Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The STTA Comic Opera

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Is this an apt description of the protagonist in the present STTA saga? But on the other hand, by no stretch of imagination can the STTA president Lee Bee Wah be described as an angel. Although she tries to portray herself as above board in the STTA committee's decision to withhold nomination of ex-coach Liu Guo-dong for the Coach of the Year award, she cannot escape the discerning eye of an indignant Singapore public as the villain of the piece. The massive public clamour for her replacement as STTA president is spontaneous and a reflection of a righteous Singapore public to see justice done.

One would have thought a judicious Singapore government would have given at least some heed to the popular public call for justice. Instead you find a comic character in the person of the general secretary of the STTA coming out in defence of his superior, the STTA president. This is indeed a comic opera in which you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Then there was a rather disoriented Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Sports Ministry who seemed to lack conviction in trying to mollify the public anger. He was no doubt taken aback by the vociferous public demand for Lee Bee Wah's replacement and could be seen to be quite hesitant in his appeal. That it could have crossed his mind whether Lee Bee Wah is a suitable person to remain as STTA president is not an impossibility.

There is nothing the Singapore public can do if the authorities do not heed their demand. The die is cast, or is it, but the damage to the confidence of the public is irrevocable. Lee Bee Wah may remain in her post as STTA president but whether she continues to enjoy the confidence of the Singapore public is questionable. As usual, the government is banking on the likelihood that this unpleasant episode will be forgotten by the public with the passage of time.

This is the second time Lee Bee Wah has incurred the public wrath ;over the ex-coach Liu Guo-dong saga. The first time was over her very big tantrum in threatening to terminate Liu's contract upon expiry when Singapore was in the midst of a celebratory mood to honour the Singapore Women Table Tennis Team upon winning the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. It was apparently over an alleged omission by Liu as a coach which Lee had blown out of all proportions. There was very vocal call for her replacement as STTA president but the Sports Minister had managed to save her neck. She has obviously not learnt her lesson and has not desisted from her dishonourable scheme to deprive ex-coach Liu Guo-dong of a deserved honour.

The latest is that ex-coach Liu Guo-dong has arrived in Singapore to confront STTA president Lee Bee Wah for her uncalled-for deleterious remarks on his character. Lee Bee Wah has avoided the press so far and whether she will avoid meeting ex-coach Liu will show up her character. The confrontation, if it takes place, will be interesting.

The STraits Times has rather mysteriously avoided any mention of the latest public uproar for Lee Bee Wah's replacement, although it was given generous airing by Radio and TV.

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