Risk-taking a key part of success

Parents in Singapore dream of their children leading a better life than they did and hope the young ones will have a stable living without many ups and downs.

As a result, all hope of a child trying to take an unconventional path is eliminated right from the start ("Practical factors will snuff out most Olympic potential" by Mr Seah Yam Meng; Aug 17).

These less-trodden paths have often been regarded as having plenty of instability and risks, hence parents would rather their children be part of the norm.

There is really no right or wrong when it comes to such a decision made by parents.

However, if the children themselves have started to show a strong interest in a particular field, their parents should perhaps give them a chance to train and excel.

This interest may not last long and decisions may backfire, especially after the children experience hardship and difficulties. However, if both children and parents do not try, no one will ever know the result.

Miss Lee Kay Yan said in her letter ("Different paths for different people"; Forum Online, Aug 18) that our society invests more in academic performance for practical reasons, and scientific research is needed in order to move forward.

As much as research plays a huge role in the world, if every country were to focus only on research just to progress, the need to have the Olympics or other world sporting events would be seriously questioned.

Countries such as Britain and the United States are extremely advanced in their scientific research and probably ahead of Singapore in this area, yet they are still able to excel in sports.

Singapore will need to strike a balance between sports and academics. Both are equally significant and are key areas of development.

The key for more Singaporeans to be like Joseph Schooling is to learn to accept that it is alright to be different and to do something different.

Singaporeans by nature have not been great risk-takers, but we can aim to be such.

Jong Ching Yee (Miss)