Interview by Red Sports Writer, Jan Lin

Red Sports was in deep admiration of the dedication of Raffles Girls School's PE teacher Mr James Ong, who pledged to shave off his hair should his B Division basketball girls bring home the 2008 Championship title.

“Shave! Shave! Shave!” echoed through the corridors outside the Toa Payoh Sports Hall at the conclusion of the National Schools B Division girls basketball championships on Tuesday afternoon. As the Rafflesians bagged the 2008 Championship title, the highlight of their post-victory party was undoubtedly the ceremonial head shaving event, which commenced right after the final outside Toa Payoh Sports Hall as the RGS basketballers eagerly showed off their hidden talent in "hairdressing".

The perky RGS basketballers whipped out the shavers they had armed themselves with, laid out newspapers on the ground and sat the popular teacher-in-charge right in the middle of the on-looking crowd. A few of the girls then took turns to trim away Mr James Ong's wavy black locks while the rest engrossed themselves in videoing the classic moment. Mr Ong simply buried his face in his hands, grimacing yet good-humoured.

The amiable Mr James Ong speaks to Red Sports about his involvement with the RGS Basketball Team.

Red Sports: How do you feel about your girls' victory today?

Mr Ong: I'm very proud of them. We weren't exactly expecting it because we know this year wouldn't be smoothsailing. In fact, they had a tough first round draw and the second round was just as difficult.

We've played against Nanyang before. My girls came in knowing that they are very worthy opponents, but they were very hyped up for the game today. So I'm very proud that they played their best today.

Red Sports: Will the school be giving them any incentive for their victory?

Mr Ong: (Laughs) Not exactly! I think for them, and I've told them, it is good [for them] in a sense that they are helping the school to be achieving in more areas.

Red Sports: Is this the first basketball title for Raffles?

Mr Ong: For B Division, as far back as we know in the record of the past 20 years, yes this is the first. The C Division girls have been winning. But this group of B Division girls lost to Anglican 2 years ago when they were in C Division!

Red Sports: Who do you feel is the most outstanding in the team?

Mr Ong: It is very hard for me to say, because I know them. Some of them don't look very outstanding today but…I think for our game we always emphasise on everybody contributing and I think that's the beautiful thing about them.

Especially today, everybody contributed, we really are not able to single out one person who has solely contributed to the win. Everybody did their part from defending to scoring, even the scoring was very well "spread out". It wasn't one single player scoring all the time! And that is what I'm most glad about.

Red Sports: Are you a basketball player yourself?

Mr Ong: Yes…Actually I've been coaching them because half-way through the season, when the South Zone just started, their coach actually sustained an injury. So I had to take over the team all the way until the start of the National rounds. I do coach them during off season as well.

Catch the RedSportsTV story below!

What Happened to James Ong’s Hair?


A note to the RGS community, if you have footage of the – ahem – shearing of Mr Ong, please let us know! We’d love to post it or link to it. Click here for other RedSportsTV highlights of the B Div Basketball Girls Final!