Jun 03, 2010|
I wanted to be a top-notch sportsman. At boarding school, everybody played football. There were 40 of us, so it was 20-aside. Imagine if you’re a small primary 3 boy against the boys from secondary school. You’d run away.
We used to train by running on the beach, not because we wanted to be champions, but because it was a chance to run to Katong Convent. If anybody asked, we were training. We were rascals, but we made good.
I was the Singapore youth football team captain, and went on to play for three years in the national team. My only regrets are that I never played in the Malaysia Cup, and that when I was playing, we never had the National Stadium.
In 1970, I broke my ankle and that was the end of my football career.
I had this love of the microphone. I’d been watching live stage shows and I was always enamored by the compere. I looked at the guy in charge, presiding over everything, and thought, “I’d like to do that.” Singapore Poly needed a host for their talentime. They offered to pay me, but I would have done it for free. They paid me the princely sum of $20; my first payment. $20 then was not bad!
My wife saw an advertisement for radio presenters so I applied, went in, and failed the auditions. I was nervous. The following year my wife told me to apply again. She said “You can do it, we hear some of the people and they’re not so good.” So I went, and this time I got it.
Before I knew it I was thrown into football commentary on television. Whatever came my way, I just jumped into it.
In the days before teleprompters, there was a lot of ad-libbing, it was scary.
In 1974, I was the first presenter of a television program in color. It was the 1974 World Cup Final between West Germany and Holland. It was the first time we had a satellite broadcast and got to see the World Cup.
Later on, for subsequent World Cups, I was asked to present all the games, every night, for the whole month. So I had to come into the studio every day. We needed a local anchor person to do the preamble and the half-time chat, and also to fill in when we lost commentary.
I love music, that’s why I enjoy doing what I’m doing. The day I get up and think, “Another day, I’ve got to go in and do the same thing again,” that’s the day I’ll call it quits.
Radio keeps me going. Radio is instant. Radio is live. You never know what’s going to happen each day. Radio gets my adrenaline flowing.
I may be past my sell-by date, but as long as I’m wanted and I’m excited about my work, I’m there.