As I read the article regarding Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan playing for a breakaway league in Indonesia, I can't help but feel a bit sorry for the state of soccer in Singapore. Sorry because they cannot ply their trade in SG and earn similar or even slightly lower salaries than the one offered by the Indonesian team. And by playing in a league not sanctioned by FIFA they may be banned from playing for the national side again.
But who can blame them? A package that is thrice as rewarding and playing to over-10,000 strong crowds, it's important that they take their chance now to earn as much as possible because soccer players have a short career.
Option 1: play in S-league for SGD6k/mth, be near family, playing in front of 1,000 fans. May or may not be selected for national team. Even if they get chosen and played for the Lions they will always be criticized for not entering the world cup finals.
Option 2: play in breakaway league for SGD16k/mth, be away from family, playing in front of >10,000 fans. May never play for national side again. Amass SGD 100,000-200,000 more in 2 years.
They have nothing to prove in the national team. They had their chances and didn't make it to any major finals. Anyway the team is under restructuring so there's no guarantee that they will make it into the national side again.
What if I were to be offered something similar? I guess family will be a key concern. Will I be able to bring them along? Will they be able to get accustomed to the foreign culture, food and climate? If my nation ever needs me I will stay... Provided they pay me at least 80-90% of what is offered. I guess ultimately it all depends on the welfare of my family. In a nutshell I will go wherever pays better provided my family gets to tag along and they get used to the lifestyle. If they can't then even 5x the money is not going to convince me to move.
I used to disagree with people who give up their citizenship to live in other countries. They quote stressful lifestyle, overcrowding and a crazily tough education system as their reasons for the emigration. These days I can relate to them better. We live only once and we definitely want the best for our families, but different people have different opinion about what is the best for their family. I treasure the education system, convenience and security in SG while another person may treasure freedom, wide open spaces and an all-rounded education.
I guess I've often been too quick to judge people with my biased eye. More often than not we judge a person by his/her decision but we never give much thought to how much agony, time and stress a person went thru to reach that decision. We just look at the decision and brush it off simply as "ah he did it for the money", "he is turning his back on his nation" and stuffs like that...
More thoughts, less talk...