Breathtaking display … awesome new hopes?

According to this report, our Singapore Cub Ammirul Mazlan has apparently caught the eye of Werder Bremen president Wilfried Lemke who was here to watch the Youth Olympic Games. Scoring Singapore’s opener in just 10 seconds against Zimbabwe, he went on to make such an impact that Herr Lemke, also the Special Advisor for the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, requested video footage of the Hong Kah Secondary School student in action.

I caught most of that match from a 25th floor of a HDB apartment block, and had to deal with a restricted view – no corners, and all the goals obscured by trees – until a kind resident who lived next to where I was watching and tweeting the match came back, saw me there, and invited me into his house to see the full view from his window for the last 10 minutes or so.

I can’t say what’s so special about Ammirul that Werder would want to sign him, but that’s not his fault. Firstly, in front of the Singapore team, it’s hard for me to be objective during the match, secondly, the entire team was so good, I couldn’t tell who was outstanding, and thirdly, they were so small from my point of view, I could hardly make out the numbers on their backs even with my camera’s zoom lens.

It’s good to know, though, that Ammirul has his head upon his shoulders. He told Mediacorp, “I’m speechless. Winning a bronze medal was good enough for me … I didn’t know anyone from Bremen was there and even though nothing may come out of this, it’s still nice to be recognised.”

Let’s not make any more out of this than there should be. The kid is just 15, after all. But we’ll see what comes of sending the tapes to Bremen, whatever tapes can be produced on such short notice. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that more of our local talent gets noticed overseas, because as my friends have known, I’ve complained quite a bit that Singaporeans are stingy with appreciation.

It may seem that we sometimes only appreciate talent that has made it big elsewhere and come back (eg. Corinne May, Vanessa Mae, Tanya Chua, Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin, et al.), but of course we have our local kings and queens of Mediacorp (eg. Zoe Tay, Zhu Houren, Jeannette Aw, Li Nanxing, et al.) who haven’t had to leave our shores to garner their huge followings overseas.

We have talent, in spades. Let’s not shovel them overseas, because that might just dig us into a hole we can never get out of. OK, bad extension on the metaphor.

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