A sporting community

A focus on the community is clear in the opening events of the Singapore Sports Hub. Nor will this be a one-off event, because a variety of sports and lifestyle amenities will be available to the community on its premises. They include facilities for climbing, skating and roller-blading; exercise and fitness stations; a children's playground and beach volleyball courts; and a sports promenade described on the Hub's website as the country's largest fully-sheltered, free-to-use civic space. While a hub should be an arena for major sporting events, which are associated with keen competitive striving for excellence and success, no less should it be a venue for the community to gather around sports - an informal, everyday form of social bonding that transcends ethnicity, gender and class. As a public-private partnership, the Hub cannot be free of commercial realities, but it should also serve as a giant civic space contributing to collaborative nation-building.

Singaporeans should use this grand new opportunity to enhance their lives through sports and exercise. Sedentary lifestyles, associated with diseases such as diabetes, are a modern bane, but their ill-effects are pronounced in prosperous societies characterised by a correlation between high per capita incomes and lower levels of physical activity. Simple walking tours around the Hub, for example, could provide a healthy alternative to mall- or pub-crawling that are often the preferred pastimes of many Singaporeans. The Hub offers families in particular the opportunity to spend quality time at one of Singapore's iconic venues. The hope is that it will play an important role in realising the community focus of the sports blueprint, Vision 2030. But this can happen only if Singaporeans, young and old, use the Hub and other sports facilities fully, collaboratively and considerately.