Rings of Stars and Crescent: Excerpt

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) is marking its 70th anniversary this year with "Rings of Stars and Crescent", a book shining the spotlight on sporting officials behind the scenes.

Here is the second of four excerpts from the book:

SEPARATION FROM MALAYSIA

In just 15 months, the brief marriage (between the two Olympic councils) was called off on Aug 9, 1965, as the two countries separated in a shock announcement. But while merger (between the Olympic councils) was painful, separation for the sports groups was met with glee from Singapore.

(Sports editor Norman) Siebel wrote in The Straits Times: "With as much haste as, and undoubtedly greater enthusiasm than Singapore's pre-September 1963 national sports bodies had to shed their international status to join Malaysian federations as state affiliates in order to make their representatives eligible as Malaysians for last year's Olympic Games and other international events, they will now have to reapply for their international certificates from the world controlling bodies to compete as Singaporeans."

The pride in being Singaporeans was evident and fast. In September 1965, a month after separation, local media proudly referred to (SOSC president A.T.) Rajah as the "Singapore Government's envoy". Singapore's relationship with Kuala Lumpur was no longer a subordinate one. By October 1965, SOSC was readmitted into the IOC (International Olympic Committee) along with Saudi Arabia, Togo, Guinea and the Central African Republic. SOSC was truly on its own, representing an independent country for the first time after 18 years. Its confusion over its identity finally came to an end.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'Rings of Stars and Crescent: excerpt'. Print Edition | Subscribe