My involvement with YOG began when I was invited to be one of the torchbearers. It was one of those opportunities that probably come once in a lifetime!
It was a huge privilege and honor to represent MediaCorp TV and my particular Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame started on the 7th August at lamppost 73 along Marymount Road.
Steven Chia was representing News and Shan Wee for Radio.
We had to report at CHIJ Toa Payoh that rainy morning and was told not to bring anything that couldn’t fit into our shorts pocket.
Here's Shan passing me the torch along Marymount Road.
The torch weighed 700g and wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, which I think is significant because the YOG spirit was never meant to be a burden.
The fact that many torchbearers come from all walks of life goes to show that YOG is not just for athletes or youths. It’s an event that everyone can participate!
After I completed my 100m, I hopped on the bus and headed to RI where there were a few interviews carried out.
Speaking of which, there was one that got some buzz on the Internet forums.
This is a perfect example on how using emotionally charged words in headlines can completely twist the story and mislead the reader.
I don’t know for sure, but I highly doubt it’s the reporter’s call because if that was her angle, it would have unveiled itself in the story. You see, she would have to interview people to get quotes to support her story.
Some potential interviewees would be:
The torchbearer after me – to ask if she felt she waited too long for me to arrive;
my support runners – if mine was the slowest run of the day;
and definitely the organizers – to find out the consequences (if any) as a result of my “selfish” act.
Now wouldn’t that be a story! But since there was nothing in her story to suggest that she was trying to fault me for my “selfish act”, I presumed the headline was designed by someone else after the story was written, which is not uncommon practice according to what I studied in journalism school.
I believe that if someone impartial were to read the article without first seeing the headlines, that would not be the natural conclusion they arrive at. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to completely rule out the possibility.
It’s easy to misunderstand the first paragraph in the absence of a full context because the reader has not been informed of it. The article did not include what was briefed to the torchbearers prior to our run; nor did I tell the reporter what my support runners said to me during my run. Even though these mundane information provide a context, which will allow the reader to better form their judgement, they just don’t add value to the story and is often not the focus of an article, in a newspaper whose main aim is to sell papers!
Having said that, it’s sad that whoever chose the headlines had to put a dampener on the celebration of something as rare as this. It was a day where strangers came together, regardless of race, age, gender, occupation, to support and cheer one another on like friends and made us truly one united people.
I’ve never been more proud that my country is hosting the YOG.
Go for the Gold!