Singapore athletes have come a long way

The Singapore SEA Games contingent at the 28th SEA Games opening ceremony.
The Singapore SEA Games contingent at the 28th SEA Games opening ceremony.PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

S'pore athletes have come a long way

During the recent SEA Games, I heard of and saw many young athletes carrying out acts that are worth celebrating.

First was the netball team, which won gold after beating Malaysia in an intense game.

The win was a tribute to 12-year-old Rachel Ho, who died in the Sabah earthquake and who had longed to join the national team one day.

Second was silat exponent Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma'en, 18, who endured a deep cut on his foot to ensure his team did not go home without the gold medal.

I was amazed to see how he carried himself, and to read how he learnt from his mistakes.

Third was swimmer Quah Zheng Wen, 18, who took part in 12 swimming events over six days and emerged with seven gold medals, four silvers and one bronze. Going through all those events must have been a daunting challenge.

There was a time when Singapore was the country with the fewest medals at the SEA Games.

Our recent haul has shown that we have truly come a long way.

Siau Ek Hwee, 18, Year 6 student

Don't excuse animal abuse for 'tradition'

I agree with Miss Wee Min that we should not be ignorant of other people's culture and attack them for following a tradition that has been going for years due to the influence that the West holds over the world ("Don't impose West's ideology on tradition"; last Wednesday).

However, the protests against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival did not come about because the people there were eating dogs, but because of the way dogs were treated.

Many pictures on social media showed dogs being boiled, beaten or even burned alive to get the meat for the festival.

Many of these dogs are taken away from their real owners and transported in small and cramped cages, with some dying while on the journey.

It is appalling what conditions these dogs have to live in for the sake of "tradition".

People in China have been eating dog meat for centuries, but the abuse and the mistreatment of thousands of animals should not be overlooked.

Excusing the people who participate in the festival allows the very same people to continue the abuse of the dogs until action is taken to clamp down on the event.

Not only are people from other countries protesting against the event, but hundreds of thousands of other Chinese on social media have also joined in, showing that the abuse of the dogs should be stopped, tradition or not. 

The people of Yulin should realise that continuing with this festival is wrong unless something is done to improve the treatment of the dogs involved in the event. 

Addini Jalani, 16, Secondary 4 student

Spread around care for others

Singaporeans are generally caring towards one another, but they are capable of doing more for the people around them.

Many people are often preoccupied with their busy schedules in our fast-paced country.

However, we should continue to make an effort to lend a hand to others, and not neglect the underprivileged.

Living with many different people from all walks of life, it is important for us to give and take.

Doing charity work is a way for us to give back to society.

It need not be in the form of huge sums of money.

There are many platforms to serve our community.

For instance, my classmates and I have been volunteering to help with street sales during our school holidays.

As we continue to spread our love and care around, our nation will grow to become even more beautiful.

Wong Ying Yee, 14, Secondary 2 student

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'Voices Of Youth'. Print Edition | Subscribe