The rich and glamorous came. Tourists filled the streets. Parties and clubs were full-house during the weekends. Fireworks lit the night sky. The glittering skyscrapers beckoned a big welcome to the well-heeled. Avalon opened at one of the floating crystals at Marina Bay Sands. 80 000 spectators. More than half of them come from far away lands. Singaporeans joined in the fun and watched their city and the street circuit beamed live on television across the globe, watched by 320 million with viewership losing only to world cup and olympic games. It was and still is the best advertising platform for Singapore to showcase itself to the world. Why ponder whether to continue hosting F1?
Lewis Hamilton was full of praises about the Singapore Grand Prix, and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone described Singapore’s Grand Prix as the Crown Jewel of F1. No other races can beat Singapore’s vibrancy. But the Singapore government is still mulling over whether to renew its contract with F1′s international management which expires in 2012.
From the government’s point of view, F1 remains out of reach to the ordinary Singaporeans, and some Singaporeans commented on forums that F1 is just a playground for the rich, while sacrificing the interests of Singaporeans. Furthermore, a huge sum of money is pumped in by the government and F1 management team to build up the race track every August, like installations of the lights and fences, while races in other cities already have the facilities ready on the race track and do not have to install and dismantle after every race. There are several inconveniences before and during the race. As the race is held in the city, during the race, there are major road disruptions, and as certain streets are closed to public, many stores and shopping malls fronting the race track suffer in customer traffic.
However, what many Singaporeans do not know is the indirect benefits F1 has for Singapore. Firstly, Singapore was once and maybe is still infamous for its sterile and boring image. Today, only those who do not travel often or have a good knowledge about what is happening around them will still think of Singapore as a boring and dead city. With all the new developments and events taking place, Singapore is becoming one of the most exciting cities on the planet. One cannot deny the effort that Singapore Government has put in to shed its sterile image. Not too long ago, Singapore does not allow bar-top dancing, and certain clubs. Today Clarke Quay is full of energy, and with the casinos up and running, there is just so much things to do here. F1 is another event that helps boost Singapore’s image as a happening and vibrant city. It also promotes tourism to the country and connects to different groups of people across the globe. The event has also brought in massive amount of tourism dollars to Singapore’s economy. F1 has also brought the entertainment industry in Singapore to new heights. With acts on stage by famous singers and groups like shakira, Linkin Park, and many others, it is the only city on the planet which assemble the best in the world to one stage to perform. With 55000 party-goers watching the performances, it is one of the biggest party in the world.
Just let F1 stay. Singapore is now well-known for its glitz and glamour of Grand Prix. Not renewing the contract is like giving Singapore a death sentence. This is a chance to make people stop thinking Singapore as a “no chewing gum city”, or a “nanny state”, to a hip and happening city, a place where everyone dreams of coming.
Somehow its weird to always praise your own city/country you live in. People may be put off by my arrogance, and and get irritated thinking that I am trying to show off. But hey, I do have negative comments about Singapore too. But when it comes to F1, even though I am not a fan of F1, I do feel the palpitating beat of the city during the grand prix season, and it just makes me feel so great to be living within all this hype. To Singapore Government, please go ahead with the race. Add another 5 years to the calender and continue letting the world be awed by our awesome skyline at night. I will only stop you from renewing the contract if you increase taxes to fund the race. Otherwise, I dont mind giving you my taxes to pay for advertising Singapore to the world. 🙂
Picture Credits to Wall Your Photos and 丫头Z from flickr.