Different paths for different people

I agree with Mr Seah Yam Meng on why Singaporean parents would prefer not to let their children take up sports as a career ("Practical factors will snuff out most Olympic potential"; Aug 17).

The Olympic glory that Joseph Schooling has brought us is the result of a combination of deliberate effort and circumstances. There are many factors that have come together perfectly in the making of our very own swimming legend.

Having said that, we have to recognise that outstanding sports talents like Schooling in a small country like ours are rare.

It is true that we should allow our young the leeway to pursue their dreams, inspire them to dream big, and support them regardless of the field they choose.

But how sure can they be that it is what they really want to do? Sometimes, it takes a few twists and turns, and some side-tracking before a person discovers his true calling.

I am sure that level-headed parents would not be rushing to get their children enrolled in swimming classes. There are many avenues to success. Whether or not fame and glory comes is secondary.

Our society invests more in academic performance for practical reasons.

We need our people to drive our economy forward and to reach new heights in science and technology. This is a field that we cannot afford to relax in if we are to stay ahead.

Yet, our top researchers have not been accorded the same glory and recognition as sporting champions, despite their hard work and sacrifice.

Society needs scientific research in order to move forward.

Not everyone can be a doctor, scientist or lawyer, and we need to accept our children's abilities and inclinations.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)