While corporate sponsors have contributed millions of dollars to the ASEAN Para Games (APG), the APG would not have been possible without the community volunteers who encapsulate so much of the spirit of the Games.
While mainstream media plays a key role in bringing the APG to the people, social media can provide a different perspective - from the eyes of the fans.
“Most of the time, whatever people read on social media are from official news sources which have a very traditional news angle. It is always the main news, the main angle,” said John Yeong, Manager, Digital, Sport Singapore.
Hence, armed with just a smartphone each, more than 20 Digital volunteers for the APG are stationed throughout Singapore to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the biennial competition.
Be it the action, the celebrations or the heartwarming acts of kindness, these volunteers are there to help record it all and share it through the Social Wall on the official APG website.
In the spirit of giving back to the community, some of these volunteers have even taken up to seven days of their annual leave to cover the entire duration of the Games.
Digital volunteer Sherrie Shiong. Photo: SAPGOC
Sherrie Shiong, who is volunteering at the APG with her two children, is one of these altruistic individuals. While she wants to be part of the festivities and games, her main motivation was to help the athletes in any little way she can.
“What really attracted me to volunteer for this is because I find it really amazing that these athletes, even though they have certain disabilities, but they are able to do a lot more than some of us are able to,” she said.
For Randi Ang, another volunteer who has taken personal time off for the APG, this stint allows him to do his part for society while indulging in his pastimes.
“Because I am a bit of a photography enthusiast and I also like writing, so this is one of the opportunities that actually allow me to combine the two hobbies together and give back to the community,” the 24-year-old said.
Only two days in, the APG has already given Randi great insight into the life of an APG athlete, and he has found their mental tenacity particularly inspiring.
“Seeing an APG athlete is really quite different from the rest of the other sporting events you see on a day to day basis so this more of an eye-opener,” said the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Management Associate.
“I think these guys are really the true heroes. Take the SEA Games and Para Games theme song ‘Unbreakable’, these guys are really the true unbreakable ones.”
“We really should spread the news as these are the stories that can inspire others.”