By Les Tan/Red Sports

Fajar Secondary

The Fajar Secondary C Division basketball team (from left to right): Seet Zhi Yun (#6), Jeron Goh (#5), Neo Yi (#10), Javier Liu (#8), Chionh Zexing (#10). Not in picture: Jomari Ivan Nillo (#4), Lim Zhao Heng (#11), Kokulananthan (#12). (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports)


The stats astound us.

50,000* people have seen this photo of the Fajar Secondary C Division basketball team on the Red Sports Facebook page.

The photo currently has 1,100 likes and 253 shares.

We came across the boys of Fajar last Thursday at Clementi Sports Hall.

“They look so small,” I said to my RED Crew mate, Rachel Yip.

The boys of Fajar had lost three straight games before we saw them. They were thumped 61-12 by River Valley High, 42-20 by Swiss Cottage Secondary, and 37-29 by Jurongville Secondary.

But they still had heart.

Jeron Goh (#5), in particular, stood out because he was the shortest and smallest on court. Yet he managed 10 points in the game. His teammate and captain, Javier Liu (#8), had a game-high 14 points.

Four quarters and 40 minutes later, the boys of Fajar were 33-21 winners over Yuan Ching Secondary.

What was even more remarkable was that they played the game with an 8-man roster, when teams are allowed a full complement of 12. We found out later that football is the sport of focus at Fajar.

That same evening, July 5th, we shared the photo and story of their win on Facebook. We then watched with increasing astonishment as their story got shared and liked and commented on, over and over again.

We have never seen any sports story go viral like this on Facebook.

Perhaps their story resonates because we feel like them — small, undermanned and overwhelmed, without enough reserves and timeouts to catch our breaths.

The opponents coming at us are bigger, faster, better.

We just want to give up.

But once in a while, we find ourselves in a team that keeps on fighting. We cannot let our mates down, and so we keep on going.

And when the final buzzer goes, we just happen to have a few more points than the other team.

We finally won.

We long to be on a team that fights, that carries one another even when somebody goes down.

A team that hides our weaknesses because everyone’s strength is combined into a gathering wave of power that carries all before it.

We know this does not happen often enough in real life, but still we play and work for those moments.

Despite the injuries, the failures, and the defeats, we long for that one victory.

We are all, boys of Fajar.


P.S. The boys of Fajar eventually closed out their West Zone C Division Championship season with a 1-4 win-loss record. They finished fourth in their 5-team group, and did not make it to Round 2.

*Stats provided by Facebook