The People's Association's (PA) decision to screen all 64 matches of this year's World Cup in Russia live and for free, is expected to make more than 600,000 residents throng community clubs (CCs) across Singapore. The PA started screening World Cup matches at CCs in 2010. But this is the first time that all 64 games will be beamed live, although not every CC will show every game.
The PA's gesture should help to take some of the envious sting out of the minds of those Singaporeans who looked across the Causeway, where national broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia will air most matches free, although not all will be shown live. The move also suggests that the criticism embodied by those who asked, "What about Singapore?", was premature, given the PA's practice to open the doors of CCs. Admittedly, not everyone is enthused by the idea of visiting CCs to watch late-night matches. There is something about enjoying the World Cup with family and friends in the comfort of one's own home. But there is more to be said for the perpetuation of a culture in which football acts as a great social leveller in Singapore. Sport becomes fundamental to the life of a nation when it makes people cross accustomed boundaries and turns their leisure and passion into a form of public bonding. The famous Kallang Roar attested to that national spirit.
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