If Joseph Schooling had not won that gold medal during the Rio Olympics, would the same honour have been conferred to Yip?
Team Singapore Paralympians went on a celebratory parade on Saturday.
Triple gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu was met with a line-up of Ferrari and London cabs, as well as supporters who cheered and waved flags.
Minister Grace Fu also took the opportunity to announce on her Facebook page that she had invited the team of Paralympians to attend a Parliament sitting, to honour their extraordinary achievements at the Rio Olympics.
Sounds all fine and well.
But one would have noticed the stark contrast in treatment for Yip in 2008, when she made sports history by becoming the first Singaporean to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. At the 13th games held in Beijing, Yip had clinched the 50-metre backstroke (S3) event in a time of 58.75 s.
Parliament Tribute? Nope.
Victory parade? Water gun salute? Nope and nope.
So an important question for the SG government remains: Why now?
Was this a true celebration of Team Singapore Paralympics’ spirit and achievement, or a mere exercise of consistency by the government?
Singaporeans, let’s be honest with ourselves. If Joseph Schooling had not won that gold medal during the Rio Olympics, would the same honour have been conferred to Yip?
PM Lee Hsieng Loong had announced the House’s plan to move a Parliamentary motion to congratulate Schooling for his achievements on 13 August, the very day Schooling had scored the gold medal.
In contrast, it took more than a week for Minister Grace Fu to say that Parliament would pay tribute to the Paralympic team, after Yip had broken world records and won gold in the 100m backstroke S2 event.
To this, we just have one thing to say:
“We are a nation where every Singaporean has a place, as we saw at the NDP this year, regardless of race or religion, whether you are able-bodied, or we have special needs, we stand together with pride singing, ‘Count on Me, Singapore’ and signing ‘Count on me, Singapore’ because we know we can count on one another as we sing Majulah Singapura.” – PM LeeHsien Loong, National Day Rally 2016
We can definitely count on champions of Singapore like Yip Pin Xiu.
As for the Singapore government, we aren’t so sure.