By Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports.
The graduated crew with other REDcrew and REDinterns. Back row (from left to right): Leslie Tan, Erwin Wong, Colin Tung, Koh Yizhe, Alan Chiang, Chan Hui Mui. Front row (from left to right): Jan Lin, Jenell Tan, Alethia Tiang, Yvonne Yap, Vanessa Lim. Not in picture: Lai Jun Wei (He’s taking the picture lah). (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Six months ago, Red Sports welcomed its second batch of interns. On 17th July, 2009, four of them graduated from the REDaction! Internship programme to join the REDcrew.
Alan Chiang, Alethia Tiang, Chan Hui Mui and Colin Tung were part of a larger crew who covered the inter-school competitions, Out of the four, Alan, Colin and Hui Mui also joined the REDcrew in covering the inaugural Asian Youth Games.
Red Sports editor Leslie Tan shared his memorable moments spent with the interns.
"My most memorable moment was seeing the interns step into the Asian Youth Games crew and contribute with passion, enthusiasm and perseverance. Someone asked me if there were crew members at the other venues and I said “I hope so!” because I didn’t know if they would show up. The interns did show up and got the job done. Credit to them. The AYG was difficult to cover since none of us except for Jan Lin has ever covered a multi-sport event. But we had so much fun that we are still suffering from post-AYG blues. Some more than others!”
“The amazing part was that the crew never met because of the H1N1 situation and we truly were an online, digital crew. It was great to see everyone doing their bit, whether it was writing, shooting, sub-editing. The crew can be proud of the fact that it posted 64 stories just on Team Singapore alone."
REDcrew and REDaction! founder Jan Lin added, "Three of the four graduates were part of the Asian Youth Games crew (Alan, Colin and Hui Mui), and a highlight for me was seeing how much they have grown and matured over the course of the six months with us. While others were learning how to swim, they have taken their AYG tasks like a fish to water - that should be a highlight for them! Because I trust that being ‘thrown’ in the thick of an international event has not only developed each of them professionally, but also personally as a youthful and ‘garang’ (gung-ho) individual."
"Working with them has definitely been a fulfilling experience. I had the opportunity to watch them grow over the six months and see them reap the returns of their hard work at the end. Of course everyone had their various ups and downs, but they certainly proved themselves right till the end," said REDcrew Lai Jun Wei.
This is their story.
Alan Chiang has covered the basketball scene extensively and currently holds the record for completing his required stories in the shortest amount of time. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Alan Chiang, a 24-year-old sports junkie, will be pursuing his Honours in Journalism this coming August at Murdoch University in Perth. Stating Triathlon as his favourite sport where the "adrenaline rush (is) simply shiok!", Alan regularly participates in major sports events held in Singapore such as the Sundown Marathon and the OCBC Cycle Singapore.
"I wanted to have a go at sports journalism. I had been doing a lot of video production. It’s a change of environment and partly, my passion for sports that got me to join this internship," said Alan.
Throughout his internship, Alan covered the A and B Division Basketball Championship extensively, churning out articles with the REDcrew.
"I had to face reluctant teachers and coaches who simply refused to talk us. But I managed to sneak to the players to have a chat with them! There are always alternatives!" he recalled.
REDcrew Koh Yizhe and Vanessa Lim were together with Alan when he covered the schools’ basketball scene.
Yizhe said, "For Alan, (a highlight) would be holding the record for completing his 20 required stories within a month!"
Vanessa added, "Covering the A Division Basketball final between Hwa Chong Institution and Innova Junior College was a memorable moment for me. It was an exciting and extremely close match, and we were (secretly) rooting for the underdogs to win, since they were holding onto the lead."
The Asian Youth Games was certainly one of the biggest events Alan had gone to.
"The week-long event was an eye-opener. My best moment will be from there, because the media is well taken care of! Over the course of the internship, a highlight for me was to be able to meet talents of the future, and the parents, teachers and students who appreciate Red Sports and thank us along the way."
As for progressing from intern to crew, a modest Alan said, "It’s just the beginning. There’s still a lot more to learn, and every part of being a Red Sports writer or photographer has been enriching. In future, I hope to be able to cover international events overseas, and perhaps take on the role as a sub-editor."
As for his advice to the current batch of interns, he had this to say.
"Go out and have fun. Don’t be stressed with zero statistics. Make friends and you will get them!"
Alethia Tiang will be leaving for Brisbane to further her studies. (Photo 3 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Alethia Tiang, 21 years old this year, is currently waiting for the academic year to start in Australia. She is planning to further her studies overseas at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.
"I joined the internship because I wanted to get the experience of being a journalist while I was still schooling and Red Sports offered the best opportunity to do this," said Alethia.
She added, "Over the course of the internship, a highlight would be having to deal with the sensitive school sports public, and being labelled as biased or one-sided or mean. It taught me that it’s not easy to please the public with what you write, even though you meant it to be neutral. It also made me more tolerant and patient with readers."
Alethia’s favourite sport is track & field. "I really loved hurdling my life away in secondary school. However, netball would be my favourite sport to cover. Track makes me feel so emotionally involved with my past experiences. Netball was my next favourite sport, plus I understood how the game is played."
"One particular moment which I remembered with Alethia was during the B and C Division girls Volleyball final," said Jun Wei. "One of our crew who was supposed to come host the RedSportsTV episode could not make it at the last minute. Alethia was our next available person. Between Alethia, Yizhe and I, I thought she would be the most eligible bachelorette to put in front of the camera! She willingly did it without any hesitation or doubt, even though we had to do several takes because she kept NG-ing."
"It was scary!" pipped Alethia about that event.
"I hope for more people to know about Red Sports and to read the site often! I think it feels great for the athletes that are being featured, because they know their efforts have been recognised, and that it’s not just about the elite," said Alethia. "As for the current batch of interns - Enjoy the experience! Red Sports is a great environment to learn in."
A netball enthusiast, Chan Hui Mui has now realised her dreams of capturing the action on the netball court. (Photo 4 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Chan Hui Mui, a second-year student in Jurong Junior College, is another graduate. A netball enthusiast, she likes the feeling of "flying" on court. "I have been playing it for the past 7 years, and I enjoy being challenged by opponents, especially the guys during mixed games. I love trying new tactics to break the opponent’s defence. Watching netball games is equivalent to watching television, it is part of my daily routine."
"Netball could hardly be found on any form of media in Singapore," lamented Hui Mui. "In fact, Red Sports provides the most updates on netball action that is ongoing in Singapore. Being a netball fanatic, I have always wanted more people to know about netball. To me, as a player, having my fond memories on court being captured was something that I have always wanted. I thought joining Red Sports would give me a platform to fulfill my dreams - Being able to capture the actions of all players on their courts."
Of course it was not all smooth sailing for Hui Mui. "I had problem managing my time well. It was difficult to balance between my school work and duties of a REDintern. Initially, it was quite stressful. Slowly, I learnt to adapt to the environment. Gaining my experience in sports reporting certainly helped too," she recalled. "But my most memorable moment would definitely be my first interview - with netball coach Sng Lee Lee after an intensive match between Vipers and Marlins during the Netball Super League. I was feeling quite scared!"
Jun Wei recalled his experience working with Hui Mui. "I thought that she was a netball fanatic and could only do netball. She also seemed like a ‘kan-jiong spider‘ (anxious and uptight person) to me. She would sms me or drop me messages to make amendments in her articles that had been published. At the AYG, there was no netball so she had to do other things. Turns out she can do stuff like ping pong as well!"
Colin Tung, also a sports junkie like Alan, hopes to write more articles which are investigative and reflective in nature. (Photo 5 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Colin Tung completes the quartet of graduates from the internship programme. 21 years old this year, he will read English at the Nanyang Technological University this August. "My first love for sports was football when I was in primary school. Up to Secondary Two, I played it almost everyday after school and what I loved about it were things such as the simple feel of the ball under your feet, the physicality of the game and the unadulterated joy of scoring a goal amongst other things."
Colin, like Alan, is also a sports junkie. His passion for running can be seen when he continued training hard and writing about his favourite sport despite suffering from a torn hamstring before a competition. His new love developed when he started competitive cross country and middle-distance running in Secondary Two. Since then, athletics took over as his number one sport.
“Writing and sports are two passions of mine and when I learnt of the Red Sports internship, I saw an opportunity to indulge in both. I valued the experiences I had when I competed as a runner in secondary school and JC. Back then, Red Sports was still not set up, and we did not have the luxury of having those experiences chronicled and documented.”
“Joining the internship programme allowed me to do that for those who may not yet realise fully what these experiences mean for them, so that they have something to look back into the future. As such, you can say what we do here at Red Sports is a sort of community service,” shared Colin on his reasons to join REDaction!.
"One compelling reason for me to join Red Sports was also the lack of coverage of track & field in the local media, so track & field was definitely the one sport which I like to cover. I did not want to just wait for a story I wanted to see, but rather take control and be the person who conveys the story. Of course, it is not as easy as just writing what you want, since a story has to be well-rounded, so the responsibility is on the writer. It’s not easy and I am still learning how to do that."
In terms of scale and significance, the biggest event the Red Sports internship has brought to Colin was also the Asian Youth Games where he covered sports such as beach volleyball, football, swimming, and of course his favourite - athletics.
For current REDcrew member Koh Yizhe, the AYG too stood out.
“Each intern will have their own personal highlight. But generally I believe it will be AYG for most of them. It is not everyday that an average youth gets an opportunity to cover an international event,” said Yizhe.
“Even for me now as a graduated intern, this is still a highlight. But for Colin, it would be meeting Quah Ting Wen. He still doesn’t admit it. But that was quite a highlight!" teased Yizhe.
For Colin, a moment which struck him was when he was at a community library in between sessions of the National Inter-school Track & Field Championships.
"I was on one of the computers and next to me were a couple of secondary school girls. In my curiosity, I glanced over to see what site they were on and guess what, they were reading Red Sports! So I took another opportunity to see which article they were reading and they were reading the softball article which I did - the only one I did!"
"Colin was equally as clueless about softball as I was when I asked him to cover the B Division girls 3rd and 4th placing match,” said REDcrew member Jun Wei. “We needed a writer and Colin was one of the few good ones we had. We threw him into the deep end.”
"But Colin did a whole lot of research prior to the match, and on the day itself, he grabbed a few Raffles Girls’ softballers on the bench to explain the game blow by blow as the game unfolded. What amazed me even more was that when I got back home after the match, his story was already up in the drafts waiting to be sub-edited. Mind you it wasn’t a sketchy article, but a 1000-plus word article with in-depth detail, including quotes from the coaches and players. I really had a lot of respect for Colin from then on because he really proved that he could overcome any difficulty."
Colin continued on with his experience at the library.
"As I looked at the two girls who were talking excitedly about the softball game I had written about, I was hoping that I had effected some sort of desire in them to similarly help others capture their moments. The saying goes - The pen is mightier than the sword - and the only reason why that can be so is the impact a writer makes with his words. Through the pen, one can mobilise feelings of nostalgia and excitement in the reader and as people act upon feelings, writers thus have the ability to effect actions."
Colin will be starting his course in English Literature in August, and will be competing in the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Track & Field Championship.
"My hope for Red Sports is for it to be known in every household in Singapore, for it to be adopted as the destination for all Singaporeans to go to for their Singapore Sports Story. Red Sports is really one of its kind and I reckon that it should be a national treasure! They say that sports bond people. I believe that the work Red Sports does go deeper than that such that it bonds Singaporeans by bringing them together onto one site through their love for sports."
Jan said, "What differentiates the Red Sports internship programme and the others out there is, we believe in giving our interns enough authority to ‘run the show’. They get to do ‘real work’ as they get thrown in the deep end with ‘real responsibilities’ to shoulder. So I hope that all of them will apply all that they have learnt and experience throughout the six months, and be able to walk away from this experience having their confidence taken to a new level and believing in themselves (and their talents and abilities) that little bit more."
On his feelings on graduating, Colin said, "I don’t feel much difference being a REDcrew or REDintern. Uncle Les has always given us much trust and freedom so I don’t feel like there’s anything that I haven’t been allowed to do and want to do."
He continued with some advice for the current batch of interns.
"Make yourself comfortable in what you have to do. Don’t ever feel compelled and always enjoy yourself. Why I say this is because readers sometimes have expectations of you to go to certain events or write certain articles but they are, themselves, unwilling to sacrifice their time and energy to do it. Whatever one writes, try and think if it helps anybody, because if it doesn’t, there is no value in the article, I feel. Explore the soul of journalism!"
Both Colin (first from left) and Hui Mui (second from left) have now graduated to join the REDcrew. (Photo 6 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
REDintern Alan Chiang, a triathlon junkie, has been covering the B Division basketball scene. He will leave for Perth to pursue his Honours in Journalism. (Photo 7 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
But with the successful completion of the internship for these four graduates, Alan and Alethia will sadly be leaving us to pursue further studies. Leslie shared, "It’s always sad to see crew members leave! Glad to have met two people who love sport and wanted to contribute back to the Singapore sporting community through Red Sports."
Jan had similar sentiments, "Both of them were my star interns - definitely ranked amongst the top five across the two batches of interns we’ve graduated so far. So I’m really excited to see what the future holds for them. It is nice to know that they will both be pursuing Journalism degrees in Australia, and I wholeheartedly believe that the experience they have had at Red Sports will give them a good footing in their journalism career, especially in a sporting nation like Australia. I hope they will have the chance to share the Singapore sports stories with the Aussies!"
As for what the future holds for the new crew, Leslie revealed, "The new crew can look forward to the Youth Olympic Games next year. Joining the internship this year will give them lots of opportunities to practice for the Big One."
“And don’t forget, we always have Ramle burger parties. Have food, will write.”