Do the Malaysians and the Filipinos love their national team more than we Singaporeans do?'s Khalis Rifhan ruminates on the possibility that Singapore fans may just not be passionate enough compared to their regional counterparts
By Khalis Rifhan

After a casual talk with football friends from Malaysia and Philippines over sacrificing time to purchase AFF Suzuki Cup tickets, I posted the following status on my Facebook:

“Malaysian and Philippines fans I spoke to told me that they sacrificed not only their time but also took leave / mc / skipped school, just so that they were able to purchase the football tickets and support their national team.

They asked me, Why Singaporeans never take the initiative to queue and buy tickets early and complain when they can’t get it during matchday?”

It drew a very strong response from my fellow friends on facebook and the one comment that got me thinking was: “For most of us, football doesn't put rice on our tables? Yes, we love football but there is a time and place for everything?”

I am certainly not for the idea of our locals leaving behind their work or students playing truant just so that they could get their hands on tickets.

Maybe we are not accustomed to purchasing football tickets days before the match and probably we enjoy the adrenaline rush for the last minute queue at the ticket booth?

But sadly, attendance for Singapore friendly matches on home soil prior to the Suzuki Cup have been disappointing to say the least.

Gone were the days when fans flocked to the stadium to see their national players in action.

But does this make us any less passionate than those in Malaysia, Philippines or even Indonesia?

No, I don’t have the answer to my own question but what I am certain is deep down in the hearts of every footballing fans here, they hold the Lions close to them and yearn to see success, in this competition.

Yes, they do criticize when results do not go the teams’ way. Yes, they use all the colourful and imaginative language that is available out there when Singapore loses a game.

Well, negativity aside, we have seen the emergence of several supporters group in recent years. From the decades old and still surviving ‘Die Hard Fans’ to the Spartans of ‘Lions All the Way’ crew and the recently formed ‘Singamania’, a collaboration between ‘ExcluSinga’ and few other S.League groups and fans.

Despite all this criticism of ‘missing fans’ and couch-dwelling popcorn munching fans, one thing is for sure, everyone will stand and sing ‘Majulah Singapura’, chant in unison when the referee makes a mistake and jump for joy when the team scores a goal.

I am sure players do hear or read some of those hurtful words and comments which are unpublishable here, and some may be affected by it, but let those emotions and anger seep away and channel it into an energy that translates into a desire to put on a performance worthy of Lions!