Singapore’s Olympic heritage commemorated in book and documentary

09 Dec 2017

Singapore, 9 December 2017 – Members of Singapore’s sporting fraternity gathered at the Singapore Sports Institute today for the launch of the book Project 0812: The inside story of Singapore’s journey to Olympic glory and a screening of When the Stars Align, a documentary about three pioneer women Singapore Olympians.

The event, organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Olympians Singapore, culminated in the conclusion of SNOC’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

The book – Project 0812: The inside story of Singapore’s journey to Olympic glory – chronicles one of Singapore’s most important achievements in sports: the quest for an Olympic medal after a 48-year wait. In the hands of Singapore Literature Prize-winning author Peh Shing Huei, the book details the behind-the-scenes stories and insights into Singapore’s unprecedented journey to Olympic glory. The book was written after more than 30 interviews with officials, coaches, parents and athletes.

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and President of the Singapore National Olympic Council, who was also the guest of honour said, “The legacy of Project 0812 has raised the bar of Singapore sports. This story of astute strategy and execution of ideas and plans accompanied by an unwavering desire to succeed by all stakeholders involved, ought to be shared with those who have an interest in the development of our sporting landscape.”

Peh, who also wrote Rings of Stars and Crescent: 70 years of the Olympic Movement in Singapore (2017), an account of Singapore’s history at the major Games said, “Sports fans enjoy the drama of victories and defeats. But very often, the best stories in sports are the ones away from the tournaments and grandstands. Yet such stories seldom see the light. This book offers that rare look at the backstory behind one precious Olympic medal – the strategies, the spats and the solutions. It’s one of the most exciting inside stories I’ve had the privilege to document.”

In honouring the invisible heroes (in this case, heroines) of Singapore, When the Stars Align tells of the heartwarming stories of Singapore’s first women Olympians. The trilogy shares the passion of their athletic achievements and captures the challenges and taboos the octogenarians had to maneuver back in the 1950s and 1960s as women in sports, and as pioneers of sporting excellence for Singapore in those days.

Filmmakers Brenda Er and Jasmine Teh pay homage to Tang Pui Wah, Mary Klass and Janet Jesudason in this tender yet stirring documentary series, honouring how they inadvertently inspired generations of Singaporeans to pursue their sporting dreams.

Er said, “We are honoured and grateful for the opportunity and access to create this film because it feels like we’ve gained three new grandmothers. Learning from Pui Wah, Mary and Janet about life has helped me grow a lot as a person, and I hope that those who learn about their stories will also benefit as much as we did.”

Tan said, “I am delighted that When the Stars Align is a ground-up initiative spurred by the impact of our athletes’ own stories. This is evident of the kind of bearing our Olympians have on the community.

“These stories of our past are important for future generations to remember, as there were many before them who paved the way for later generations to succeed.”

Project 0812: The inside story of Singapore’s journey to Olympic glory is available on sale at Books Kinokuniya and Select Books. When the Stars Align can be watched on Honour Singapore’s Facebook (