Football fans or not, there is no doubt that the Ben Davis saga has been a hot topic among Singaporeans in the past few days.
For the benefit of those living under the rock (but seriously, what kind of rock sia… no wifi ah??), here’s a quick recap on what this saga is all about:
- On the 13 July, it was reported that 17-year-old Singaporean footballer Benjamin James Davis (Ben Davis in short) signed a professional deal of his career with newly promoted Premier League club Fulham FC.
- Unfortunately, on the 15 July, in a statement released by Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) confirmed that Ben Davis’s application to defer his national service (NS) enlistment has been rejected as he “does not meet the criteria for long-term deferment from full-time NS”.
- A day after the release of the statement by MINDEF, on the 16 July, Ben Davis’s father, Harvey Davis, told the media that the family is prepared to allow him to renounce his Singaporean citizenship in order to fulfil his footballing dreams.
- On the 17 July, Senior Minister Of State for Defence Heng Chee How said that Ben Davis’ NS deferment appeal will be rejected if no few facts are presented in his appeal.
- The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) stepped in and said on the 18 July that it strongly supported Ben Davis’ request to defer his NS obligations, and will work with the teenager and his family to “persuade” the MINDEF.
Unsurprisingly, sentiments amongst Singaporeans have been divided: 1) to grant Ben Davis NS deferment, 2) not to grant Ben Davis the NS deferment.
Amidst the hot debate, it is actually extremely heartwarming (even surprising!) to see that many Singaporeans are actually so supportive of Ben Davis deferring his NS to pursue his dream of playing in the EPL.
Which probably means the day of Singaporeans quit being xenophobic and be receptive of foreign talents might be nearing after all!
Just so you know, Ben Davis was born in Thailand to an English father and Thai mother before moving to Singapore with his family when he was five. He became a Singapore citizen in 2009.
He also studied at the Singapore Sports School from 2013 to 2015 before moving to London’s Harrow High School in 2016.
Technically speaking, that makes Ben Davis an “imported foreign talent” too, no meh? So now support foreign talent can ah?
But remember Singaporeans were crying foul about how the Table Tennis team representing Singapore in the 2016 Olympics ain’t true-blue Singaporeans?
So how does that make Ben Davis different from the China-born players who represented Singapore to compete in world games but were criticized so much leh?
The football is round, table tennis ball also round. Don’t so double standard lah.