Loser Datuks

loserThe state government of Penang has recently decided that they will be giving our Olympics silver medalist, Lee Chong Wei, a Datukship (a title, sort of like a Sir in the UK). This is in addition to the RM300,000 (£48,000) award and a RM3,000 per month pension for the rest of his life. Several people have expressed their opinions on this to me, and I thought that I should also express my personal opinion on this issue as well.

To sum it up in one sentence: I do not agree with what is happening.

Some friends suggested that he should have been given a million ringgit for his achievement in the Olympics. They claim that he has put out much sweat and blood for his nation and they should give him something more for all his effort. I think that to give him a million ringgit is dumb. Look at what it did for the whole 1992 Thomas Cup squad. Instead of spurring them on, money turned them all into losers. It would be a waste to see Lee Chong Wei turn into a loser at his age. So, it might be better to give him a little less, and make him work harder for the 2012 Olympics.

Some people think that it is great that he will get a datukship. Personally, I think that it is a bad idea as well. The opposition has always chided the BN government for awarding Datukships for lacklustre achievements such as failing to sail around the world and now, failing to get us the gold and better our results. Think of Nicole David and how many long years she had been World Champion before she even got a smell of her title. It is certainly unfair to put her in the same league as Lee Chong Wei.

If we are to set the precedent that Olympic silvers should get a Datukship, then what are we going to give those who will one day get a gold for sure. I am still confident that our country can secure an Olympic gold one day. It is only a question of time and in what event. If we do this, I move that Nicole David should be awarded a Tan Sri ship instead, since she has definitely achieved more than Lee Chong Wei. I’m sure that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng can make the proper arrangements as she is from Penang as well.

I do not think that it is a good idea to give so much to someone who had let down a nations’ hopes and dreams. This sends the wrong message to the people that losers are heroes too. I thought that the opposition government stood for something more, but I guess that I thought wrong. That is why I have never trusted politicians from both sides of the fence. While they chide the government for doing one thing, they end up doing the very same thing when they take over.

I do believe that he deserves a consolation prize for coming second to boost him on. So, I think that the cash award and lifetime pension is enough. Most civil servants work for decades and contributed more to the country than him and still end up with smaller pensions. When he lifts the Olympic gold, that is when he will be a hero in my eyes. For now, he is just the guy who got badly trounced by the real winner.

However, I can see how this is playing out in the political field. Lee Chong Wei is a Malaysian Chinese hero. He has managed to scale incredible heights and reached for the stars. He is an example for the rest of us to follow. He has done more than any of us could ever do in our lifetimes. Some of us see it as some sort of vindication and that if the Malay losers can get Datukships, then our Chinese losers deserve the very same treatment too. Sigh…

Lee Chong Wei is definitely a popular figure, particularly in Penang. Not giving him a state title might not play very well with the Penang electorate, who have been struck dumb by his glory. I am sure that they are so proud that one of their own (never mind that he was born in Perak) had managed to achieve greatness. While they are at it, maybe the DAP might want to get him to run for a state seat and put him up for a federal ticket, in the 2012 elections, right after the summer Olympics. He would probably have peaked by then, and being a politician might be a good way for him to retire.

Alright, some of you may think that I’m being too harsh. Personally, I have nothing against Chong Wei. I will agree that he has worked hard and achieved a lot of great things, things that I cannot even dream of doing. I even organised it so that people could come watch his final match on the big TV at my place in Cambridge. But I’m just afraid that he is being pawned by the political parties and he does not have the wits to see it. I hate it when politicians politicise things just for their own advantage.

Oh, and before you shoot me, there are others who think that it is going overboard too.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

3 thoughts on “Loser Datuks”

  1. Doesn’t look like Chong Wei has any options rite? Like you said, a pawn.

    Maybe you wanna check out where he had to travel to collect the RM 300,000….

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