Monday, September 15, 2014

Singapore Sports Museum: "Our Athletes Up Close" Preview Tour With Mok Ying Ren

It was not without challenges that Singapore earned its first SEA Games marathon gold, and no better person to hear it from than Mok himself!

Daddy came across a Facebook advert for a preview of the Singapore Sports Museum at the Singapore Sports Hub as part of "Our Athletes Up Closer" guided tour by top Singaporean runner and double Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in the triathlon and marathon events, Dr Mok Ying Ren himself! The Singapore Sports Museum opens its doors to the public at the end of 2014, and it was a rare opportunity to preview the displays. Being an avid runner himself, Daddy mooted the idea of spending Sunday afternoon at the Singapore Sports Hub and registered us for the tour.

We're here early!

We arrived early and alighted at the Kallang Wave Mall early and navigated our way through the mall to the Singapore Sports Hub, where we were received by Clifford from the museum. It was nice to get out of the sun and into the air-conditioned reception.

Our tour passes.

It was a thrill getting to meet Singapore's top marathoner himself, and the participants were eager to get a photograph with him.

After the participants gathered at about three, we were given the good news that instead of the $25 ticket charge originally publicized, the management had decided to conduct the tour free-of-charge. In addition, we each received a souvenir bag. After a short introduction, we kicked off with the tour! Here are some photographs to take you through what we saw.

Mok gives us an introduction to the Museum and the Sports Hub.

The first gallery show cases a history of various sporting clubs in Singapore. Some of them were founded way before Singapore's independence. Vintage photographs and trophies accompany brief write-ups of these historic clubs.

Premier League tickets from 1994!

The corridor following the gallery highlights the sporting icons of Singapore sport. I think my parents' generation will remember some of these as being the household names of their time!

An interactive screen functions as a picture book of Singapore's sporting 'Hall of Fame'.

Guess whose swimming trunks are on display alongside his medals?

More of Ang Peng Siong's hardware collection during his competitive days.

The Bukit Timah track was full of memories and history. The club has since relocated and continues to be releveant in today's sporting scene. Of course, it now complements the mechanized version: F1 racing!

Sporting heroes galore! Tan Howe Liang, Ang Peng Siong, and even our dominant water-polo team!

Big dreams begin with humble beginnings: Singapore's first Olympic medal!

Vintage hardware, such as race spikes, inspires imagination of what kinds of environments, platforms and equipment the athletes in the past competed with.

This is not a touch screen, but no harm trying anyways!

The 'hey-days' of Singapore basketball!

Before the days of carbon fibre shafts, badminton rackets had metal and wood frames! 

England All Comers Championship Challenge Cup.

Shooting remains both a popular and excelling local sport.

Some paraphernalia from the old National Stadium. Perhaps you sat on one of these during your school days during the National Track and Field meets, or stomped on them during one of the Premier League matches?

Even the stadium lights have found a new home.

Athlete diets are extremely personal, and chances are that there are as many variations of the 'athletic diet' as there are athletes! None seems more appetizing than Michael Phelps' 12,000 calories a day!

Sports brings community together, and community includes everyone! There's a section here celebrating para-Olympic athletes and the challenges they overcome to excel at their craft.

Some 'then' versus 'now' facts of Singapore sport and the National Stadium.

Something close to daddy's heart... how about this? Nothing of this sort comes in hard-copy anymore.

The simple soccer ball tells a story of how technology has changed the way games are played.

You can almost hear a roar just looking at all these photographs! The new Sports Hub looks to revive some of this!

Still to come: a feature on the Youth Olympics is still under construction, but we had a preview of it anyway.

The Inaugural Youth Olympic torch stands alongside replicas of other Olympic torches through the years.

Mascots from countries who have hosted the Olympic Games. No prizes for guessing where the boxing kangaroo is from.

Olympic pins...

This lantern brought the Olympic flame to the YOG all the way from Greece! It probably few first-class too!

The YOG Couldron.

We had a look at the Sports Library: the open concept here encourages interaction with both multi-media and other visitors through videos, story telling and games. It's not your typical library where visitors are reminded to keep their volume down. Where are the books? They're on the second level upstairs. You might find a quieter corner to read there.

The library is all about bringing sports to the community, and visitors get to play with all sorts of toys and games. Some of the toys, like this table soccer pitch, require you to actually move the pieces. There are also Wii video games.

A quick walk into the National Stadium.

It was unfortunate that after checking out the National Stadium, we fell behind and broke contact with the rest of the group. Thinking that they had proceeded to the OCBC Aquatic Centre, we headed over for a look but eventually gave up trying to find them (they had instead proceeded over to the Water-Sports Centre). Mummy took the kids to go find a nice place to sit down for a nice family dinner, whilst Daddy hopped over to the Museum, reaching just in time to apologize for the mis-communication and thank our tour guides and staff of the museum.

To compliment the Sports Hub in efforts to reach out to the everyday Singaporean, inviting them to come through its doors to engage in play and activities, the Kallang Wave Mall is a haven for them to refuel. What a selection of food there is here! We settle for some western fare at Astons on level 2, and fulfill our cravings for steak and pasta.

All in all, it was interesting for the children and eye-opening. In review, I'd say there would be a lot more expected when all the displays are ready. In its infant stages, there's still much room for improvement and development though. The broad expanse at the centre of the Museum dedicated to the Youth Olympic Games seemed still barren and under wraps. The meaning behind the Museum is valuable as it celebrates a heritage and history that has elevated the role of sports in community to where it is today. Just as important are the displays are representative of the stories of individual and collective resilience and perseverance. We are sure that as this heritage grows and develops, and rides on the infrastructure we're so blessed with in Singapore, the open spaces in the Museum will hopefully become more ad more crowded with interesting stories.