Speech by Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of Sport Singapore at the Opening of the Singapore Youth Olympic Museum and Singapore Sports Museum

09 Oct 2014

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Mr Ng Ser Miang, Executive Committee Member, IOC
Richard Seow, Chairman, Sport Singapore 

Our Partners, Sports Hub Pte Ltd

Distinguished Guests,

Our Sports Pioneers – our heroes, we call them our seniors; and today, we have our seniors’ seniors

1. A very warm welcome this evening to the opening of the Sports Museum here at the Singapore Sports Hub. In 1983, we opened the Sports Museum at the West Entrance of the former National Stadium, to coincide with Singapore’s hosting of the 12th SEA Games. Its objective was to preserve and showcase Singapore's sporting heritage. 

2. Today, we are meeting here to celebrate much more than just opening a museum. I think we are meeting to reconnect with everyone in Sporting Singapore. To make your stories – stories of our pioneers, stories of our heroes – our story, and to learn how we can be pioneers too, for the next generation that follow us.

3. The museums help us to do this. They are living galleries that tell the story of people coming together to create an identity for Singapore that can be respected and recognised. These are stories told through the design and establishment of sporting associations, our sporting facilities, and stories of our athletes displaying grit, determination, motivation in the pursuit of sporting excellence. These stories serve to remind our younger generation about daring to dream and the values and hard work associated with realising those dreams. These are stories that I believe inspire the sporting spirit.

4. I was a water polo player (I believe it is the number one sport in Singapore, and today I have enough of my seniors here to be to say that confidently and to be defended) and I was the beneficiary of the heritage that was passed down from my seniors – Mr Tan Hwee Hock, Mr Tan Eng Bock, Mr Tan Eng Chai, Dr Tan Eng Liang – when I was competing. The stories may not be so elegant sometimes. Sometimes it can be crude, sometimes they are simple. But we remember them in our hearts because it has profound meaning for us in our lives. I remember the times when I was always asked by Mr Tan Eng Bock, “Young man, are you okay?” I think he said that to me when I was already in my thirties. And the message that I took away from that was that your seniors are always your seniors, they are always to be respected and there is always something to share with you because they care for you. He always said to me, “You do this for the love of the game; you do this for the love of Singapore”. And that was what kept me going in competing in the national team for 12 years, when I was ready to stop after six.

5. And then we hear stories about Mr Tan Hwee Hock’s back flip that won the game against Japan for the Asian Games gold medal and we hear that story, we don’t really know what happened, but it gets better each year. And we tell that story, and we cherish that story.

6. These are the simple stories that are reflected in the artefacts that are on display in the museum. Sometimes these artefacts don’t look like very much, they are simple items, sometimes well worn but not well polished but behind the artefact is the story. And that is what this living gallery is about – it is about using things to help us share our stories.

7. And so we want to welcome everyone back here to the Sports Museum, and the Singapore Youth Olympic Museum in the Singapore Sports Museum, time and time again. In most recent times, I had a conversation with Mr Oon Jin Teik from Sports Hub Pte Ltd about how we might encourage that. Because it is in the presence of our sportsmen and sportswomen, that these stories come alive, not just the displays. No one better exemplifies that than Mr C Kunalan. He continues to work with us in Sport Singapore and he is always a source of inspiration. I hope that our sporting pioneers will take his lead and stay in touch with us and visit us often.

8. The opening of the Singapore Sports Museum today is a homecoming, it is a time for us to reconnect, and I believe this is a living museum which we will continue to co-create and build together for future generations. Thank you for joining us this evening and I wish you a pleasant evening ahead.

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