A New Experience

Ms Milanie Shi, a Procter & Gamble staff member who participated in the Activity Day with Special Olympics Singapore, recounts her day of activity with Special Olympics athletes on the evening of August 2, 2011.

Redefining what 'Win' means

A Special Olympics Singapore athlete (right) concentrates on her shot at bocce.

'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt'- it is the slogan that the team kept on mentioning even two days after we arrived back from our activity session with Special Olympics Singapore athletes. Special Olympics Singapore is a voluntary organization that provides sports training to children with intellectual disabilities. we (Procter & Gamble Asia Consumer Marketing Knowledge team) spent two hours with the children and volunteers there, and it was such a precious experience to each of us!

Though I’m from China, a country famous for the Olympics, I had little idea about Special Olympics.  Thus when I saw the agenda about this event, I thought it was just a special arrangement by our lovely P&G HR manager – Danelle, and it would be an internal sports competition – hence why it is called Special Olympics.  I even practiced badminton during the weekend, as my eight year old daughter Jiajia told me “Mom, you must WIN, as you represent China.” To be honest, it was not a positive motivation for me as I’m not good at sport.  But I did not expect this trip to totally reframe what ‘WIN’ meant to me.

A Special Introduction

A bonding experience: Special Olympics Singapore athletes together with Procter & Gamble members. 

The touching experience started at 5:30pm. Accompanied by our charming External Relations manager Victoria, the whole team arrived at Tanglin school. We first met Dr. Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of Special Olympics Singapore who gave us a very inspiring introduction about Special Olympics – a non-profit organization to provide sports training and competition for persons with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness, self-esteem and confidence. When Dr Teo showed us pictures about how devoted the children are in the sports training, how inclusive and proactive the volunteers are to support them, some workmates already started to have tears in their eyes.

A Joyous Discovery

After Dr Teo’s introduction, we immediately got a chance to play with the children in Tanglin school, including badminton, soccer and bocce. During the games, we were impressed by the politeness, innocence and positive energy of all the athletes. All the children gave us the brightest smiles, and immersed themselves quickly in the games. It was one of the simplest afternoons in my life, smiling and enjoying the games. I started to realize more about the meaning behind ‘let me be brave in the attempt’, yes life is about attitude, if you take control of what you attempt to be, you will be happy.

Time flew by in two hours. By the time we exchanged gifts and said‘good-bye’, we were getting quiet, as each of us were taking the memory deep into our hearts.

Jiajia asked me when I got back to China: ‘Mom, did you WIN?’ I replied to her ‘I didn’t, but I got a much more precious award than WINNING, that is knowing how to live happily and meaningfully, let me tell you more…’