The following is a Facebook post by We want Minister Grace Fu to resign:
Yesterday night (10 Jan), Grace Fu posted a message on her Facebook page congratulating the Team Singapore skaters.
“The team clinched the largest ever haul of 45 medals at the MapleZ Southeast Asian Short Track Trophy over the weekend, and was ahead of countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand,” she proudly proclaimed.
“Wishing all our skaters the very best for their upcoming competitions. Let’s cheer them on as One Team Singapore!”
Ms Fu seems to be quick to talk about winning medals when our skaters have done well but where was she when they needed her support some 3 years ago?
In Aug 2013, a group of parents and students led by a mother, Irene Choo, launched a petition to ask the Singapore Sports Council to restore adequate training opportunities for the skaters.
In particular, they were appalled by the high charges they have to pay to the Rink at JCube, which was built with public fund. In fact, the entry fees for the figure skaters was over 8 times the fees paid by public members.
“I’m a desperate mom of an aspiring figure skater in Singapore. Our dream of owning an Olympic size ice skating rink finally came true last April. But ironically, only few figure skaters can afford to train in our community rink even though the rink was built under community/sports and a non-profit model,” Irene pleaded.
“While walk-in customers pay SG$14 for two hours of skating, figure skaters must pay $118 (8 times higher than public skaters) and they can only skate at graveyard hours, when no public wants to skate. For safety reasons, NO private lessons are provided, and NO spinning and jumping are allowed during regular opening hours.”
“Our Sports Council claimed such practices are modeled after other ice rinks around the world, especially those in Australia, UK and Canada. Therefore, I hope the international ice skating community can help us verify their claim and provide us a clearer picture how rinks in the world balance between diverse ice skating needs, while still ensuring fair profit for sustainability,” she added.
The petition was then started to call upon the authorities to provide a fair share of training opportunities and to ensure paths of progress remain open to all skaters:
Irene further added, “We are not confident how the petition would help. Please provide us your valuable opinion and advise how we can compel the various stakeholders to support every aspects of ice skating, from providing adequate training sessions to grow sports participation in Singapore; and to provide Singaporean competitive skaters with equal opportunities to challenge themselves against their peers from Asia as well as the rest of the world.”
“Should our local authorities persistently turn a deaf ear to our woes and refuse to correct the situation, what recourse do we have or which international governing bodies can we approach to seek help for our deserving young skaters to access fair and equal training opportunities in our home rink?”
“Please help us compel our authorities to recognise the inadequate training crisis, and seek creative measures to create access, opportunities and capabilities for Individuals to live better through sports & help nurture aspiring young talents towards greater excellence.”
Clearly, the situation was desperate for the parents of our young aspiring skaters who want to be an Olympic champion one day. Through social media, the authorities were eventually forced to rectify the issues.
So, does Ms Fu know about all these problems faced by our young aspiring skaters and their parents when she was standing next to them to have her picture taken?