How NOT TO hijack Joseph Schooling's success - Alvinology

How NOT TO hijack Joseph Schooling’s success

If you have been following all the media reports around Singapore swimmer, Joseph Schooling’s groundbreaking Olympic gold medal win at Rio 2016, it is clear as air who are the parties who should be rightfully attributed for his success.

Joseph Schooling himself for daring to dream big and his nurturing parents, Colin and May Schooling who invested over US$1 million of their own money to fund their son’s Olympic dream, not to mention other non-monetary sacrifices like time away from their only son and adjustments to their family routine and lifestyle.

Being a well brought up gentleman, the young man graciously dedicated his win to all Singaporeans and his birth nation, Singapore:


Sponsors, corporations and government officials are all quick to try and hitch a ride on Joseph Schooling’s success. This is understandable, given the enormity of what he had just achieved and the immeasurable amount of PR mileage if the publicity hijack was successful.

Nonetheless, exercise more care and sensitivity if you wan to ride on someone else’s success. Otherwise, the backlash is going to hurt you really deep and set you worse off than you were initially.

Within just 48 hours of Schooling winning his gold medal, some have already fallen flat. Here are some examples to keep for posterity.


Congratulate the star, but take a photo of him like he is a sidekick and share it on social media

Singapore Airlines was quick to present Schooling with a KrisFlyer Elite Gold card and one million KrisFlyer miles, “because the King of the Butterfly deserves a Great Way to Fly”.

Pretty clever I must say, and totally appropriate.

However, they got stumped by this one photo with a very bad composition:


What is this?

It looks like the guy in the middle is having a birthday party and Schooling accidentally gatecrashed it.

Let’s not even get started about using the Singapore flag as a tablecloth.

Comments flowing in were hilarious:




Claim credits too fast like Lee Bee Wah 

Then there is Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah with her epic Facebook post which many netizens suggested she was trying too hard to claim credits for Schooling’s success:

Comments were harsh:


To be fair to Lee, she raised the issue of National Service deferment for male athletes since 2011 and she did mention and fought for Schooling specifically in parliament.

Nonetheless, she probably should not have worded her post this way or at least not jumped in at this juncture.


Say Olympic live telecast is not important, but fly to Rio to watch the event live and take photo with the champion live to share on social media 

Then there is Grace Fu, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

Before national television broadcaster Mediacorp secured a last minute deal with the Rio 2016 television broadcast rights owner, Dentsu, to telecast the games live to the Singapore audience, Fu made these comments in an interview:

“This time the Olympics is important for us, with so many of our athletes training very hard, but it’s 30 hours away and the time zone is a bit different.

So I think that while Singaporeans are still very concerned and interested in the performance of our athletes, I’m sure many of them will try to catch up and watch the Games at a later time.”


We see her watching the games live in Rio though. She was also there taking photos with Joseph Schooling:

Comments for Grace Fu are just as harsh as those for Lee Bee Wah:


To be fair to Fu, she is kind of in a Catch-22 situation after the controversy over the live broadcast. If she did not congratulate Schooling or take a photo with him, she will probably still be scolded for being ‘arrogant’ or something along that line.

Nobody said being a minister was an easy job.

The champion will be back in Singapore tomorrow. There will be more opportunists cashing in on his golden moments in the limelight. Let’s hope they will do it more tactfully and not fall flat.

I am ending off this post with a friendly reminder from Mr. Brown:

And a favourite comment from a friend, Kien Lee:


Maybe everyone should just take a leaf or two from the champion himself. 

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