Singapore will be sending 5 China-born new citizens it purchased for the table tennis national team to the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics. Bought from China and obtained their Singapore citizenship betwene 2006 and 2011 under former table tennis association president PAP MP Lee Bee Wah, mercenaries Feng Tian Wei, Yu Meng Yu, Zhou Yi Han, Gao Ning and Chen Feng will represent Singapore in table tennis and are expected to secure more Olympic medals. The two men did not serve National Service. It is understood that none of these “Singaporeans” speak English and require a Chinese translator to handle interviews in English.
The Singapore government gave up on training local Singaporeans and always justified the hiring of foreign talents by lamenting that Singaporean students are too academic-oriented and have little interests in sports. Current Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president, former PAP MP Ellen Lee, complained that the recent unhappiness over foreign mercenaries stopped her from hiring more foreigners to become citizens:
“Now that manpower rules for foreigners have been tightened up, we have been experiencing a lot of difficulties where immigration problems are concerned. We are also aware of the call for more local talents to form the national team, and we will as much as possible try to meet such expectations – but of course the big ‘if’ is we must have our own local talents who want to achieve that.”
The Singapore’s table tennis team is also known as “China B Team”, inferred as inferior quality stock leftover from China. Australian veteran table tennis player William Henzell slammed Singapore for tarnishing the spirit of the sports in 2014. Singapore’s using of foreign talents to obtain medals have been criticised by many countries but the Singapore government is bent on obtaining medals no matter the costs.