I’ve come across seem to be highly polarised: there’s the local mainstream media singing Singapore’s praises and talking constantly about “history in the making” as if we’d witnessed the Second Coming at the opening ceremony. And then there’s everyone else with their comments ranging from the concerned to the frustrated to the apathetic to the downright bitchy.
But not many people are actually talking about the ATHLETES at all. And the athletes’ voices are, sadly, missing.
What are their names? What do they do? Where have they come from? What is their experience thus far? Who are the friends they have made? What have they learned? How has YOG changed their lives?
They must be having such an extraordinary time, and undergoing such extraordinary pressure to do well. For many – if not all – of them, this must be the biggest event of their lives so far. They must have so many stories to tell!
These are the things that would be good for people to know about. These are the things that would help turn the tide and get even the most anti-YOG person to go, “Okay, maybe this is kind of good after all.” This is what we need to hear about, and it would be great if we could hear about it as much from their own mouths as possible (of course, I understand that they are probably all busy training and preparing themselves).
A YOG committee member or a minister going, “This is great, the youth will/are loving it” is nowhere near as convincing as giving the youths themselves the voice to tell their stories.
If we want this to be about the youth, then we can’t all go talking over them as if they don’t have their own say. It’s what already happens to them so often all the time, and hopefully a youth-centric event like the YOG could change that.