We visited Singapore for a few weeks in August, and were keen if possible to have some games of Gateball while we were there. At the time we were unable to get information as to the current state of the game in Singapore, although Mr. Keith Macleod kindly gave us contact details for the person he knew some time previously as President of the Singapore Gateball Association, Mr Wong Kwai Wah.
Before leaving for our Singapore visit, we therefore contacted Mr Wong who, it transpires, still holds the office of President for the next two years. He told us that there are a number of Gateball lawns in Singapore which are all provided, mowed and maintained free by the Singapore government as part of their policy to encourage their senior citizens to be active. The lawns are provided with floodlights, also free, which come on when the sun sets about 7 pm.
Mr Wong arranged for us to play with the Bishan East players on a Gateball lawn in the Bishan estate in Singapore. The Bishan East players play three times a week from 6 pm to 10 pm (to avoid the heat and humidity of the day), and they are very good players. They were very helpful and hospitable to us. There was no clubhouse at the lawn, but the Gateball players brought a folding table and chairs, together with a trolley of home-cooked food and drinks for the evening. Hence, we were eating and drinking whenever we could manage a bite.
Mr. Wong himself turned up later in the evening to meet us. He told us that he no longer actively plays Gateball due to his back injury. He said they don’t subscribe to the World Gateball Union because the fee is too high (US$500 per annum) and they don’t get sufficient benefit from it to warrant their membership. From our conversation with him, we have the impression that the Gateball community in Singapore is quite small, there being perhaps 18 to 20 different groups of players. They seem to be happy enough to play among themselves without the need for international competition.
As President of the Singapore Gateball Association Mr Wong is still the contact person for Gateball Singapore. He has said that we can refer our friends to him if they would like to play Gateball in Singapore. His e-mail address is email@example.com and he can be contacted on his mobile number +6594503347.
John and Chris Thompson