#261 singapore idol 2009

The Singapore Idol gives the wanabes the experience of a journey and gain insights to what it means to becoming a celebrity star. Many celebrity stars in the US actually have to work very hard to get to where they are.

The late Michael Jackson is an example in point. He would perfect his art and one can actually feel his passion in that he did and his hard work evident from his live performances.

This year’s Singapore Idol saw a crop of some most talented wannabees. Thus far, the media have not produced good standard celebrities.

Singapore Idol is not about having talent but there must be likeable or connectedness factor with the audience. This was evident in the 22-year-old winner, Sezairi Sezali, awaiting national service who actually put the judges’ critique into his final performance. He was a better performer overall and he has that connectedness with the audience which I thought Sylvia lacked though vocally, she was better.

Ken Lim, one of the three judges (Florence Lian and Dick Lee), remarked to Sylvia Ratonel (whose father is a Filipino and a hotel secretary) that she is a winner but did not say she would be the Singapore Idol at the final!

If the finalists were Tabitha and Sylvia, I believe Tabitha might have won, simply she is a more candid performer. This, we shall never know.

What I didn’t understand or appreciate why the media decided to hype Sylvia’s background. Glad that didn’t garner sympathetic votes though.

This season is not a battle of the sexes either.

It is about what it means to be a celebrity. Celebrity stars are not just about talent but that X-factor which is not describable or one can actually fake or work hard at. It is either you’ve got it or not!

It is interesting that for the 3 seasons of Singapore Idol, the winners — Taufik Batisah (2004), Hady Mirza (2006) and Sezairi Sezali (2009) — are Malays. Evidently the winners had the support of their community which is a good reflection. More importantly, the winners are candid performers!

What I had observed in this season of Singapore Idol is our NEXT generation of population has broken the Singapore image of being traditional and stiff to one of being less inhibited and less self-conscious. The screams in the audience were quite pleasing to the ear! 

So I look forward to greater competition in the next round of the Singapore Idol.

#260 s.e.a. games

Congratulations to the Singaporean contingent to the 25th SEA Games held in Vientiane for 10 days — December 9-19, 2009. Singapore won most of her medals from the aquatic sports.  

James Wong, the 40-year-old veteran, won gold for the discus event, which is his 8th gold medal for the nation. Will he be honored the best sportsman of the year?

The next SEA Games will be held in Indonesia in 2011. Will a younger discus thrower represent Singapore? Will there be more born-and-bred Singaporeans take up the challenge to future games and sport events in the regional or international scenes?

#259 true champion athlete

After watching the interview of Marion Jones-Thompson on the Oprah Show here in Singapore today, I was moved to tears as Marion stood out a true athlete and a champion.

Yes, she went to prison on March 2008 for six months for lying to Federal agents about UNKNOWINGLY taking performance-enhancement drugs during the Olympic Games in Sydney and she had apologised publicly to the world but in my heart Marion Jones will remain the fastest woman athlete. Sadly she will not return to running again.

She looks as beaming and beautiful today. Throughout the interview she fielded Oprah’s questions rather matter of factly with occasional tears and I could not, for a moment sense slight of bitterness.

From Oprah Show

Marion says was allowed to bring only a tiny number of personal possessions to jail with her—a Bible, a few photos, and a list of important addresses and phone numbers. Marion says she spent much of her six-month sentence writing to friends and family. “I learned that the only real way that I could communicate how I was feeling, how I was doing, with my family—in particular my husband—was to write long letters every day,” she says. “About important stuff, mundane stuff, my feelings on how I feel about the boys, where I’m at, who I’m meeting, the incredible stories that these women are sharing with me.”

Since her release, Marion says she has a newfound love for her freedom. “I appreciate so much more now the little things—going to the supermarket, being able to buy whatever I want,” she says. “There are days where I drive to pick up my son, and I just thank God that he’s given me the gift to do that. There are so many days when I was in prison when I had wished I could have … just held my kids or picked up the phone and called my best friend.”

While she was disappointed to be sent away, Marion says she believes her sentence was fair. “I believe in the legal system, Oprah, and I didn’t want to go,” she says. “Sure, I can compare my story to recent stories about other athletes or other people who were involved in certain situations and didn’t get much time. It would be easy to do that. It would be easy to point the finger and say, ‘It’s the judge.’ Or it’s that. But you know what? It’s me. I made the bad choice to put my future and my freedom in somebody else’s hands to make that choice for me. I did that. And because of that, I have to live with it.”

Marion says her experience has taught her to question other people’s motives. It has also forced her to realize she can no longer hide behind athletic prowess. “In the past, it was ‘Marion Jones, the athlete.’ And Marion Jones, the person, a lot of times, got to hide behind that. And while I was in prison, I learned that I used the athlete part of it all as a cover for a lot of my weaknesses. I think a lot of the choices that I made in the past were because of those weaknesses,” she says. “Now, of course, I don’t have that cover anymore and I have really had to find out who I am.”

With her life of athletic competition and very public legal ordeals behind her, Marion says she is eager for the future. “I am energized by this next chapter. I think really it’s going to be bigger and better than that last,” she says. “My goal now is to find out how to connect with people on a much bigger level. How can I help young people make certain choices and not make certain bad choices like I did? … What am I going to do with this negative experience and turn it into a positive?”

#258 keeping a soldier in Afghanistan

Staggering! The US administration spends a million dollars a year to keep one soldier in Afghanistan! How true is this?

Can the Afghans appreciate such sacrifice of a life and resources spent?

Is this what it means to police and maintain peace in the world?

#257 transparency?

The US President Obama announced his strategy is to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan in July of year 2011. This might assure and boost their morale but…

Hmmm…how would the enemies receive this news?