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Sad to lose icon of earlier age and all it stood for

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MANORAJ RAJATHURAI

I write with regard to the impending loss of Farrer Park as a sporting arena.

It is a shame that we keep losing bits, in this case a significant bit, of our past.

By the time we reach the 100th year of our existence as a nation, will there be anything left to remind us of what Singapore was like once, especially those areas that made us what we are today?

Farrer Park helped build character and instil discipline in our young men and women while keeping them fit.

As a former sports journalist, I remember covering many events there. In particular football, and how our greats rose from the open fields to shine for club and country.

Farrer Park's heyday was the 1970s, when, with the support of the people in the surrounding area, it became a busy place, offering much activity and excitement. Many frequented the area in the late afternoons and early evenings, to play or watch.

This was before professionalism crept into the sport in a big way, and money changed everything.

Camaraderie was built up on those pitches, and we had one of our best national football teams in the 70s.

A lot of the sports that used to be played there has since then moved to modern facilities, which may have all the latest equipment but not the more natural conditions that existed before.

Much of the rough and tumble that toughened youth has been lost, with everything being better organised and more scientific these days. The training and attention aimed at producing better athletes also mollycoddle them, to the point where they seem incapable of doing anything for themselves.

Farrer Park symbolised those early days, of wide open spaces, the freedom to experiment, and of skills picked up on the streets before the turf became available. It will be sad to see it go.

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