Today I’m proud to present our latest commissioned work under the Singapore Memory Project’s Drawn From Memory series.

Dan Koh and Zakaria Zainal‘s photo essay exploration of football fandom cannot have been better timed as the LionsXII are currently enjoying a successful run in the Malaysian Super League after an absence of 18 years. Breaking away from typical accounts of local football history told through the perspectives of star players, Dan and Zakaria’s visual ethnography cuts across different segments of football fans and probes the current state of football fandom in Singapore. The resulting pastiche of portraits and personal accounts of these life-long supporters speak volumes about the economy of local sports and the cultural constituents of national identity.

Celebrated sports journalist Godfrey Robert has this to say about the piece in his glowing foreword:

“This e-book tells the Singapore story in the words of 12 interesting characters, all different in personalities and designations but who share a common objective: talking soccer. [It is] a must-read for an inkling into what Singapore football is all about.”

What’s in the book:

  • Exclusive interviews with Yap Boon Chuan, the reluctant national coach from 1966-1971;
  • Henry and Edmond Tan, supporters of rival teams Liverpool and Manchester City but united in support for the Lions;
  • Akbar Hasim, a steadfast tour operator who has been organising trips overseas for the “Die-Hard Fans”;
  • Malazaim Suhood and Abdul Malik Suhood, “bola brothers” who rooted for the Dream Team in the 90s;
  • The memories of football commentator Wilfred James, and;
  • The Lee clan of fans: Sunny, Yana, Syafiq, Taufiq and Crystal, a newly minted “soccer family” in every sense of the word.

Gila Bola: Surviving Singapore Soccer is now available for download at the Singapore Memory Portal. Check it out, tell us what you feel and share a personal memory on your own football fandom moments. Here are some submitted memories to get you inspired!

Your resident do-gooder

Yeong Chong
Editor, irememberSG
Singapore Memory Project


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