UPDATE: Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong urges Singaporeans to get behind the two swimmers, as Sport Singapore is determining the appropriate follow-on actions.
SINGAPORE — Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim have brought glory to Singapore and Singaporeans remember them for what they have done, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam on Wednesday (31 August).
“I am sure Singaporeans will be gracious…and give them our support and backing," said Shanmugam, without specifying further the context for his comments in a Facebook post.
On Tuesday, the authorities revealed that Schooling and Lim have been investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) for possible offences related to the consumption of cannabis during the SEA Games in May.
In the case of Schooling, the Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces will assess and take the appropriate measures, given that he is currently undergoing National Service.
Lim has been issued a stern warning by CNB under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“Both Schooling and Amanda have been treated in the same way how others have been treated,” Shanmugam said.
The minister said the swimmers have worked hard and given much to the country.
“Schooling in particular scaled heights which I never imagined: Olympic Gold and that too in swimming. I would never forget him lining up against legends - the finals had so many superstars. And he beat all of them.”
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong also put up a Facebook post late on Wednesday, urging Singaporeans to get behind the two swimmers, as Sport Singapore is determining the appropriate follow-on actions.
"They know that they have let Singaporeans down, and, as role models, also disappointed many in the sporting community... Facing up to their errors is the first step to a proper rehabilitation," he wrote in his post.
"I think they now deserve our empathy and understanding as they seek to bounce back from this difficult episode. I have said before – we cannot be fairweather fans. Let’s get behind our swimmers, and back them to now make it right."
Sengkang GRC Member of Parliament Jamus Lim also spoke about the issue, saying that everyone makes mistakes. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the MP said he had benefitted from the forgiveness of others when he made mistakes in the past.
Living in a compassionate society requires less judgment and more empathy, Dr Lim said.
"Of course, actions have consequences, and the sanctions these athletes will face will hold them accountable for their actions. But I will not condemn the people, and let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone," he added.
Earlier Wednesday, German luxury brand Hugo Boss said it will stand by Schooling, its brand ambassador, saying that the partnership with the him is "strong and unwavered".
“Over the years, he has always been a positive influence in and out of the pool. He has inspired many kids to believe in themselves, to work hard, and to chase their dreams," said Hugo Boss’ Southeast Asia managing director Steven Lam.
"We have taught future generations that it’s okay to make mistakes, to own up, but you will have to take responsibility and more importantly, fix it."
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