For many football lovers in Singapore, World Cup 1998 held in France was perhaps the most memorable and unforgettable football event shown on television.It was the first World Cup to feature 32 teams-in 8 groups of 4 each.Best of all is:It was shown exclusively on Premiere 12,on a free-to-air television channel for the arts and sports.
4 years on,Premiere 12 had already been gone.Mediacorp offered to show the 2002 World Cup’s opening match plus the 4 quarterfinals,2 semifinals,the third place playoff match and the final itself on Channel 5 instead.
For the first time ever,the ENTIRE tournament would not be shown on free-to-air television after all.Instead the sole Cable TV operator back then,Starhub,would have exclusive rights to cover the whole tournament.
I still could remember very clearly,in the 2002 Football World Cup held in South Korea and Japan,Starhub charged their subscribers like me only just S$15.92!The coverage of the tournament was excellent and one could view different channels during the same match for different camera angles and shots.Be it at the players on the pitch or at the coach on the sidelines.
And during the final round of group stage matches,one could also watch 2 live matches simultaneously on different channels.
Since then the price has rocketed:To $40 in 2006,and then to $80 in 2010 and now $112 this World Cup!
And many Singapore football lovers like me had put up with price increases in 2006 and 2010 by tuning in to Indonesian TV networks SCTV (2006) and RCTI (2010),watching the World Cup matches for free.Never mind the football presenters in Jakarta spoke Bahasa Indonesia as the commentary during matches was given in English.
For the 2014 World Cup,Anteve was given the rights to show the tournament in Indonesia.Unfortunately,unlike SCTV and RCTI, Anteve could not be received in Singapore at all.
Once again,Singaporean football fans,put off by the escalating subscription prices offered by Starhub and Singtel,resorted to desperate measures such as going across the causeway to Johor Bahru just to watch the matches for free.
Or simply just go to your nearest Community Club,Macdonald’s or SAFRA Country Club to watch a match for free with your fellow peasants.Oops! Sorry,wrong word used.
Or simply stay at home,sit down in front of your laptop or desktop PC and watch the match on live Internet Streaming.And pray that the football action on the pitch goes on smoothly on your live HD player.
Over the past 12 years,I had observed and came to a conclusion:Thanks largely to the 55 year one party(PAP) rule and in the pursuit to be ranked Number One in practically almost everything,we $ingaporeans have become so self centred,greedy,money-centric,kiasu and kiasi that our country have now become the costliest place in Asia to watch the Football World Cup.Well done $ingapore,$ingtel,$tarhub and Pay And Pay!
Even in Communist China,the entire World Cup is shown on their national free-to-air China Central Television (CCTV) network.
And one could expect the subscription prices offered by the two telcos,$ingtel and $tarhub,to rise even further:To S$150 for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and to S$200 for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!
And the two telecos would still expect-in spite of such ridiculously high prices,football hungry,mad and desperate people and subscribers in Singapore to be daft enough to pay the money nonetheless.
Time for a change,$ingapore.Time to vote out Pay And Pay (PAP).And time to say sayonara to Plunder And Plunder (PAP) once and for all.
Liew Chin Fu