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ST - Different Parties, Same Soccer Team

ST - Different Parties, Same Soccer Team

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Published by: bryan_ti on Nov 13, 2011
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11/13/2011

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[buy a copy of ST today] 
Different parties, same soccer team
PAP and WP MPs show teamwork on the fieldPublished on Nov 13, 2011By Royston SimWorkers' Party (WP) MPPritam Singh wasbearing down on goalduring the inauguralParliament versus mediafootball match when hewas fouled.The referee pointed tothe spot and awarded apenalty. Minister of Statefor Trade and IndustryTeo Ser Luck - thePeople's Action Party MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC - handed Mr Singh the ball.'I told him he should take it because he won it,' Mr Teo said.Said Mr Singh: 'I agreed to take it when he asked me to.'
Just as Mr Singh was lining up the spot kick, Speaker of Parliament MichaelPalmer - the PAP MP for Punggol East - shouted from the sidelines: 'Pritam, ifyou score the penalty, you'll get one more minute!'
More parliamentary speaking time for the Aljunied GRC MP?No pressure for Mr Singh, who promptly wrong-footed the goalkeeper to secure aconsolation goal for his side. The Parliament team lost 2-1 to a media teamcomprising journalists from Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp.Nine MPs turned out for the Parliament team - seven from the PAP and two from theWP - which also comprised Parliament House staff and civil servants.The PAP MPs were Mr Palmer, Mr Teo, Acting Minister for CommunityDevelopment, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, Minister of State (NationalDevelopment and Manpower) Tan Chuan-Jin, Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy
 
Mohamad, Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Edwin Tong and Nee Soon GRC MP PatrickTay. Mr Singh and his Aljunied GRC teammate Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manaprepresented the opposition.Mr Teo first broached the idea of a football match to his fellow MPs back in August.'It's a new Parliament, with more non-ruling party representatives,' he told TheSunday Times.'Debates give the impression that we are always on the opposite side, but it'simportant to show we are on the same side for Singapore.'He took some time to figure out which field would be available and the date. Thehour-long match was held on Nov 4 at Jalan Besar Stadium, in conjunction with adialogue on the Vision 2030 blueprint for sports here.
He verbally sounded out the WP members on the idea of a Parliament footballteam. Mr Singh said he checked with WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiangout of respect, and Mr Low was 'completely agreeable'.
When Mr Teo next asked about the match, Mr Singh said he and Mr Faisal were onboard. 'Initially, I was surprised, but I think it speaks of his initiative,' the WP MP saidof being approached by Mr Teo.Mr Teo said he was surprised by the cohesion between the players, given that theyhad never played together before. 'There was a lot of encouragement on the field,'he said.There was plenty of teasing, too. Said Mr Palmer: 'Not all of us were as in shape aswe should have been. Patrick was complaining about feeling his age, and Zaqy wasmoving a bit slower than usual.'Said Mr Tan: 'It was fun. It's been a while since I played football, and I survived.'Mr Singh also lamented a 30m shot that cannoned off the bar. Reflecting on thematch, he said: 'We need to have fun. All our differences were put aside. There wasno need to defend our parties and we started forming friendships.'Hopefully, we can develop a sense of mutual respect. They probably know in theirheart of hearts that we have the interests of Singapore at heart.'He agreed to join the team because he felt it was 'quite apparent that a few thingsrise above politics, and sports is one of them'.

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