Flamed by the YOG Flame?

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!

25 responses to “Flamed by the YOG Flame?

  1. running 100m is quite stupid, it takes me less than 15 sec to do that.

    they should make everyone run at least 1km, then we are talking about 2-3 mins holding the torch.

    “forrest gump” xiao di di can do 15km on slippers, makes our atheletes looks like dumbo.

    i would say nobody is excited about YOG, we are waiting for the election.

    i will buy 1143 1 big 1 small to support you.


  2. Don’t be upset about people who dislike you!

  3. The thread starter in that forum definately didn’t hear the full sentence by Joanne. He/She just hear the first half but didin’t hear the second part or he/she definately out to flame Joanne that is to use the first part of her sentence for his /her flaming , he/she definately got nothing else better to do except this childish act! He/she definately do not know the meaning og “HOGGING”


    If i remember clearly that day Joanne’s reply was that, she didn’t want to run fast because she wanted us fans/supporters who were there to have enough time to take nice pictures of this historic event and for everyone to enjoy the moment!

    Didn’t read the papers so no comments on that.

  4. I don’t think you are selfish. Just don’t bother about those comments.

  5. wtf… hope that you are not distrubed by the article.. i feel that this person has nothing to do…

  6. Joanne,
    My own guess is : you don’t want to run faster is because you are waiting for someone to use loud hailer and yell ” BAAAAIIIII WEIIIIII QQQQQQQ!”

    Never mind about some people badmouthing you..
    At least you made your fans happy by allowing them to take beautiful pictures of you as you run

  7. Sonny ran behind his two 12yo seniors who represented their school as torch bearers. As he is only 8yo, naturally I ran after him. Well, that’s a lie, I actually just walked. Truth is, there was a bigger boy running by the side of the torch bearer, telling him to jog slowly, take his time. Parents and teachers were coming down from the pavement to snap pictures of the once-in-a-lifetime moment. Someone I didn’t recognise cut into the way of the first torch bearer and said, “Smile!” and took a picture which I later found on a contest site. Which reminds me that I saw one petite lady in YOG T-shirt hopping onto the bus ferrying male contestants when it passed just right in front of me without stopping. All in all, the pace of the relay was really meant to be slow enough even for me to walk behind in comfort. Thanks YOG, for considering that there may be supporters who are out of shape and pant easily. You really slowed down the whole relay for us not to feel excluded in something so important to the nation.

  8. The reporter was definitely sensationalizing the news.
    Well what can we expect from a paper that is deemed as a tabloid publication?
    It’s the runner’s prerogative to run at a pace that the runner’s comfortable with; is it now a taboo to run at a “slow” pace? if so then shouldn’t the differently abled representatives or elderly representative be condemned? i’m sure Joanne wasn’t the slowest too. I m pretty sure the organizers had told the runners to milk the run for all its worth; the more shots the public can get of Joanne or any of the other runners, or a longer video perhaps, the better it would be for YOG isn’t it? More publicity and shots to fill the papers and stuff

  9. She had no business being one of the torchbearer.
    Such honour should have been given to athletes only. are they implying singapore don’t have sufficient deserving sportsmen/women that she has to pick an artiste?? downright insult to all sportsmen/women here!
    as to the distance ran – 100m IS ridiculous. none of the torch bearer could run cuz it was SO short. give it a decent distance, show what it really means to be in an olympic, just like in 1849, Greece. one got to toil, and sweat, and train, not just look pretty on screen or paper.
    trying to include as many torchbearer in as possible dilutes the honour of being one of them. all the bystanders crowded in trying to get their picture in the press. utter disgrace.

    • Janet,
      Joanne did not asked to be torchbearer, she was CHOSEN because she was the one of fittest women in Singapore. 100 m is acceptable because Singapore is the small country where there are so many traffics. Government cannot extend the route because it might disrupt the traffics.

  10. Why bother what others say?

  11. Hi Joanne,
    I like the way you handled this situation and the nice twist in your headline.

  12. “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.” HAHA. You really love to delve into the deeper meaning of things don’t you.

  13. iThug On The Loose

    G’day Jo,

    Hang in there eh, cherie?

    Pay no attention to the trolls; it’s the A1 Forums after all… a discussion board that THRIVES on sensationalism. And as one forummer aptly describes the status quo: There are too many whiners and ranters on said board… Y’all know who you are, chuckleheads. Need I say more?

    It’s what happens when consequence is absent from the equation. Throw a baseless accusation in someone’s face and you might get severely beat up. Action = Consequence. Do it on-line, and anonymity protects you from Newton’s Third Law. On the other hand, once you realize it’s only a whole lotta words, it empowers you to step back and say to your detractors: You’re only a ‘somebody’ in cyberspace, and therefore… Inconsequential to my life.

    In other words: What do the opinions of some obviously mentally-deficient(read -DUMB) sociopaths matter in the real world. Those who know and support you will know better than to believe everything they read. And as for those who claim to be on your side, but are all too willing to believe any bad press that comes your way, you really have to question whether or not they are indeed your fans after all.

    Only words, Joanne. Tell ’em where to go stuff it.

    Have a good day eh?


    IThug out.

  14. Jayster, you’re talking abt completing 1km in 2-3mins? I’m sure you’ll be in the world record then!

  15. Don’t bother about these people Joanne. They must be jealous of u being able to hold the torch and not them. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity to hold the flame, so u were chosen n not them.

  16. Hi how many of you people got a chance in a life time to carry this torch… you stand imaging what people think such as you runnung too slow too fast wait too long..hahaha you ain’t the star of the whole SINGAPORE SHOW IT’S IS OUR PEOPLE SHOW BE HAPPY YOU ARE DOING OUR NATION’S CALL Cheers!

  17. Hi Joanne, that particular news article was originally published in The New Paper (http://www.asiaone.com/News/The%2BNew%2BPaper/Story/A1Story20100809-231211.html). The headline was “I don’t want to run faster!”, and mentioned nothing about being “selfish”. The person who reposted the article on the forum must have amended the headline, just disregard it! 🙂

  18. I’m well aware that she was CHOSEN.
    My point is, as a non-athlete, whether she is one of the fittest or not is subjective, she ought to have the grace and maturity to turn down that invitation.
    My guess is she is equally hungry to be THE CHOSEN ONE.
    Lots more other deserving athletes are available, yet deprived cuz many CHOSEN ONES with clout or backing accepted the invitations when given.
    If all non-deserving, non-athletes were to turn down the invite, don’t u think the YOG committee would rethink their choice of torch bearer? Put yourself in the shoes of one of those athletes who’s worked so hard to be a sportsman in Sing. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth to have her as one of the torch bearer.
    As for the distance, I still maintain it could have been better managed. The footage is seen world wide, for years to come, and really, it is laughable.
    If picture taking is the issue, the longer the distance, the better chance there is to capture shots.
    If catering to ppl with varying degree of fitness is the aim, then the longer the distance, the more ppl can line up along the path to join in a short run of their own before dropping out to join the other onlookers.
    Let’s face it, if Sing is that ‘small’ to cater to this, how did she hosted F1?
    It boils down to erroneous choice and refusing to admit a mistake made..

    • Dear Janet,

      I do think you have a better chance of being heard if you post your feedback to the YOG committee instead of continuing to make discrediting comments based on a lack of information, which is beginning to come across more as a personal attack than a critique of the event as a whole.

      I can only think of three possibilities after reading both your comments. First, you belong to “one of those athletes who’s worked so hard to be a sportsman in Sing” and that is why “It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth”. If that is so, your comment reeks of poor sportsmanship. Bitterness never brings about improvement.

      Second, you’re just a person who has an axe to grind with me being the torchbearer. If so, your claim to speak in defense of “lots more other deserving athletes” is convenient but unfair to the the particular community you’re making use of to push forth your own grievance.

      Third, you’re trying to elicit a response from me. If so, there, I hope at least this makes you happy.

      To think that “if all non-deserving, non-athletes were to turn down the invite, [that] the YOG committee would rethink their choice of torch bearer” is simplifying the whole issue. Just so you know, when you work in a company or any institution, you will begin to understand that the everything doesn’t revolve around “you”, whether it’s the decisions or the choices you want to make.

      Have a great week ahead!


  19. Joanne,

    No matter what,you are always the best! I love reading your posts!

  20. ignore those jealous people! 🙂

  21. I like the way you reply. Well done.

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