All over the world tonight, people are cheering on their respective national teams. The Slovenians, the Georgians, the English, the Danes, just to name a few. As a citizen of a country with a lowly rank of 127 on the FIFA World Ranking table, I should probably feel a little bit sorry, a little bit jealous, possibly a little bit angry over the fact that my country has barely moved up the rankings at all over the years. I know a few people who feel that sort of resentment, who feel that they are the unluckiest citizens in the world.
Here in Singapore, we take things in our stride. Our nation can’t make the World Cup? No worries, we’ll pull on the jersey of another country and sing their praises. That’s the way it is and has always been in sunny Singapura; you can’t beat them, join them.
What is Singapore all about? Go online and look for a video of Liverpool FC against Singapore on 26th July 2009. 55,000 Singaporeans cramped into a stadium watching their country go up against one of the English giants and with all the enthusiasm and passion they can muster, they raise their voices and break into choruses of…. “You’ll never walk alone…..”
I’m not complaining. After all, I myself have been an Arsenal fan for years and if Arsenal were to come to Singapore to take on the national team, i’d probably be the first to pull on an Arsenal jersey. My point is, even though we’re halfway round the world, our passion cannot be doubted. While we may not have grown up in the area, while we may not speak with an accent, while we may not have ever gone to any home games, we remain as passionate as anyone can be.
If you ever get the chance, come to Singapore. Walk around Clarke Quay at about 2030 on a Saturday and listen to the noise generated by people watching BPL games and i promise you, you’ll feel right at home.