Sunday, October 22, 2006

Re: Ronald Susilo & Li Jia Wei- MYOB!!

Mismatch from the start?

The hot pair seems to be cooling off, not least because of a language barrier, as well as cultural and personality differences

By Marc Lim, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT Oct 22, 2006 The Straits Times

THEY seemed a perfect match despite their different backgrounds, but just two years after table tennis princess Li Jiawei said 'yes' to her badminton-playing prince charming Ronald Susilo, the relationship appears to have hit the rocks.

Media reports surfaced last week hinting that all is not well between Indonesian-born Susilo and China-born Li.

This seemed to confirm long-standing doubts over whether two people with such contrasting characters, backgrounds and language skills were compatible in the first place.
Susilo, 27, and Li, 25, have declined comment and pleaded to be allowed to focus on their preparations for December's Asian Games.

But while they have chosen to keep quiet, it has not stopped friends and the sports fraternity from wondering: Were they mismatched from the start?

Most people close to the couple felt that they are not the most suitable partners, although all spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A close friend of the couple told The Sunday Times: 'That they were athletes was the only thing both had in common.

'They had so many issues working against them from the start. Language was a problem. They could not even hold a decent conversation when they met. It was only inevitable that cracks would appear over time.'

Friends also said they have distinctly different personalties.

Susilo - the youngest of four children of a Jakarta businessman and housewife - is the ever-obliging and smiling boy next door, who has endless patience with his fiancee.

Li, an only child of a Beijing government official and housewife, is said to be quick-tempered and used to getting her way.

Susilo was smitten the second he met her at a sports event in 2002. For Li, though, it was certainly not love at first sight. In fact, she found him irritating when he tried chatting her up in the plane on the way to the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

He could not speak Mandarin, while she spoke little English.

'I just ignored him. It was a long flight,' said Li in a 2004 interview with The Sunday Times.
But perseverance - grabbing any chance to talk to her in Manchester and then taking her out to dinners and movies when they returned - paid off.

The couple became national icons at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Although both returned without medals, Susilo made the quarter finals and Li lost in the bronze medal play-off, just missing out on Singapore's first Olympic medal in 44 years.

Soon after the Olympics, he proposed, with a diamond ring he hid inside five boxes.
But as Li told Her World magazine last year, she had to train him to be romantic.
She said: 'I had to teach him how to treat me well. If left to himself, he'd never buy me gifts or plan surprises.'

A close friend of Susilo said: 'Perhaps Ronald gave in too much from the start. He bought a Honda Civic primarily to drive her wherever she wants to go. He would wait for her while she shops. They bought a condominium in Kembangan mainly because she wanted to move out of the Singapore Table Tennis Association hostel.

'He probably gives in 70 per cent of the time. It's not healthy. Either he develops resentment or she takes him for granted.'

Said one of Li's friends, who knew her when she was in previous relationships: 'She has a strong character, so the guy has to show patience. But she did not strike me as someone who would settle down so early.'

The media has often noted their contrasting characters.

When Susilo picked her up from the airport after she returned from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March, the press wanted interviews and pictures.

Susilo obliged, but Li hurried them away, leading a pack of journalists and photographers through the airport before reluctantly posing for a picture in a lift.

Li is also often reticent to talk about the relationship.

In a Sunday Times interview shortly after their engagement, Li said: 'Ronald's the more patient one. I'm bad at masking my emotions. When I am mad, I show it. When I'm glad, I show it, which is why Ronald's patience is so important in this relationship.'

Li was also known to believe that Susilo was too close to his family. One of her friends quipped that he is too much of a mummy's boy.

As Li told Her World: 'I think he's too obedient. His is a conservative and traditional family, so he's used to deferring to them too much. But he's an adult now and I want him to make his own decisions.'

Sources close to the couple said that her inability to accept Susilo's close family ties has led to arguments.

She did not see why he had to consult his parents when he bought the car and was not too keen on the idea of hosting his family at their condo.

Underlying all these problems, though, was language. Neither mastered the other's tongue and Susilo's parents, like Li, have limited English.

While Susilo's Mandarin has improved - thanks to watching Mandarin serials on television - it is not good enough to hold a conversation with Li's family.

And then there are the cultural barriers. For example, while Susilo thought he was being a good future son-in-law by playing mahjong with Li's family, he failed to allow them a diplomatic win.
In the end, he won money from Li's grandmother. And even though he returned the money, both Li and her grandmother were angry.

Quipped Susilo's friend: 'There are times when he feels like anything he does will potentially put himself in hot water with Jiawei.'

Not everyone agrees, though. A small section of their friends feels the couple are just going through a rough patch.

Both are struggling with poor form. Li's position as Singapore's top table tennis player is in doubt after she lost both the Commonwealth and South-east Asian Games women's singles titles to teammate Zhang Xueling.

Susilo, still hampered by injuries, saw his world ranking drop from a high of six in 2004 to 80. Now it stands at 49.

Their busy schedules have also kept them apart for about eight months this year. They have not spent more than a couple of weeks at a time together all year.

A mutual friend said: 'On the surface, people may see it as a mismatch, but at the end of the day, it's love that matters. When they are together, they seem just like any other couple.

'When the pressure of next month's Asian Games is over, maybe things will get better.'

Mismatch or not, friends and observers agree on one thing: that the relationship is at its most fragile.

A close friend of the couple said: 'It's matchpoint, with a very fine line between success and failure.

'What either one does now is crucial.'

My comments:

It troubles me that a major newspaper like The Straits Times should assign so many pages to social gossip. One wonders if the editors have run out of ideas and that there are not other more newsworthy stories to write about?

Surely the article on Ronald and Jia Wei belongs in some "trash" tabloid and not in Singapore's premier paper!

My personal opinion is that Ronald and Jia Wei should be given some privacy and just be left alone. It is none of our business whether they are a perfect match or not.

Since we are talking about personal space and privacy, I feel that in Singapore society, public figures such as politicians and corporate figures should also enjoy the privacy that the rest of us take for granted.

When was the last time, you bump into a "who’s who" lining up for the movies or waiting for his Char Kway Teow ( fried noodles) at the hawker centre? Of course, some of them may feel that it is beneath their station to mix with commoners but my gut feeling is that these "snobbish ones" are probably the minority. Or maybe they just have their own "home theatres" and prefer fine dining. More likely they are so busy with community functions that such "time-outs" have become luxuries ( of time) that they cannot afford.

Let's try an experiment. Let all of us try not fuss over these public figures when you next meet them in the MRT or in the shopping centre.Try to look non-chalant and pretend that you meet these people everyday.

Don't gawk at them like some paparazzi about to snap pictures and of course no requests for autographs ( even if you do get pass the coterie of security personel).

Then perhaps there will be less reason for them to demand for sky-high salaries on account of loss of privacy and other emotional trauma( which MM Lee recently alluded to (again) in the US when he met his American admirers).

Then we see if the PAP reverses the "astronomical salary for politicians" policy.

As for Ronald and Jia Wei, give them room to breathe.

We can only hope that things turn out well for them, but even if they do not, let us understand that they are just as human as you and I. Some relationships are meant to be ( and some not).

Also the extra pressure is certainly not doing their sporting careers any good! ( You people want another Olympic medal or not?)

Enjoy the super long weekend and holidays everyone, (including Ronald and Jia Wei)

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

PS. MYOB stands for Mind Your Own Business ( as if you didn't know)


kwayteowman said...

The KTM agrees with you. It troubles him too. :-(

sporescores said...

Monopolies breed complacency.

nofearSingapore said...

KTM: I am glad you are troubled too! If more of us are able to live our lives the way we deem fit, without busy-bodies sniffing around us, we will have a more tolerant society.Let's learn to live and let live.

s'porescores: Yes, monopolies in the market place and in politics has tendency towards complacency and the consumers(electorate) will not benefit from the best deal that competition provides.


whybegay said...

I knew it!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame to be so nosy. Leave people alone. MYOB!

Anonymous said...

Let me guess... because the 140th does not want to fill in the pages with:

1. Explanation and analysis on Shin Corp's complicated set-up and the $0.9billion on-paper loss. Why did our world-class paper not cover such major financial+political news when "lesser" papers overseas give in-depth analysis? Why is Ho Ching still chairing GLCs despite her grandiose loss-making history?

2. Why MP claims there was no record of jump-MRT guy seeking for help when his wife claimed otherwise? Why did the Town Council/school/PUB folks not proactively investigate and refer these poor families to social programmes? This is despite huge number of PUB assistance vouchers still unclaimed!

3. What had our MPs done about the 10 year-old haze problem? Why did those solutions not work? What further steps are our MPs taking to prevent/reduce future haze problem?

4. Why are the fee hikes justified by increased in oil prices not re-adjusted downwards now that oil prices had fell 30+%?

The above should contribute pages of news and/or commentaries worth reading and paying for. However, trust the 140th to fill the pages with junk because they don't dare to report some truths. Which brings another question, why don't they dare?

Rowen said...

I agree that Straits times should focus on more important topics for example the social issues which causes the man to commit suicide by jumping on the MRT tracks instead of our sports personality lives.

If the chinese nightly papers or the new paper gave such a report, it would not seem to be such a GREAT news and less people will notice it.

Frankly, i would not be bothered whether these 2 personalities are together or not. It is their own business whether they can sort out their love problems and emotional disputes. They are adults and should be given their privacy and freedom to choose.

Just my 2 cents worth

Ornateghost said...

I thought it should be obvious why the 140th is acting like a tabloid: consisten loss of readership.

An exact parallel can be drawn by referencing HK printed media development. It's only a question of when the 140th will get there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe to provide more excuses when they lose again?!

I have never considered them fellow singaporeans. I feel more for the man who died at the MRT tracks than what these two is going through ...

ColdZero said...

Strange that on the one hand you should feel (rightly)that it is nobody's business, and yet on the other hand you have reproduced the article in its entirety thereby perpetuating the rumour mongering cycle.

rahulv said...

Asian Games 2006, Doha

The showcase event for Asian athletes, the Asian Games are back. Held every four years, Asian Games 2006 is coming up in Doha, a beautiful city in Qatar.

Since the year 2000, Qatar has been vying for this prestigious quadrennial event, trying to surpass other Asian cities. Finally, Doha gets to host the 2006 Asian Games from 1st to 15th of December.

The history of Asian Games reveals that Qatar is only the second country in West Asia to hold this event since 1974, when Iran were the proud hosts.

The Asian Games 2006, Doha will be the 15th Asian Games since the inception of the event way back in 1951. The first Asian Games were held in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Qatar is a small country spread over 11,437 square kilometers. For a progressive economy like Qatar, the Asian Games is a massive event, something that'll augment the nation's development.

Read More