In 2002, Malaysia and Singapore began an annual sporting event meant to foster friendship and promote healthy living between the two nations. Called The Straits Games (TSG), it now invites athletes from around the world, and next week the 16th annual games will take place in Bali, Indonesia. It also marks the first time the Muslim-majority country has ever hosted TSG.
A tropical wonderland and sporting event unlike any other
Bali, of course, is a tropical tourist destination well-known for its relaxing coral beaches, lush mountain ranges, colorful markets full of haggling and its delicious, inexpensive rice and pork cuisine. The province also has culture everywhere you look, with centuries-old rituals, festivals and temples hidden around every corner.
TSG will take place during Indonesia’s “dry season,” an ideal stretch of sunny, 80-degree weather where locals and international tourists come out to play.
This year’s TSG will feature four days of six sports tournaments — badminton, indoor and beach volleyball, bowling, swimming and a beach run. There will also be three social events: a wet-and-wild beachside pool party; a gala dinner, full of performances and surprises; and an evening at the Bali Gentleman’s Social Club, one of the sexiest clubs in the entire province.
The theme of this year’s TSG is “Free to be Yourself,” and TSG organizer Kedung Soejaya explained to us why. “We’re doing it during Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, and it’s also close to Southeast Asian Independence Day for Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. It’s about the freedom of being ourselves, which, even in the modern era, we’re still not 100% free.”
TSG isn’t just a sporting event, it’s also an HIV charity event
in addition to its sporting and social events, the 16th annual TSG will also be a charity event. TSG has partnered with Bali Peduli, a local HIV organization, to provide three different testing clinics during the Games as well as a Sunday “Lunch and Learn” seminar hosted by Indonesia activist and lecturer Dede Oetomo and a masters student from the University of Sydney. All surplus funds from TSG will go to the organization.
TSG 16 already has confirmed participants from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and, of course, Indonesia. But it’s not too late to register if you’d like to attend.
We’ll see you there!