by Felix Cheong
This week, we publish a letter from a fictitious young person, See Gin Na, who writes eloquently about why Singapore companies have allowed a Malaysian airline to reward Singapore athletes with free flights.
LIFE holds no greater pleasure than giving other people the chance to grow. Let them have their due, their heatstroke moment in the sun.
This is why we, a group of youths whose ideas are always ideal and our activities always activist, have started #Let’emHaveIt as a ground-up movement. We want to spread the message that the world will be a better place if we simply pass up opportunities to other people.
This light-bulb moment came when we read the news on Monday (Sept 12) that AirAsia will reward Paralympic athletes Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh with free flights. Ms Yip receives free travel for life, while bronze medallist Ms Goh gets three years.
This is on top of the FOC-for-life air tickets already granted to Joseph #hunksome Schooling and his parents. In fact, this offer is extended to all Asean medallists. No albatross bond like a Government scholarship, no need to make a shrine of AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes and kowtow to him every night.
That a Malaysian company would do this is admirable. What’s revealing is Singapore companies taking the initiative to do absolutely nothing. Sure, they bought lots of ad space in that picnic-mat newspaper, The Straits Times, to congratulate #hunksome Schooling on his gold medal. All that money, of course, could’ve gone towards sponsoring his training for Tokyo 2020.
But that’s exactly our point – it’s all in keeping with the spirit of #Let’emHaveIt. Give Malaysians the chance to be generous. All that money floating around the country has to land somewhere.
Plus, after all the hammering they’ve received the past year from the world’s press, God (or Allah) knows they needed the break. The proverbial silver (courtesy of their badminton player Lee Chong Wei) in the lining.
We’re sure Singapore companies, like SIA and even Jover Chew’s outfit, Mobile Air (or whatever he calls his company when he’s out of jail), have to bite their tongue, trying very hard to keep very still as they sit very tight on their bottom line. And without the bottom line keeping us grounded, our future would not have a leg up, as our history books in school always drum into us.
We can see this pay-it-forward strategy at work whenever the Government donates to humanitarian causes worldwide – a few hundred thousands here and there, for earthquake/typhoon/tsunami victims, and our conscience is immediately as clear as the sound system at the National Stadium.
Why so paltry, you may ask, when our reserves are more than $500 billion and require an elected gatekeeper, two keys and so many rules that not even the Ocean’s Eleven thieves can unlock?
Because a small country’s grace is finite. It must give an amount proportionate to its size. Otherwise, people may think we’re nouveau riche and showing off. We let the big powers that talk big take the lead.
As youths, we cannot help but be inspired by such generosity of spirit. And we plan to #payitforward. Come next week, we will be letting our friends take our exams for us.
See Gin Na
Featured image by Guet Ghee Pang.
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