THE famous Lions of the ‘Golden Era’ of the 1980s and 90s put on their boots at the Our Tampines Hub on February 22 to sparkle the inaugural Chiam See Tong Sports Fund (CSTSF) Charity Shield.
The score was secondary as despite going down 6-2 to 2018 National Football League Division Two champions Singapore Khalsa Association, the star-spangled likes of Malek Awab, Robert Sim, Mohd Noor Ali, Tay Peng Kee, Shahri Rahim, Steven Tan and so many more let their iconic feet do the talking for a worthy cause.
They proved that age was not a barrier to staying fit and remaining active in football. And that they could still entertain fans even going past the half-century mark.
The match was organised to raise funds for the CSTSF to aid under-resourced athletes. Slightly more than $3,000 was reportedly raised through tickets sales and donations.
“We strongly advocate a many hands of deck approach in seeking solutions to help raise the profile of our athletes,” says Jose Raymond, the chairman of the organising committee of the Charity Shield 2019,
“Sports brings people together and helps us build social unity and community bonding. It also serves as an avenue to help many find alternative career paths. It is our duty at the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund to help our young Singaporeans achieve their dreams.”
Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, who is also a Vice-President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), and a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency was the guest of honour.
Also at hand were FAS President Lim Kia Ton, General Secretary Yazeen Buhari, and Co-Patron of the CSTSF Lina Chiam.
Singapore’s favourite football ‘son’ Fandi Ahmad, in an earlier message, said: “This is a meaningful initiative by the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund to bring us together to raise funds for a good cause.” He missed the match because of evening training of the Young Lions squad.
Former Singapore skipper Nazri Nasir added: “We have been touched by the work done by the CSTSF to help other under-resourced athletes. This is just our small way of supporting the cause. We hope that as many football fans and members of the public come out to watch us and support the CSTSF in its mission.”
The President of the Singapore Khalsa Association Hernaikh Singh gave the thumbs-up, too. He said: “We are honoured to do our part. This is just a small way of bringing people together to do good for society, and to provide some help to those in need.”
Even famous Bollywood entertainment joint, Moshi Moshi Bollywood (MMB), bought charity tickets to offer to under-privileged football fans. “We’ve always supported football and the Chaim See Tong Sports Fund is a noble gesture to offer a helping hand to future sporting champions,” said MMB Director Ricky Sapuran Singh, an iconic actor-businessman.
Apart from the CSTSF Charity Shield, sanctioned by the FAS. the Fund organised the Splash for Singapore swimathon in December 2018 at the Aquatic Performance Swimming. It even managed to get into the Singapore Book of Records on December 30 after it managed to get 203 swimmers to tread water for a total of five minutes at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex.
Mr Chiam is famously known as one of the icons of the opposition. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Potong Pasir from 1984 to 2011, while his wife, Lina Chiam served a term as a Non-Constituency MP from 2011 to 2015.
He, too, created big waves after serving as the Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir for 27 years from 1984 to 2011 and is well regarded as the “People’s MP” by thousands of Singaporeans.
Mr Chiam, an avid sportsman during this teenage years, hopes that setting up the foundation will further assist the needy sports aspirants, who currently fall outside of current systems.
For the record, he was first elected to office on December 22 1984 when he defeated the People’s Action Party candidate Mah Bow Tan in the battle for the single seat ward of Potong Pasir, picking up 60.3% of the vote. He subsequently served as a Member of Parliament for six consecutive terms as the representative for Potong Pasir, and stood in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at the 2011 General Elections, where he lost.
He, however, did not take part in the 2015 General Elections after suffering two strokes.
Co-Patron of the CSTSF Lina Chiam says: “It is our mantra that no one should be left behind, and we should nurture as many young Singaporean champions as possible.”
She adds that one of the major objectives of the Chiam See Tong Sports Foundation is to help athletes who do not qualify for state funding for one reason or another, but who display tremendous grit and determination in wanting to achieve their dreams.