How A Soccer Game Changed The Way I See Singaporeans

Until yesterday i would have told you that describing the Singapore’s local peoples ecstasy and loudness in regards to public events like concerts or sports events with “Considerable Encouragment“, would be an easy overestimation.

Several performances, including Linkin Park at the Indoor Stadium or Formula 1 in the whole city left an deep, not positive, imprint on my personal evaluation level for enthusiasm in this city.
It certainly exists. But sharp tongues would say it only shows off when there are free tissue packs given out or 1$ ice cream vouchers, besides that it would mostly stay underground.

Narrowing this statement down to soccer, I have many friends who actually believe that the overall atmosphere and vibe in front of the your TVs at home or your pub of choice are easily outperforming the live atmosphere right at one of Singapore’s stadiums when it comes to one of the national soccer games.

And because i believed them i stayed home. Yesterday, after two years of couch surfing soccer games, i finally visited the Singapore Stadium for this years Suzuki Cup Semifinal, Singapore vs Vietnam. And it was a good decision.

It has changed my perception for what to except when certain support is needed in Singapore. At least for soccer.

Of Course Is A Comparison Still Not Possible

Coming from a soccer enthusiastic country like Germany, the weekly league games or occasional national team games are the “main event” for a whole countries population. Soccer is a culture and you live up for your culture. You live soccer.

Its not uncommon that cities are build around, high tech palaces, 60.000 – 80.000 people carrying stadiums, with the whole infrastructure targeted to delivering the supporters steadily and without hurdles to the mekkas of soccer.

Prices of tickets can easily reach 500 Euros and the day of the games are usually mayhem with thousands of police men trying to keep the order during the heated atmosphere.

An Empty Stadium?

When we arrived at the stadium yesterday, I found a different picture. It came in form of a parking slot ten meters away from the main entrance and upon leaving the car, realizing that besides us, there was literally “no one” around.
It was still one hour left to the games kick off, still early, but this total non existence of anyone even wearing a read shirt (the usual supporter wear for Singapore’s Team) did not only leave me in doubt but also my local friends, suggesting that something might be wrong.

And it was. The wrong stadium. I had to smile when trying to imagine how to arrive at the wrong stadium in one of the European soccer weekends. Not possible. Point.

So we hurried back to the car and quickly (and again this is only possible in Singapore) drove to the correct stadium.

Crowded Singapore StadiumPhoto by Yienshawn92

Let The Game Begin

Our tickets were a mere ten dollar and even though we only arrived 15 minutes before the kickoff, we found a parking slot five minutes walk away from the stadium. Possibility in Europe? Zero. But actually a very nice thing to have.

Without being checked in great detail we walked through the security gates, climbed up some blank concrete stairs and arrived right in the middle of the stadiums grandstand.

Todays press said there were around 49.000 supporters, and even though I doubt that quite high number (as a suggestion to the officials, i would at least try to match up the “official” numbers in advance, since the number announced in the stadium was 55.000 which doesn’t really match), i was surprised about the size of the stadium and the many people gathering there together. This time it was red where ever you looked. People waving flags and banners, shouting and excited for the game to start. I wasn’t really sure if i was in Singapore any more.

Refferee Kayuuu

The games quality was of a standard i expected it to be. But still entertaining. What was really surprising, were the people around me. Shouting on disliked referee decisions, sheering upon good attacks or defense actions and even letting “the wave” go around the stadium. I honestly had not seen and heard so many people screaming, “oohing” and “ahhing” anywhere in Singapore before. And without any intention of offending anyone, it was a delight to see people finally showing off some attitude.

It confirmed to me that people here actually are able to show enthusiasm and support, even if its “just” a soccer game and the prize is not a PSP but the national pride.

Soon I found myself pretty much enjoying the game and shouting “Referee Kayuuuuuu” whenever Singapore’s team caught a wrong decision.

Take It Home, Keep It And Bring It Out Again

As a conclusion I wished people would carry their enthusiasm and forthrightness straight from the Singapore stadium to the other public places, the music performances, and all the other events were support of the people who show some talent, engagement or show is so much needed.
I am very sure the general feeling many have of the “Considerable Encouragment” and numbers of foreigners walking out of rock concerts with shaking heads, after being asked to sit down again or not to sing the lyrics too loud, would slowly disappear or at least go down to a very low level.

Common Singapore. The Lions Shouldn’t Fear Anyone!

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