Ladies and Gentlemen,
Having stepping up into the role as the President of Paintball Association (Singapore) in 2007, I dedicated my time and resources to introducing paintball to Singaporeans and developing the sports in Singapore. Much of my time have been committed to raising the awareness of the sports through all the resources that I have at the players level and to the education of the sports to the relevant authorities especially with regards to regulations. Promoting a good paintball culture is essential to the success of the sports. Regulations are set to protect the interest of the people but it is also necessary to strike a balance to the level of regulations in place for security versus the regulations’ being an impedance to the growth of the sports as compared the norms around the world. I believe that sports is an important social cohesion tool for Singapore and paintball can be one of the sports available in Singapore. Coming to the end of my tenure in the office of PBAS, I am pleased to share with all the progress made in the past 2 years since the inception of the association. In the immediate period following the end of the term, I am happy to share that the association will be taken over by an interim committee whose role shall be to review and recommend changes to the constitution of the association, to determine the directions of the association, and, to recommend a new structure for the committee. As the association is only in its infancy stage, constant reviews of the protocols will keep the association updated with the modern practices in sports associations and constant monitoring of the results of the protocols shall provide a feedback loop to the effectiveness of the practices set in place. The association, the players and the industry must be determined to work together with the government authorities to bring more credibility and recognition to the sports. Upon constitution reviews, the interim committee shall swing in the elections for the next office bearers to assume their roles and take term in PBAS.
In establishing Paintball Association (Singapore), my main aim was to create an official body of sports paintball to open and pave unchartered paths for the development of the sports in Singapore. In this way, I hoped to make the possibility of playing the sports of paintball possible in Singapore. The sports of paintball has been unheard of locally albeit fast-climbing the popularity ladder in our neighbouring countries. In 2007, when I established the association, paintball could not even be played in Singapore in a competition format due to the existence of a mandatory rule of a centre line in all paintball games. The centre line divides the game play into two uncross-able territories and goes against the philosophy of the paintball which is classified as a territorial or invasion sports like basketball, soccer, handball and ice-hockey. The major leagues in world in 2007 - PSP, Millennium, NPPL - were yet to be seen or even known to Singaporeans. Speedball is an organised sports with international game rules, format of play, hierarchy of ranks and marshalling bodies.
Paintball League in Singapore - Singapore Paintball Novice Series
The first introduction of competition paintball - speedball - was in March 2008, known as Singapore Paintball Novice Series (SPNS). In the inaugural 3-on-3 speedball competition, 7 teams participated and put up a great show. The second competition was organised in June 2008 and the organisers garnered the participation of 13 teams. This created a buzz in the sports news with coverage in the Channel News Asia evening news and followed by a significant feature article on The Straits Times, Sports Section with a large photograph of the winning team. Resources from the industry made possible the organisation of Singapore Paintball Novice Series which had a total of 6 legs with 3 in 2008 and 3 in 2009. From a 3-on-3 format to 4-on-4 format and eventually the full-scale of 5-on-5 format, the SPNS grew in participation and capacity. SPNS registered another milestone when the competition was at Pasir Park, a public park, through a tripartite government-collaboration (NParks-SSC-PBAS). Having brought paintball to the eastern side of Singapore, the final leg of SPNS 2009 was held at the western part of Singapore at West Coast Park, bringing paintball to the public at end to end in Singapore.
Basic Tournament Orientation
The first group of participants was a significant one as they were the ones who took the first stride with the Association to make competition paintball in Singapore a reality. The local regulations required a center line to be implemented in paintball gameplay which would not have allowed for a paintball competition to be organised and played by participants as the rules of the sports would require the players to start from one end and end at the other end of the playing field. Basic Tournament Orientation was crafted by PBAS and approved by the authorities for informed participants to play without a center line. The aims of the course are to educate the participants on the safety aspects of the sports and the rules of competition paintball. The Basic Tournament Orientation certified more than 300 persons for competition paintball over a span of 2 years.
Support by Singapore Sports Council in SPNS and Events
This serves to give special mention to the Singapore Sports Council, especially the Sports Pathway group, who was keen in following up on event reports to publicise about Singapore Paintball Novice Series, in short, SPNS. The league was the first official league to be held in Singapore for competition paintball. With SSC’s recognition and support for SPNS, the league became the birth ground for the local teams. Since its inception in 2008, the league has seen the growth of 20 paintball teams over the past two years of which the number of teams competing overseas, especially World Cup Asia, has grown from one to seven in 2009.
Basic Marshalling Course
Refereeing during tournaments is one of the hardest jobs with all the most challenging factors a referee might face in any other sports all rolled into paintball marshalling. Weak referee management failed to kick start a strong following of referees. Local players have been certified as marshals but more still need to step forward to take up the challenge. Those who have refereed in the local competitions for the past 2 years are much appreciated by the Association and players alike.
Support by Local Authorities
The support by local authorities is a critical factor to the introduction of competition paintball in Singapore. Without the understanding and open mindset of the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Sports Council and National Parks Board, paintball competitions could not have taken place and the sports will still be under-developed locally while the rest of our neighbours progress and grow stronger. The change in ruling - removal of centre line - was a major milestone for the Association and was only possible with the strong support from the paintball industry and government authorities.
In the constitution of Paintball Association (Singapore), the directions and goals of the Association are written as below:
a) To promote and improve the game of paintball locally and regionally in the area of youth and sports development.
b) To initiate and establish guidelines in the sport of paintball with the Asia Pacific Paintball Federation (APPBF).
c) To establish and offer the sport of paintball as a lifestyle activity to encourage the spirit of teambuilding.
d) To promote paintball as a recreational and competitive sport for the masses with recognition from the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) as a sport.
e) Formation of paintball leagues and tournaments in Singapore.
The progress of change is on-going and its pace is affected by players and stakeholders who need to look at the long-term goals. The above stated are all examples of the new and important developments of the sports since 2007. In the period since I started and took office in Paintball Association (Singapore), there has been dramatic changes in the development of the sports and I believe that there will be even more to come. Among the key elements of the changes are the representation of Singapore in regional paintball competitions, medal tally for Singapore paintball teams, the initiative and progress of Basic Tournament Orientation, promotion of sports in schools and education of authorities of the sports. I am delighted by the growth of the Singapore paintball community and will continue to support the future work of the Association in the right directions. I am delighted to have worked with the individuals who have expressed interest in taking up a role in the interim committee which will review the organisation and goals of the Association and its constitution to keep up with the progress of regional and worldwide paintball. I am pleased to welcome Grant Harrison, David Leow , Mohd Shakil, Ian Tang and Khairul Anwar into the interim committee. I look forward to contributing further in the next committee of Paintball Association (Singapore) and supporting their programs. I would like to thank all agencies that have become involved in the initiatives of the Association and their willingness to work together to create a better sporting future for Singapore. It is with these wishes and hopes that I complete my term of office and step down from the President of Paintball Association (Singapore). Keep the fire burning!
President (2007-2009), Paintball Association (Singapore)