Monday, August 25, 2008

Shots at Fame

This guy on my left in the photo - familiar? No? If his face does not strike a chord, I can only assume (a) you are a non-China person (b) you did not follow the recent Olympics (c) even if you followed the Olympics, you do not follow badminton.

Because this person next to me is LIN Dan,
winner of recent Badminton Men's Singles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics leh! Well, this photo was taken some time back over dinner (nope, not a candlelight rendezvous) almost two years back, in November 2006, when he was already a world champion. He's a good, personal friend of my boss and when we brought an out-of-town Client out to dinner that night, he was also asked along. I did not go ga-ga over him, but thank goodness I was sane enough to still ask him for an autograph on my namecard (no less - to prove that he signed for me, and not for anybody else)... My personal "Shot at Fame"... a personal photograph/autograph with a gold medal Olympiard... how cool is that? Tee hee.

Still on the Olympics (though I almost had to stab myself to not get bored to tears watching last night's closing ceremony...), Beijing, and China, and has really done themselves proud this time round with such a great show of the Games, and topping the medal tally with a record-breaking 51 golds. You really have to be here to soak it all in - all I can say is that I wouldn't want to be facing the international pressure organizers of the London 2012 Games must be feeling! 38 world records were broken at the Games, Usain Bolt can put "Fastest man in the world" on his business card (and you can imagine the play on the surname "Bolt" by his sponsors in their future ad copy), but my highlight of "Shots of Fame" instead would focus on the dismal... for the following athletes in question, at least:
  • Team USA, on the very same day, got disqualified from the finals of both the 4x100 meters relay - for the exact, same novice slip-up - they dropped the batons whilst passing. You would think that the ladies, after witnessing their men go through such a traumatic mistake less than 30 minutes ago, would think to hold on tightly to, and pass, their batons more carefully?

  • Sydney Olympics 2000 Taekwondo gold medalist Cuban Angel Matos, was disqualified for taking longer than the one-minute injury time in his match against Kazakhstan. Angel decided not to live up to his name, and showed off his remaining skills with a Taekwondo kick to the poor referee. Both Angel and his coach have been banned for life from this game.

How about our very own sunny island, Singapura's, "Shot at Fame"? Well, issues of foreign talents in table-tennis matches for the Games set aside, I think Singapore has now made its mark as a pro-marriage/pro-pregnancy/pro-baby/pro-family country. Our Prime Minister announced in his National Day Rally Speech that amongst other benefits, maternity leave have now been extended to four months (instead of three months), and the baby bonus for first kids are now SGD$4,000 (up from the previous SGD$3,000), with an additional maximum matching government contribution of SGD$6,000 for Children Development Account activities. Woo hoo! Now, I only need to be around long/often enough to tap the use of the latter set of funds.

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