Mr Ben Lee shows off the shirt he received from the 17th SEA Games. Photo: Nur Alina & Eunice Tan / SINGSOC
Out of the 17,000 volunteers in Team Nila who are helping out in the 28th Southeast Asian Games, there is bound to be some with interesting stories to tell. Mr Ben Lee, who will be 47 this year, started helping out at the SEA Games as an Events Venue Marshall almost immediately after he came back from his holidays last Tuesday, 9th June. When asked why he was so eager to be involved in the games, he responded, “I wanted to continue the legacy.”
It turned out that Mr Lee had previously helped out in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore with his parents, who had worked at the Athlete’s Village at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) serving food and beverages. Mr Lee, who was serving his National Service at that time, was also heavily involved in the Games. He helped organise the Opening Ceremony and attended rehearsals every weekends for about four months. He also acted as a chaperone for students from various schools by ensuring their safety when bringing them to the rehearsal locations.
He continued his tale, sharing that his parents had already passed away which meant that they will miss the Games this year. However, Mr Lee was optimistic that the legacy could continue with his daughter. “She really wanted to sign up but missed the closing date,” he said.
When asked about the difference between the current SEA Games and the one organised in 1993, Mr Lee revealed that the work in the past used to be more labour-intensive. When they wanted to prevent the fields from getting wet, they would have to grab a huge plastic sheet and run across the entire field to cover it. And when they had to use the field, they would have to pull the huge plastic sheet back.
He also commented that the Games “is much more organised now”, with greater ease of communication, especially with the current technological advancements. “We used to use walkie-talkies!”
No Two Games Are the Same
The old and new SEA Games badges on Mr Pang’s accreditation pass. Photo: Veronica Long / SINGSOC
Mr Steven Pang is one of the few volunteers who have participated in the 1993 and 2005 SEA Games. The first time he participated in the SEA Games 22 years ago, he was only an assistant photographer. It just so happened that the photographer he was working with was involved in the SEA Games, and therefore he had the chance to roam around the venues and assisted in capturing moments of the games as a volunteer photographer.
This year SEA Games is whole new experience for Mr Pang. Currently a venue manager for the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Mr Pang has to manage the SEA Games events held at the venue.
When asked to describe the difference between the SEA Games then and now, Mr Pang replied that the old SEA Games was held at the old national stadium whereas now it is being held at the new national stadium. Many things are also done differently, like how things are stages and how logistics are coordinated. He strongly believed that “no two games are the same”.
The best memories Mr Pang has was the opportunity to get up close to the athletes and the once in a lifetime opportunity to capture Singapore’s former president, Wee Kim Wee, who graced the closing ceremony in 1993 SEA Games.
From Asian Games to SEA Games
Ms Dyan and her team of photographers for SEA Games 2015 in SIS dining hall. Photo: Veronica Long / SINGSOC
Ms Dyan Kusuma Eka Putri, an avid photographer, is also one of the many volunteers who missed no opportunity to take part in SEA Games this year. She was introduced by someone she met during the 2013 Colour Run to form a team of photographers for 2015 SEA Games.
Before SEA Games, Ms Dyan has participated in many other sports events as volunteer photographer, one of which was the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Ms Dyan enjoyed being on the court or field to watch athletes fight for their own countries as being photographers, they get to enjoyed the first-hand experiences and get up close in the actions.
Despite the fact that she has ample experiences in sports photography, Ms Dyan still feels that she is yet to be called a photographer.
“I feel like I’m a photography student. There are so many great photographers in the team, so I’m still learning from them,” Ms Dyan said humbly. When asked what kind of satisfaction she gets from participating in all these events, she laughed and said that she feels like she is there to support the athletes. Photographers like her document the athletes journey, be it good or bad, whether they win or loss. “I feel like that’s the purpose for my SEA Games duty, especially for Team Singapore.” For aspiring photographers out there, Ms Dyan only has one advice for them.
“Just have fun. If you have fun, you will take great photos.”
This authors of this article are volunteers content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.