“I’m of mixed parentage. My father is Singaporean Chinese, and my mother is Papua New Guinean. I was born and raised in Papua New Guinea (PNG), but when I turned 18, my siblings and I had to move to Singapore because I had to do National Service (NS).

Singapore was my first time overseas, and it was a culture shock for me. There are so many races, traditions and languages here. I found the slangs and how people speak English here so confusing, but now I speak Singlish like I’ve been here for ages.

I’ve properly settled down now and I’m working as a fitness trainer in the army, but when I first came here, I didn’t have any friends. Most of the friends I’ve made these past six years are from the army or rugby.

I started playing rugby at 21, right after NS. Rugby is a national sport in PNG, but as Singapore doesn’t have a rugby league tournament, I play rugby union instead that’s organised by the Singapore Rugby Union. I don’t think they’re that different.

Most memorable moment? Putting on the jersey for the first time when I was part of the Men’s 15s team. I played the wing position and I scored my biggest try when we competed at the National Stadium last year. It felt really good.

This year, I’m looking forward to representing Singapore at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur (KL). I actually pulled my hamstring recently and I just got a platelet-rich plasma injection to help recover the muscles, but I’m ready to be on the field again.

I’ll be playing for my mother in KL. She passed away from cancer last year, and losing her was hard because she was the closest thing to home. She was the number one supporter in my life, and I know I’ll do my best if I’m playing for her.” – Jonathan Wong, 24

Do head down and support our rugby athletes at the 2017 SEA Games from 19th to 20th August in KL. For more info about the Singapore Rugby Union, visit:


Read our interviews with other SEA Games athletes here.


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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.