Minister Lawrence Wong asks corporate Singapore to show support for SEA Games

BACKING: Minister Lawrence Wong (centre, during a SEA Games promotion event on Orchard Road), hopes Singaporeans will flock to the venues in droves.

Ticket sales are healthy, volunteers are chomping at the bit to get started, even the prime shopping district, Orchard Road, has been kissed by South-east Asia (SEA) Games magic.

Now, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, wants Singapore to go all out when the biennial Games comes to town in June.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, he called for corporate Singapore to support the Games, but this time, not through the usual mode of financial backing.

"I also want to call on employers, be it in the public or private sectors; employers, please grant your staff time-off to attend the Games, so that you can show your support too," he said, during yesterday's debate on his ministry's budget.

Team Singapore will be represented by what is expected to be their largest-ever contingents for the SEA Games (June 5 to 16) and the ASEAN Para Games (Dec 3 to 9), and organisers have priced tickets as low as $5, with a discount available for group purchases.

Also, friends and families of athletes "have been able to purchase discounted tickets through their respective National Sports Associations".

The SEA Games is coming to Singapore in the year of its 50th anniversary of independence, and Wong has time and again labelled it a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" of celebration.

Wong's rallying call has already been answered by one company, Deloitte Singapore.

And the company that provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services has matched Wong's enthusiasm for the Games.

"Deloitte will be proud to send our staff to the events as supporters because we believe that with our support, the athletes will be spurred to do their best for their team and nation," said Deloitte Singapore chief executive Philip Yuen.


And that's just the tip of the iceberg of Deloitte's commitment to the local sporting fraternity.

It is not just the official professional services partner for the Games.

As part of the SpexBusiness network, Deloitte has been working within its organisation, with several athletes poised to fly the Singapore flag at the Games in at least six sports, including shuttler Derek Wong and netball captain Micky Lin.

Add to that some 200 volunteers from among the firm's staff, and Deloitte's resolute support becomes apparent.

"Deloitte has helped our employees purchase tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies, and will be bulk-buying tickets for various events such as netball, badminton and other sports that our Deloitte Team Singapore athletes will be competing in," said Yuen.

"I believe that many of our employees will be cheering on our Team Singapore athletes and those of our SEA neighbours from the stands."

Even as Singaporeans gear up for the Games, one sport continues to stir emotions.

In response to questions from Aljunied GRC MP, Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, Wong revealed that a long-term plan for football is being drawn up.

"There is a taskforce looking at setting up the goals and strategic directions for Singapore football in the coming years," said Wong.

"They are hard at work, and I would say that their initial thinking is very much in line with some of the suggestions raised by the members, which is to focus on youth development."

Launched in 2010, the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) six-year strategic plan was aimed at hitting specified targets by this year, including being ranked among the top 10 football nations in Asia.

Singapore are currently 28th.

"They would be sharing the taskforce recommendations very soon in the coming months," added Wong.

Please grant your staff time-off to attend the Games, so that you can show your support too. - Lawrence Wong to employers

This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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