Organising large events no easy task

I FULLY empathise with the unhappiness expressed by many sports enthusiasts who purchased tickets to the SEA Games closing ceremony but were denied entry due to overcrowding (“Why were ticket holders denied entry?” by Mr Adrian Ho Kok Wai, and “Ticket holders given the runaround, denied entry” by Ms Yan Liping; Forum Online, both published yesterday).

While Team Singapore has done us proud and given us the best performance so far, winning 84 gold, 73 silver and 102 bronze medals, the memorable event was marred by poor organisational skills. The public address system broke down and the over-sale of tickets caused much displeasure among many Singaporeans.

Often, front-liners are on the receiving end of frustrations when things go wrong. However, organising major events on a large scale is certainly no easy task. Even if one is highly academically qualified, if you are not equipped with a wealth of experience, you can easily fumble.

Therefore, it is imperative that experienced event planners or retired public service officers who have hands-on experience in organising events on a large scale be invited to sit on committees in charge of planning such events.

There should be a detailed checklist and a contingency plan in place. After the event is over, the main organising committee should conduct a post-mortem to address problems so that future events are handled better.

Raymond Anthony Fernando