A Gold Medal of dreams and conviction 

​13 August 2016. The day that will forever be remembered as the day Singapore finally bagged the first Olympics Gold Medal. 

And what a win by Joseph Schooling… this is what everyone here hoped for. That one of our own, with true roots here would score that special first for us. This is something money can’t buy.  

My friend, A pancake princess penned a rather good piece on what the 50.39 secs that captured our attention and imagination meant. I couldn’t have said it better. 

Sporadically throughout the day, I had thought about the significance of Joseph Schooling’s win, and the fact that we as parents sometimes only pay lip service to helping our kid reach for the stars. In reality, our actions pull us in the other direction. When we choose tuition over music and art classes, when we choose to say “I’m too busy” or choose to sleep in rather than go for something that our child badly wants to pursue. Worse, when we decide to sign them up for things that WE want them to be good at because of our unfulfilled dreams. 

I questioned myself, whether we were helping Little Foot blossom into the person that God meant her to be. Maybe it is too early to tell, but surely we must continue to carry that attitude that we will give her time and space to find her footing, while at the same time dare her to dream and have a never say die attitude. 

In teens, I had at one point wanted to chase the sporting dream too, but lacked the talent to complement all the hours in  TKD training (I tried but failed at the Nationals). 

In my teens, I had wanted to continue my love for music, but I shelved that, because I told myself, people from poor families don’t have the luxury of such lofty dreams. 

In his army days, Papa Long was offered a chance to stay on and train as a shooter. He declined the offer,but yet over the years, his eyes would shine and you would see him come alive whenever he talked about going back for reservist, when he told me he got to try new equipment during reservist… and eventually, the sadness when he completed his cycle and reached Military Release status, which meant he couldn’t shoot anymore. (Nowadays, it’s mostly just nerf guns…)

The brakes were jammed by us. Yes, ourselves. Because we didn’t dare to dream, and because no one came and said “it’s not a silly dream. Do chase it!” Because we questioned if our lofty dreams meant that our parents would not finally get to lighten their load. Because we thought, perhaps we were not good enough.  

Surely we are not unique. 

There are dreamers and there are dreamers who make their dreams come true. It take a village to take that dream to the next level. I read with much respect about the faith, love and support that the Schoolings gave to their son. 

And I remind myself, let’s be that kind of parents. Our child will look to us for affirmation, so let’s send the right signals, take on the right attitude. 

I would like to believe that in my life, at least I have tried to inspire my younger siblings to go for their dreams, to let go of their own doubts like I had… to ignore the dissenting views that our parents sometimes could have whenever we so much as sound out if it was ok to take the road less travelled. Today I still try to be that kind of sister, providing an alternative view to the conservative one of my parents (nothing wrong with them really…. that’s just how most baby boomers are). And I want to continue to be that kind of guiding light for my Little Foot.  

To Joseph Schooling, thank you for being that kind of inspiration for many of us, and for generations to come. 50.39 seconds. You gripped our attention and united this little nation. 

The best is yet to be. 

Indeed, you did it like a true ACSian. 


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