Bravo Straits Times. The Straits Times has at last awakened from its slumber and is now able to see, unblinkered, the injustice that the eminent ex-coach Liu Guodong received at the hands of STTA, especially its egregious president Lee Bee Wah. Its incisive editorial in the Sunday Times of 24-5-09, although taken a little longer in coming, is nevertheless a welcoming event joining the thundering chorus in chastising the injustice perpetrators. Let's hope this is not a flash in the pan and the Straits Times will continue to lend its strength to an honourable cause.
What seems to be mind-boggling is the non-chalant attitude of the government in this saga. With all its feed-back potentials, it cannot be oblivious to the massive groundswell of public opinion against the injustice to ex-coach Liu Guodong and for removing Ms Lee Bee Wah as STTA president. There is even an internet online campaign to collect signatures for her resignation. Her suitability as Member of Parliament is also in question. The Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister cannot be seen to be adopting a couldn't care less attitude in all this. Singaporeans have shown that they can transcend national pride in their pursuit of justice for a Chinese national ex-coach with such forcefulness and yet the Minister seems to fail to match this public enthusiasm. Needless to say there is widespread indignation in China over the shabby treatment of ex-coach Liu.
Can the Sports Minister be so enamoured of the STTA president Lee Bee Wah that he appears to be blind to her pernicious antics? Or could there be another reason? One may describe them as rumours but they have wide circulation that Ms Lee Bee Wah considers herself a favourite of PM Lee Hsien Loong in his Ang Mo Kio GRC and it is not surprising if the Sports Minister regards her with awesome respect. If this is true, then the matter of her removal is out of the question.
What honour has Ms Lee Bee Wah brought to Singapore's reputation? She is not unknown to have thrown tantrums when Singapore was celebrating its Olympic silver medal victory exposing her immaturity and impetuousity. She displayed reckless tendencies in describing, without substantiation, ex-coach Liu Guodong as without integrity and professionalism in explaining why Liu was not nominated for the Coach of the Year award. Liu was in Singapore to seek clarification from her for what appears to be her libellous remarks. In two meetings between ex-coach Liu and STTA representatives , Ms Lee Bee Wah showed her true colour by staying away from the meetings. Is not her "no show" at the meetings a gross insult and lack of etiquette in the eyes of the world and would it do any good to the reputation of Singapore? She is hubristic, in which case she should not be STTA president, or she could have been scared stiff to face ex-coach Liu because of her untenable position. Singapore's reputation will be put to another test if ex-coach Liu decides to sue Ms Lee Bee Wah for libel and who will foot Ms Lee's llegal bill? Not the Singapore taxpayers, if it can be helped.
If the Sports Minister finds himself in a spot having to decide removing Ms Lee Bee Wah from the STTA presidency, why not let the public decide in the form of a referendum. This will be democracy at its best and will stand the government in good stead.
Two top-ranking officials of STTA have found themselves coming to grief with the STTA authorities. They are expected to leave the association shortly but apparently not because of any mishandling of the ex-coach Liu Guodong's case.