Get Schooled, Schooling!

Maid carrying NS boy’s field pack made headlines globally.

Oh, what a riveting tale of Joseph Schooling’s Olympic glory, where dreams so rarely tread and victories so scarcely won. I mean, who would have thought anyone from tiny Singapore would even dare to dream of such lofty heights? But lo and behold, Joseph Schooling, the beacon of inspiration, shattered those Olympic records like it was just another stroll in the park. The New York Times couldn’t help but gush over how somebody, oh, what was his name again? Joseph Something? Yes, that’s it, finally managed to outswim Michael Phelps. Bravo, Joseph, bravo.

And oh, Singapore, that small little dot on the map, collectively lost its marbles, didn’t it? It was 2016 and strangers in the streets, grinning like Cheshire cats, blabbering about national pride as if they personally coached beloved Joseph to victory. Honestly, what did they even do besides sipping their kopi and boasting about their hawker food?

Let’s not forget dear old mom and dad, mortgaging their humble abode just so their little darling son could chase his swimming fantasies in the States. (Now, that’s real sacrifice, I grant you that.) Sure, the boy trained hard, beating his idol Phelps to win gold in the men’s 100m butterfly final in a then Olympic record time of 50.39 seconds.  But let’s face it, our handsome Singapore boy was as soft as a melted marshmallow, as delicate as a teacup in a bull’s pen, as fragile as that National Serviceman who had his maid carry his field pack. And oh, the horrors of National Service, where even the most corpulent and obese of us had to endure the sadistic whims of military drill sergeants, a crucible through which every Singaporean male must pass. During our time, we were forced to do duck walks and star jumps till we shat blood, ah, the good old days. By the time Joseph Schooling went – “the toughest three months of my life” he said – NS boys are issued elbow and knee pads and no longer have to starch their uniforms or shine their boots to a mirror so that their teeth can be seen on them. What abusive acts we endured then have long been outlawed as “illegal.” Yet, Joseph Schooling found it difficult.

But alas, like all good tales, this one took a nosedive. Since winning that gold, Joseph Schooling had been going downhill. Not long ago, the press even had a field day reporting on his cannabis use. Then, a couple of days ago, on April Fool’s Day – no joke – at the ripe old age of 28, Joseph Schooling, the only Singaporean to have won an Olympic gold medal, now a grizzled veteran, finally hung up his Speedos, citing the insidious specter of complacency as his downfall. Oh, what a shocker! Who could have guessed that resting on one’s laurels might lead to a less than stellar career trajectory? Oh, what a tragicomic twist of fate, to fall victim to the very hubris that elevated him to Olympian heights.

Bravo, Joseph, bravo indeed.

Get schooled, Joseph Schooling. You’re only 28, life has lots more to teach you! Yes, there’s more to life than what you’ve known so far.

Don’t let yourself down!

You are still the sweetheart and heartthrob of many Singaporeans.

I wish you well, baby face.

Just don’t go from hero to zero!

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