Saturday, August 16, 2008

Identity Crisis??

While most Singaporeans are probably happy about Singapore's upcoming medal in the Olympics that will end a drought in the Olympic medals..

Here is what 'our very own' Table Tennis super star shared on China National TV her thoughts and views! A copy of the video has been uploaded onto Baidu. (Please click on the Baidu link to view, as the pictures below are all screen captures of the entire interview)
Presenter: Do you have such goals?

Lee Jia Wei: (I) hope in 2008

Lee Jiawei: I, myself , am from Beijing

Lee Jiawei: and am a Chinese (note the use of words China as in 中国人 and not 华人)

Lee Jiawei: I hope to be able to, on my motherland...Lee Jiawei:... and also my 'territory'Lee Jiawei: .. win a medal

Well our own star herself is getting confused, I really wonder if her Singaporean supporters will be in a similar state of confusion?


Anonymous said...

Suppose one day you left Singapore to go to one of the rich nations of the world, and became a lawyer, or an investment banker, or someone just rich and successful.

Were a Singaporean to interview you, would you forget the place where you were born, where you grew up, whose idiosyncrasies shaped you, whose very landscape defined you and made you who you were?

If you could indeed forget that place just because you've changed your passport, then you'd hardly be in the position to criticise the way Li Jiawei responded.

Of course, you'd counter by saying that the above response is beside the point, in that she should at least have mentioned something about Singapore.

But in your own place, what would you have to say to another Singaporean about London, or Berlin, or Milan, or Barcelona, or Buenos Aires, or New York, or Los Angeles, or wherever you might ostensibly call home, that would not be impossibly vapid?

Anonymous said...

Singapore Kopitiam has replaced the now defunct "'s Alfresco Coffee Shop" at Delphiforums.

Singapore Kopitiam can be reached at:

Anonymous said...

She and her coach are mercenaries. Nothing wrong with that as they are simply looking out for their self-interests. The dumb and blinkered ones are those forking out money and idolising them as national heroes, deluding themselves there is pride in "bought" medals.

SAmmyboy said...

all this proves one very simple theory!!!

No money.... No honey!

hellebore said...

To Anonymous 12.26am: I think the point here is that Jiawei used the present tense (inasmuch as there is present tense in Mandarin) when saying she IS from Beijing, she IS from China, it IS her homeland. I think that's the issue here - that she refers to herself as a PRC citizen and not a citizen of Singapore.

Also I can't really find anywhere in the post that actually verbalizes criticism about Jiawei.

My own Chinese ethnicity means of course that my ancestors migrated here from China. My "motherland" is also China. But I would never say I am a 中国人. I think that's the issue here. From the interview it appears as though she still identifies with being a 中国人 rather than a Singaporean. And there's the rub.

As representatives of Singapore in a global competition I would simply hope that they have some notion of nationalistic pride for the country they represent, since they are now citizens of a new country.

We do not require them to forget their country of origin. In fact, be proud! China is a beautiful country and produces wonderful people, of which generations now populate this country and call Singapore home. But as a CITIZEN of SINGAPORE, as a representative of Singapore, surely she should identify herself as Singaporean? It's perfectly fine to say she's glad to win a medal on her old turf - but she shouldn't be saying that she is a 中国人.

That's all I wanted to say :)

eve+line said...

If I'm not wrong, mainland Chinese (or those originating from mainland China) don't use Huaren to refer to the Chinese race. "Zhongguoren" to them means the same thing as "Huaren" means to us native Singaporeans.

She clearly had an affinity for Beijing, as she was born and bred there. So it was natural that she wanted to win something in her homeland. There really was no need to bring this Singaporean thing into the picture.

Anonymous said...

yes i totally agree with evline's post directly above.

She said:
'"Zhongguoren" to them means the same thing as "Huaren" means to us native Singaporeans.'

Probably just a misunderstanding of terms

Anonymous said...

In China, "中国人" indeed means the otherwise "华人". But what intriguing was the terms "自己的地盘", "自己的本土" used when elaborating her hopes and aspiration for the 2008 Olympic.

Especially that TV program was called "名将之约"; according to the presenter, usually about famous (Chinese) athletes or coaches. But that episode was special; will instead be about this tough competitor from Singapore who possibly an obstacle to the quest of the Chinese TT Olympic team.

The "Singapore thing" couldn’t be too far off from the viewfinder as that episode was after all titled "别样的乒乓之路"

She did mention Singapore: about its mosquitoes and weather. (Her dad also said it was his plan to create this “short cut” for her to gain exposure to international level competition).

Of course it could be nice if somewhere in the 25 minutes interview, in some way mention (or maybe a small thank you) the opportunity & resources the people of Singapore had afforded her so far to get her to that level. Any or many long-timers from Singapore should feel lesser of a stranger if they happen to be among the audience.

Onlooker said...

Individually, Li jia wei (Feng tian wei won individual silver)is overrated and anyone can be an "after incident kong ming" and say that they also talent spotted the champion Chang.
I'm just wondering where they will go to next when we start to decline financially.
Malaysia? like Quah Chee hoped? Or Australia, At least they got thorpe.
Medal buying is still the way to go for our minimum effort(not to mention bochap and complacent) leaders. Battery and Loyalty not included. Intellect and contributions to society sold separately.
Just like buying low quality toy(MIC), I do not expect a Return On Investment for the toy, just that the child (incidentally part of the money comes from his/her Coin Pocket Fun money don't tell him/her) who get the toy is happy.
And hopefully the toy is not lead coated as American/ Japanese/ EU/ Taiwan,who sold the toys, Have "Quality Control" and I still trust them.

Anonymous said...

A related video

Anonymous said...

hi i used this entry to reply another person's blog entry about singaporean and singapore citizen. just to give u a notice =)

Anonymous said...

In the 80's when the world bank decided to declare Singapore as a developed country, our government strongly declined that as we might be stripped off all the benefits from the world bank as being a developing country. One point our government used was that, among all the MNCs in Singapore, how many of them really belongs to Singapore? So what if 1 day these MNCs decided to leave? we will then be left with nothing. Since then our government has been trying very hard to assist local companies to expand overseas or encourage new startups so we can our own MNCs. After almost 3 decades, how many MNCs do we have? Maybe, just maybe, we do not have sufficient talents in the private sectors, as everyone is busy studying trying to become a scholar so that can work for the government.
I think the situation is also the same in our sports scene. In order to have our own sports talents, we can either wait for someone like Tan Howe Liang, Quah Kim Song, Ang Peng Siong or we can nurtured our own sports protege. So what have been done? New sports school, a new stadium, lots of money to fund sports (look at what we get for the money we spent on soccer) and what else? Maybe we need something more substantial to act as a good morale booster or starter for our younger generation of sportsmen/sportswomen, an olympic medal. Not only the medal but also the experiences and exposures that come with it. And also the possibilities that is presented to our younger fellow sportsmen and sportswomen.
Of course it can be done in another way. Maybe all those brilliant minds out there can come out with some good solutions and not just condemning the effect that others have put in. I'm sure the government will be more then happy to adopt good ideas if you can come out with something good and promising. Something that don't involve buying talents will be great but please don't make the younger generation wait for another 48 years. Cos by then they will not even be qualified for senior olympics.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If we had seen the video, we would know that she was referring to Beijing as her birthplace when asked what her expectations were in the Olympics.

If she was talking about nationality then she would be saying that she wants to win a medal for China, which is impossible as she is a Singapore citizen. She certainly wasn't delirious, so we can only conclude she was just referring to Beijing China, as her birthplace.

This has been blown out of proportion by people who hated the foreign talent policy.

Let's keep out head cool and know that what truly lies in Jia Wei's heart, only she would know, not us guessing like a headless chickens.

Anonymous said...

and the news now is that this FT has sounded off that she is returning to her "motherland" for "studies" - everyone knows she's doing a runner now that her louis vuitton bag is stuffed full of sing dollars - so malu for local true blue singaporeans - our president can thank her hold her hand with his two hands sommore, and want to give her national award as well - sianz.

Anonymous said...

I find nothing wrong with her saying either "中国人" or "华人". It's just joining a team at her advantage to win a medal for herself. It is a win-win situation. Singapore got their medal and she had hers. Anyway... Singapore hired her in the first place ma... Other countries are also importing China seeds to represent their countries for the Olympics. We should be happy that we have got a better seed than other countries. :P

日月神教-任我行 said...