Singapore's most famous national swimmer Joseph Schooling has received brickbats for saying he will "teach" the Malaysians "a thing or two" in their "backyard" during a Channel News Asia interview about his chances at the upcoming SEA games, which are to be held in Malaysia this year.
The 22 year-old, who won 9 gold medals in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, was asked about his feelings about the upcoming tournament by CNA reporters.
“We have a chance to do something special at the SEA Games; 2015 was something special for us, I think it will be nice to go to Malaysia’s backyard and teach them a thing or two.”
This comes on the tail of a disappointing performance at the 2017 FINA World Championship in Hungary, where Schooling won a bronze in the 100M Butterfly final, an event that he had previous won a Gold medal at the Olympics for.
Netizens have been sharply divided over the young man's comments, with some attributing his comments to arrogance. These netizens chided Schooling and asked for him to display more humility. Other netizens jumped to his defense and said that the young man's words were typical of pre-Game competitive sports banter, much like how MMA fighters would speak in the lead up to a big match.