Friday, September 21, 2012

MORE INVENTIVE WAYS TO RAISE FUNDS??

Someone anonymously remarked that a chess cruise is being organised which may consist of male and female World Champions, past and present, among the guests. This event could make a great fund-raiser for chess in Singapore - definitely a first for this region!

I did not publish the remark,doubting its authenticity, but then, we should recognise creativity when we see it. As an idea, as with the Karpov and Kasparov visits, there is always a possibility of making it happen when a small but dedicated team of volunteers avail themselves to work for the promotion of local chess. CES has done it, so we should not limit ourselves in Singapore on the excuse of lack of talent in this area of event management. I was glad to have been a witness and contributor to the visits which beats organising 10000 tournaments in terms of arousing chess interest here.

Perhaps the timing of events leading to the FIDE general elections may have caused the SCF to react the way it did back in 2010 (see here) , but now? Surely with most of the major events like the World Championship and Olympiads out of the way, the Federation should aim for such mega events in order to stir up interest amongst our new ministers and permanent secretary taking over the Education portfolio. In fact, Ms Chan Lai Fung used to be a National player and if I recall, she was in the SCF EXCO at one point.  CES did not rely on any connections to stage the visits of the 2 ex World Champions at all.  Surely with VP Shashi, SCF can do better than just host 1 dinner to raise funds?


27 comments:

  1. Another brave posting by John!
    Well done.
    We can only hope SCF and local chess people read your blog with an open mind.
    Thankfully this is not the National Chess Conversation.

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  2. Why not? This would be the perfect platform. Why wait till October??

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  3. Hi John,

    another great article and may the chess people in Singapore unite.
    I heard that as long as scf is willing to seek the help of ces, many good things will happen for the betterment of chess for the masses.

    Come on scf, promote chess for chess passion.
    Anyone doing chess for other reasons such as love of money or vain glory, or take office as their children play chess, please kindly step aside. Don't anyhow step step though, may fall into drain:))

    Anyone know how many office bearers have children playing chess, especially playing for Singapore?

    Tang Shi Fu

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  4. John is right! With so many prominent and well known personalities in SCF's ex-EXCO and current EXCO, why is it so difficult to raise money? Is there a problem with the credibility of SCF, one wonders....?

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  5. I don't see why parents of chess-players cannot contribute to chess. One good example is the late Dr Wong Yip Chong. Other parents who served in the SCF before were George Wong.So long as they have the interests of all chess-players in Singapore at heart, that's good.

    Dr Wong and George were in my committee back in 1987 and we worked hard to organise the Asian Teams in Singapore when it was in a recession. George bailed me out in 1998 when I had problems with the accounts.Dr Wong's obituary said it all. These were truly selfless individuals who served without hidden agenda. I urge all current office-bearers who are parents to look upon them as role models.

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    1. Let's not forget also Choong Liong Onn, Arthur Lim and Richard Seah, though Richard's son is less involved in chess.

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  6. I have also been wondering how the SCF can be in a better position in terms of funds. It is no secret that there are other national sports associations ("NSAs") in Singapore that suffer from a lack of funds in addition to facing other difficulties including lack of staff or lack of venues for training. The SCF is not in this boat alone.

    The SCF being a non-profit entity has to rely on SSC funding in addition to finding sponsors and well-wishers in addition to looking for funds on its own when the Ex-Co is entirely made up of voluteeers who receive no payment for their time or effort. In addition Ex-Co members have also contributed their own funds to continue some of the SCF activities. This is the same story repeated with the Ex-Cos of other NSAs. You only need to ask the Chairmens of other NSAs and you will hear the same story repeated. Only a few NSAs have been able to have corporate sponsors. There are more than 35 NSAs in Singapore but as everyone knows less than 10 NSAs have any corporate sponsors including football, table tennis, badminton, sailing to name but a few. What happens to the rest of the NSAs including the SCF?

    It is good for this blog to raise the issue of funding as it should not be just the SCF Ex-Co that has to think of funding ideas. The funding ideas can come from anyone but also there is the question of feasibility. The irony is that sometimes to implement a fund-raising idea, you have to have some funds to begin with as well as personnel to implement the idea! It is not enough to suggest an idea and then sit back and say that is the end of it. Who implements the idea if the Ex-Co are themselves made up of fellow Singaporeans who have their own jobs and families to think of?

    I have therefore also realised that if i do suggest a fund-raising idea, would i be in a position to assist in implementing it? There can a lot of well-meaning and good fund-raising ideas and i hope those ideas will appeear on this blog and communicated to the SCF as well but the anonymous persons who do suggest such ideas should be in a position to assist in implementing it bearing in mind the Ex-Co of all NSAs are volunteers and most NSAs including the SCF have only very few full-time staff, if they can afford it.

    Siva

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    1. Siva,

      I am a little puzzled by your comment.

      You say that ideas can come from sources other than the SCF, but are subject to feasibility in terms of personnel and capital. With regard to the 2 visits by the ex-world champions, I can proudly say that the personnel who helped and executed the project were mainly Singaporeans with familys and jobs and did it anyway out of their passion and desire to create the impossible. Even commercial groups have come forward to lend a hand in terms of manpower, discounts and offers for premises at no cost owing to the impending spectacle the visit can generate.

      I am aware that not all NSAs operate with same way as they have different people running it. Hence the degree of success of the sport depends largely on the enthusiasm, drive and will of the committees running the NSA. Take the case of the SIGC for example. If the 4 NSAs did not pull their weight in getting the funds then we would not even see it today. Fund raising involves, committment, lots of time and plenty of selling by each committee member.

      As the saying goes," When there is a will, there is always a way".

      Let's start asking if there is indeed the will first before we look at the ways to make anything happen. For those who are too tided up to offer any committment out of their time, then I seriously wonder if they should be in the EXCO in the first place?


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    2. John i think i wrote my reply to your post above in the wrong discussion string. Is it possible to put it here? The debate about funding is timely and new ideas are needed.

      Siva

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    3. John that is precisely my point. The other NSAs have difficulties in funding despite having volunteers who spend so much of their personal time raising funds. They are passionate advocates of their sport. They give generously of their time but even when there is all this passion, corporates will still look at the bottom line. I would hesitate to suggest that the ExCos of other NSAs do not work their socks off to look for funding. When you meet up with the officials of the SSC (as i had previously done), you will find that they do acknowledge that the different NSAs are trying their hardest to raise funds but in the end there is only so much corporate sponsorship going around. Even the S-League clubs are struggling financially despite football being such a popular sport. Just this year the chairmen of various S-League clubs came together to raise the issue of funding, despite the annual funding they already receive from the FAS and Singapore Pools. Requested by Siva

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  7. John
    I am troubled by the comment from Mr Tang on Sep 21,4.03 pm which seems to allege that Scf Exco members are there for money. Is Mr Tang trying to imply wrongdoing on the part of Exco members? Can I also check what your own position is, having moderated the comment and published it? This seems to be a serious allegation. thank you.

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    1. To the above poster,

      Sorry but you did not leave your name.

      I read Mr Tang's statement as an admonition, a warning to those who aspire to serve in public office with their own agendas. There was no hint nor insinuation of wrongdoing on anyone's part nor accusation. Just as I've always maintained that SCF EXCO members should serve all chess-players. It was this premise that I have allowed the post.

      If you truly feel that the above statement is more of an allegation, please email me your identity. I do not wish to be embroiled in any libelous recourse because of too much reading between the lines.

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  8. Hi,

    I am a chess parent, and just want to share a simple observation of mine.

    There's a chess school called "The Chess Academy" and it's run by an ex-SCF staff. The trophies given out at competitions organized by this chess school are BIGGER and more generous. A closer look of their trophies show that their trophies (and chess competitions) are sponsored by Mind Stretcher. Frankly, the turnout and participation rate of competitions organized by this chess school are nothing compared to those organized by SCF, yet they are still able to offer such generous trophies due to the sponsorship.

    I wonder why the ex-SCF staff can source for sponsorship for his current chess school, while he's unable to source for funding or sponsorship during his tenor at SCF? Maybe it's really the credibility of the SCF....not sure.

    Anyone in the know may want to shed some light on this?

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  9. Well the sponsor may not have been offering it at the time he was in SCF, couldn't it?

    I must caution you in extrapolating your conclusions based on this observation. By implying that SCF's credibility is at stake, you are making an allegation liable for libel. I'd advise you to seek clarification with the SCF to get to the facts of the matter in order not to mislead. I shall not be posting any replies to your question. Let me remind all commenting parties that I believe in fair and substantiated comments but will not publish opinionated views with derogatory innuendo. This comment will stand, mainly as a reminder.

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  10. Hi John
    there is actually another anonymous post on this very thread which directly suggests that SCF's credibility is an issue. Just checking, why did you allow that post on 21 Sep 4.28pm? It is much more direct than what anonymous 24 Sep 12.20am said.
    For that matter, why do you allow comments from people like "Tang Shi Fu" ? I have not been a member of the chess community for as long as you have but I can tell a false name when I see it. Unless Tang shared his real name with you privately?
    I thought you might want to bear these issues in mind as if left unchecked the credibility og your own blog would be at stake.
    best.

    ps. I am a lawyer. It is considered a libel if one repeats or publishes an insinuation that is later found to be a libel. could I respectfully suggest that you might want to bear this in mind....

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    1. I do not have have extra-sensory powers to know who is real or false, so I will reserve judgement on your remark on Tang Shi Fu's identity. All anonymous commenters to me are faceless so it is not their identity that matters to me but the point they are trying to make. I am sure that readers by now would agree that I have been doing my best to focus on issues rather than character assasinations, so I leave them to decide whether they find my comments credible or not. For that matter, there's no way to ascertain if you are who you are, unless your identity can be verified? Therefore, its best that we learn to see issues and not attach too much emotional interpretation to the comments. Believe me, I get my fair share of such comments that at times I feel like removing anonymous comment from my blog. It's a chore to weed out what's relevant and what's not. You can be assured that my blog is not to be used by any wisecrack trying to injure to cast malice to anyone as long as I am policing it.

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    2. Dear "ps." Since you are holding yourself out as a lawyer and offering advice here on what is a "libel", you should first identify yourself and the law firm you are licensed to give advice under. If writing on behalf of a client, you should also disclose this...

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    3. As John has allowed anonymous postings on this blog, unfortunately there is no obligation to identify yourself. I find it strange for an anonymous poster to ask another anonymous poster to identify himself. The purported "advice" given is just common sense practice that bloggers should adopt. You do not have to be a lawyer to say that. The poster merely mentioned his profession to give some context to what he was saying. That is all.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Thanks, John, for your detailed reply which certainly should help to allay concerns. It it just that there have been occasions in the past where I feel your own standards which are commendable have not been met. Going through some of your earlier entries.....there are some attacks against the SCF president himself based on what seem to be business disagreements. I can't help but feel that there was an error of judgement in publishing this on your blog. unless you agree that some wrongdoing has taken place? I guess what I am trying to say (not just as someone trained legally, but as someone trying to be impartial) is that if you say you are not going to let your blog be used as a vehicle for others, you should stand by this 100%. All the best!

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  13. I think it is good that other readers have raised this issue of anonymous posters attempting to insinuate and to cast aspersions while remaining behind their cloak of anonymity. IM Goh had raised this issue on his blog recently as well about trolls. SCN i believe also had similar issues. Even i had the same issue with a reply that was falsely attributed to me in this same blog. Fortunately John acted quickly upon hearing from me and the mischievous comment was removed.

    The timely reminder from another reader about blogs that permit postings where there are no outright libelous statements made but rather sly insinuations also bears consideration by bloggers such as John, when he allows anonymous posters. It is difficult to police, as John himself acknowledges, but i would also respectfully remind John that the difficulty of policing is not a mitigating factor for the dissemination of potentially libelous remarks.

    John's blog serves a useful tool for the chess-loving community and should continue to do so for the expression of good ideas and thought-provoking comments without being hijacked by trolls and other mischief makers. We should work together to prevent such anonymous posters from undermining the hard work of well-meaning bloggers such as IM Goh, Junior Tay, Olimpiu Urcan and John Wong who are doing their part for Singapore chess in their own way.

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  14. You will need to cite examples to substantiate your views I'm afraid. If there are views expressed in earlier years regarding the conflict of interest surrounding the SCF and its office-bearers, these are factual until they are resolved and I'm glad they have been resolved over time. So I do not think there was any error of judgement on my part.

    I hope this clears the air and sets the tone for future parties wanting to comment on my blog. If anyone wishes to air their views (not grievances), they are most welcome.

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    1. Please note that my above reply was to the poster at 11:52 and not to Siva. I wholeheartedly support his view that trolling and am doing my part to keep the blog safe from incriminating notions.

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  15. hi John. This statement you made will further reinforce the credibility of your blog. Well done!
    But, I hope you do not mind me saying, you need to watch for potential conflicts of interest on your part.
    You are after all a chess trainer who lies outside of the SCF system.
    I notice you have carried some pretty negative comments on SCF junior training. Allegations that trainees are taught unsportsmanlike conduct. Do you regard these allegations as proven, since you carry them? This touches (in my view) on whether you are allowing your blog to be used as a vehicle for others.
    on the other hand, if you have first hand evidence of malpractice in SCF training, could you please surface? This will help all parents in the hard choices that have to be made when it comes to choosing the right path for their kids.
    Thanks.

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    1. I believe you are referring to a poster's comments on what his son learnt during junior training. I can only say that these were made by him, but I will say categorically that those were his views and not mine. Whatever differences I have with the training methods of the SCF Junior Squad have already been documented in my posts on this blog. I do not attend the training and so there is no way for me to confirm the notion of picking up unsportsmanlike conduct. But I did hear firsthand from my conversation with a parent who said his son had started using swear words after attending Junior Squad training that he had to take him out of it.

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    2. There has to be some basis to suggest that attending a 3.5-4 hr session once a week may give rise to the child using swear words when many parents are already despairing that their children are hearing swear words when in Primary 1 from older children in the same school It is an unpleasant aspect of today that our children are exposed to swear words so frequently and at such young ages. You just have to sit in a bus with a group of school children and more likely than not a swear word will appear somehow.

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