Dear SEA Games organisers,
So the countdown has begun to the opening of the 28th SEA Games in Singapore on June 5.
A long-time fan, I’m old enough to remember when they were called the Seap (for South-East Asian Peninsular) Games.
I thought changing the name to the SEA Games was confusing because not all the games are held at sea. Many are held on land.
I was very young then.
But young people are different now. My 16-year-old daughter, for instance. The only countdown she cares about at the moment is to the opening of Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron in the cinemas this Thursday.
Kids today — all they know are superheroes and whatever nonsense that’s going viral.
So I’ve been thinking, how can we get young people, like my daughter, to be more interested in the Seap Games, I mean, SEA Games?
Well, you know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.
Not that I’m suggesting we should introduce a new sporting event where our athletes battle super robots while levelling an entire city.
At least not until we get this whole artificial intelligence thing licked.
What I’m suggesting is that the SEA Games should go viral.
As in online, not Ebola.
For example, you know how the Internet went nuts last week trying to figure out when Cheryl’s birthday is, even though she’s clearly just trolling Albert and Bernard?
It was at first presented as a Primary 5 maths problem, but it was later revealed to be a question from the Secondary 3 and Secondary 4 Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO) contests held on April 8.
According to the SASMO Facebook page:
Being Question 24 out of 25 questions, this is a difficult question meant to sift out the better students. SASMO contests target the top 40 per cent of the student population and the standards of most questions are just high enough to stretch the students.So it’s basically The Hunger Games for maths nerds.
Hey, if they can have a “Math Olympiad”, why don’t you have a “Math SEA Games”?
Instead of Cheryl, Albert and Bernard, you can have Siti telling Ah Boon and Bala separately the month and the day of her birthday respectively, then sit back and watch the world burn.
Actually, no one really needs to find out anyone’s birthday any more because Facebook will send you a notification.
Granted, a competition where school kids have their souls broken by difficult maths problems may not be the most live broadcast-worthy of spectator sports.
Fortunately, there are other ways to go viral, like with videos.
I saw your video for the official SEA Games song Unbreakable by former Singapore Idol finalist Tabitha Nauser.
It looks very nice. The video features such competitors as swimmer Joseph Schooling, bowler Jazreel Tan and silat champion Shakir Juanda.
But you know what’s missing from the video?
I mean, besides Nauser the singer?
Actor Chen Tianwen, star of the Unbelievable viral video.
And you know, instead of Unbreakable, what the song should be?
Unbelievable, the song that Chen sings in the Unbelievable viral video.
After all, both songs already have a one-word title that begins with the same three letters.
The difference is that your Unbreakable video has fewer than 200,000 views (as of today) on YouTube since it was uploaded on April 9.
By contrast, the Unbelievable video has a million views on the Channel 5 Facebook page since it was posted on April 13.
The video has been shared online so often that my wife’s friend threatened on Facebook: “Sorry, folks. I am intolerant of bad English and poor diction. Anyone who thinks that Unbelievable song is funny, I will unfriend you.”
That’s when you know you’ve made it — when people can’t stand you.
I guess what I’m saying is that you should adopt Unbelievable as an official SEA Games song. I believe it can work.
Unbreakable is the theme song for those who win in the SEA Games. Unbelievable is for those who lose because they will be “stunned like vegetable” as Chen sings in the video.
I understand that you may be reluctant to use my ideas because frankly, they’re kind of stupid.
But I have one last suggestion.
Why don’t you change the name back to the Seap Games?
It’s just so much more fun to say.
S M Ong