The Dark side of YOG – A Study in latest Singaporean Past time, Schadenfreude

August 19, 2010

(To increase the font size – hold down the Ctrl key and press +) Why do so many Singaporeans derive a perverse glee whenever they see pictures of empty seats in stadiums during YOG? Why do they even revel when they hear of people coming down with the runs due to bad food?

What’s really the reason behind this perverse delight in schadenfreude?

To be honest with all of you – I dunno. One problem with trying to figure out why people have such a great time barbecuing the image of their country on the spit – is it’s darn hard to make out whether the underlying motivations are based on innocent three stooges banter or does it stem from a darker psychotic impulse?
 
The problem with trying to pin down this public attitude that relishes  schadenfreude is it suffers from the same defect as attempting to define pornography: while impossible to put down in words on paper; no one denies you know it when you see it.

So let me share with you what I’ve been able to gather from our new national past time of Schadenfreude – for one it would not be all together wrong to describe this attitude as a character that reflects a significant portion of public consciousness – and character as we all know is the art of possibilities – but what does this national pastime really say about all of us?

The only reason why I am asking this question is because I still can’t seem to wrap my brain around the whole idea of kicking a kid in the stomach and laughing about it – may sound strange and misplaced but that’s what most people are actually doing when they take a bite out of YOG! And this begs the question why?

One reason may have something to do with the idea of big government – the problem in Singapore is the persona of government comes in an XXL fitting – and that simply means government is perceived to be omnipresent. And found in virtually every aspect of work, life and play from womb to tomb.

A corollary of that idea also means – people will naturally associate everything big with government – wonder no more why YOG just happens to be the natural target for a spot of government bashing – it fits the bill, it’s big and worse of all it manages to embody all the metaphors of big government.

Here in the Gulliver larger than life form of YOG is not only the idea of government on an allegorical scale. But it also manages to embody nicely the metaphor of everything thaty is wrong with the idea of government from smoke machines to happy perfidious faced marching kids – the image of YOG mirrors exactly the persona of government – it is all pervasive as it is all encompassing and worst of all it’s full frontal in your face .

That idea of big government also means when people are dissatisfied, they are likely to lash out at anything that corresponds to the iconic image of big government – even if it means the Youth Olympic Games.

The ostensible paradox of this condition is when they do so; they become the very image of those who they deplore most – and there lies the real tragedy of the waste that is YOG.

Darkness 2010 – The Brotherhood

“If you look at the Olympics today. I would say, 70% of the benchmarks were set in stone in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Before that. And you will never hear this from any where not even Wikipedia, the Olympics was just a travelling circus show with a couple of semi naked people running barefoot on some dust bowl. Those sportsmen were only slightly better than a bunch of acrobats and performing monkeys.

The 1936 Olympics changed all that. For the opening, you had 50 bands playing – Alle Menschen werden Brüder wo dein sanffter Flugel weilt and this was even broadcast live for the very first time in Munchen and Dusseldoft  – to ferry the sportmen to their meets – BMW invented a new planetary drive, they called the gessenschalf – today we call this the automatic transmission – and even the Olympic stadium in Berlin designed by Albert Speer had a mini rail track for Leni Riefenstahl to shoot many of the events for the very first time in Technikcolor. Even today, if you ask sports directors, they will say, for it’s time, the German Olympics was way ahead of it time – for the event, even Leica developed the super fast Summicron 390.7 format that subsequently became the famous 35mm that Hollywood eventually used – so what I am trying to say here was the Berlin Olympics was much more than just the games. It was an opportunity for the Nazi to tell the whole world that they were the master’s of the universe. that is why, it shall always be considered – the greatest success as it was the greatest failure of the Olympics history.

The same can be said about YOG. Many years from now, when all those sportsmen are in wheelchairs – the Singapore YOG 2010 will be the defining benchmark as the Berlin 1936 for the games. This is by no means an easy feat to pull off – to set the Rolex standard for the games – Malaysia cannot do this, neither can Zimbawe or for that matter even half the countries in the EU, they cannot do all these things as they organizational, planning and logistical skills required has to be zero error for margin. As there are a thousand and one things to look into and each of them can go wrong – so to me, it is like a lunar mission – there are many people working behind the scenes. So I would have to say the organizational and management skill is top drawer – if you put 10 ministers in charge of this, I do not think 7 will even cut the grade, they will either suffer a nervous breakdown or commit suicide – the pressure must have been tremendous on the organizers and their downliners. YOG is not easy to put together..so Singapore is set to go down in history as the Berlin of the YOG. We have really set a gold standard in terms of the staging the YOG that we can be proud of like the Germans. But since the YOG Singapore was also so enmeshed with the PAP..that is why – it  too shall always be considered the greatest success as it was the greatest failure of the Olympics history.

Darkness 2010 captured by an auto-crawler in a thread recently in Ekunaba

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