Monday, August 25, 2008


Critics are present everywhere and in all situations. When the Singapore table tennis team players Wang Yeugu, Feng Tianwei and Li Jiawei won Singapore a much anticipated silver medal since Tan Howe Liang's bronze medal in 1960, Singaporeans were torn between gratitude and patriotism. Their gripe? The paddlers aren't true-breed Singaporeans, but foreign talents. What makes it even more ironic is that they are Chinese, and they lost the gold to top Chinese players.

When Usain Bolt won the men's 100m and 200m sprint event, he celebrated as a true-blooded Jamaican would – he exclaimed in exhilaration to the cameras that he is Number 1, he danced around the tracks, wiggling and jiggling his tall, broad and muscular stature, and posed the victorious archer's pose of one hand pointing towards the sky and another placed at his chest. IOC President Jacque Rogge criticised Bolt's antics and suggested Bolt should have shook hands and congratulated the other competitors instead of basking in his own glory. A number of divided views have emerged following Bolt's victorious but controversial antics.

Michelle Obama was questioned on her patriotism following her infamous speech earlier this year: “For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.” It is unfortunate that a statement as harmless as that could give rise to contentious views on what could possible by America's first black First Lady. At that point, Michelle Obama's two Ivy League Universities education, her devotion to her husband, family and country were discounted.

When we consider the malicious and injuring spirit of criticism, may we be reminded to hold the reins of our mouth and ponder on the positive before we leash on the negative. If we are capable of building and edifying rather than tearing down and crushing, why not choose the former?

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