SINGAPORE - In part 2 of this Supper Club interview, veteran sports administrator Ng Ser Miang talks about his hopes of grooming the next generation of Singaporeans to take on positions in international sports bodies, and the views of political leaders towards sports.
Q: Some said that a bid to head a major international sports body like the IOC by someone from a small country like Singapore will always be a pipe dream. What are your thoughts?
We hosted the 2005 IOC session, we won the right to host the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), and earlier this year we hosted the IOC Athletes' Commission. So Singapore is growing in strength, in terms of sporting power internationally.
Yes it's always a dream. We dreamed about the YOG, some said we couldn't win as we were up against Moscow. It's definitely difficult, but not impossible. And if you don't try, then you will never know.
If you try, you can pass the knowledge to the next generation. I'm quite sure someday Singapore would have someone holding very high ranks.
Q: Singapore might be punching above its weight in the international sporting arena in terms of events. Still, when you canvassed for votes, did you find that you had a tougher job convincing the IOC members, as compared to someone from a larger country?
Singapore is a small country but at the same time also well-respected. We now have a reputation and status that we're reliable, efficient, intelligent, capable. Being Singaporean is not a handicap now.
Our fight against corruption has given us a very strong reputation as well. So I don't think that (our size) is such a big disadvantage. But obviously we're still a small country. Our influence worldwide is not big. Those are facts.
Q: What are some useful lessons that you would pass on for Singaporeans involved in international lobbying, and those gunning for international posts?
My advice is always to work hard, learn as much as you can, make as many friends as you can. Because at the end of the day, this is about relationships and friendships, in addition to what you are capable of. And really to invest in time, to know people and build relationships, and understand others.
That's what Singapore needs in every sphere and endeavour.