Saturday, August 30, 2008
Malaysia has been shouting the word 50 times since 1957. Comes 31st August 2008, it’s going to be shouted one more time. Each time it’s cheered, our nation has evolved one more year. Some may not be happy by what our nation has developed into. Some may be content. Some may not be satisfied. Some may be relieved. Some may not be patient. Some may be willing to wait. Some may not be pleased. Some may be thankful.
However different are our feelings, I am very sure, we’ll all cry if one day we woke up to find out that we’re no longer in control of our nation's destiny. And I’m sure all the complaining, protesting, arguing, or even flying flags upside-down, are done out of love for this country. Not all would agree on one method of expressing our loves, but all would express the same one love. If they don’t love, they will not care. If they do not care, they will not react. If they react, that would mean they love.
So, how would you shout Merdeka this year?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
as shows of joy or shows of despair; as a twisted facial expression overcome by emotion of happiness or emotion of sadness; as tears erupted from a broken barrier of euphoria from achievement or heartbreak from failure?
Have you also wondered why no matter how happy children are, they will not cry? Now, if that’s true, when do children cross into the realm of emotion where they’ll be so happy that they’ll cry?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
“Hahahahahaha …” my 6-years-old boy giggled.
I looked at him, caught surprised.
“Hahahahaha …” he giggled again. In an instant, I was infected by his laughter, “Hahahahaha … “ I giggled too.
“Hahahahaha …” my 8-years-old little girl, sitting at the back of the car, joined us.
After a short pause, I turned and looked at him again. Our eyes met and, “Hahahahaha …”. We all laughed, again, louder with each round.
The rounds of laughter were started by the simplest of remark on a most ordinary incident.
We were driving through heavy rain. As I overtook a slow truck on a two-lane road, the truck went over a puddle of water and caused a big wave of water splashing onto our car’s left side, where my boy was seated at the front. Casually, I said to my boy, “Wah! Lucky you had the window up, otherwise the water will make you wet.” My boy looked at me, thought for a short while and burst out giggling.
I was surprised by the outburst.
The remark was not meant to be a joke, an observation on what might have happened at best. But his laughter of pure and innocent happiness out of the simplest of happening caught me by surprise, not for the first time. And the subsequent laugh-pause-look-and-laugh-pause-look-and-laugh brought me great happiness.
Lately, my little boy and me are sharing more and more of this spontaneous instance, where reproduction in any form to anyone but us would fail to describe the feeling of the moment.
I truly enjoy and cherish these special moments with my children. Though, I can’t remember having many of this special moment with my little girl, for whatever reason. Though I must admit, I have a very short memory span. Probably, as my little girl is getting older, she is having more questions and uncertainties regarding everyday happenings, or probably pressure from school is getting heavier each day. She seems to be less carefree than my little boy during his age. Or probably my little boy is just more playful. It will bring me great joy and comfort if I can inject more carefree spirit into her being.
At that particular moment, laughter drowned out the sound of pattering rain. To me, heaven came upon us in that car, and worldly thoughts had not a single gap to fill.
Words would fail me in trying to describe my happy feeling from these moments that we share. But, assuming there’s no negative implication to my loved ones, I could have just died at that point in time, and have no regrets. Truly.
I am a simple man.
Now that I didn’t die at that moment, I will pray and hope and wish that for years to come, I will get to enjoy more of these spontaneous moments with my children, and that we’ll be laughing so heartily into their teenage years, or maybe even adulthood.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Whatever is the reason for the one-sided performance during the final, be it a poor game plan, a poor execution of a proper game plan, the tidal pressure wave of the home crowd, the burden of expectation, the fear of losing, or the overwhelming significance of the event, frankly, I could not suppress my disappointment from our team’s failure in overcoming pressures by preparing for the expected influence of pressures on the strength of Lee Chong Wei’s strokes, his smashes, or net plays. It’s a well-known fact that mental strength of our athletes is our main stumbling block in major competitions. And I was disappointed after all these years, it remains a major stumbling block. But is Lee Chong Wei a Zero because of the defeat?
He would be if, going into the final match, his target was a silver medal.
But his pensive expression, his uneasy hand movement, his almost-embarrassed body language, and his fighting back his tears, comforted us that he did try to go for the ultimate glory. He did his best under the circumstances. Though he knew his best was not enough. He was disappointed, or maybe even furious, at himself. As he knew he had failed his countrymen, not in losing the match, but in not giving a credible performance.
Standing on the right of Lin Dan on the podium, watching our national flag being raised for the first time after a long 12 years, however disappointed he was, he should be proud of himself, as all Malaysians were proud of him, for giving his best and putting Malaysia back on the medal tally once again.
(In the mean time, spare a thought though for the man standing on Lin Dan’s left, Chen Jin, the bronze medalist. He didn’t even get a chance to go all out for glory in his semi-final match against Lin Dan.)
So, a highly precious lesson learnt. Olympic being a sport event that comes around only once every four years, few would have the experience of participating in the games. The fact that peak period of athletes usually lasts less than ten years, fewer still would have the opportunity to be in form at the right time and play in a final. But the highly coveted experience would mean nothing if he’s satisfied with the silver medal, and do not use this agonizing defeat, and the disappointment of Malaysians as a spring board to reach for higher glory and to transcend our disappointment into euphoria.
So is he a Zero, or a Hero?
Well, it’s not time to tell yet. Being 26 years old, he might not be at his peak, and London Olympics 2012 is still a very probable target. If he can use this precious experience to strengthen his next quest for sport achievement and bring pride to the nation, then he had not failed us Malaysians, who are behind him all the way.
So, Zero or Hero? Lee Chong Wei, it's in your hands!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I was nervous. I was holding my breath. I was overjoyed. I was confused. I was indifferent. I was happy. I was confident. Now, I am eager. And I am hopeful.
I was so nervous that I skipped the live telecast of Olympic Badminton semi-final match between our Lee Chong Wei and Korean Lee Hyun Il last night, on purpose. I managed to catch the live telecast of our double pair Khoo and Tan the night before, and found the drama and excitement and the subsequent heart breaks too much to handle. It does seem that the sinking losing feeling always follows whenever I give my support to our athletes by watching them live. So this time, I stayed away.
I was holding my breath when I clicked on the live score of the match on the net. 2-1 to Lee Chong Wei.
I was overjoyed. It does seem that I get better result if I read it instead of watching it live. But I’m sure not going to miss the final and pray that it's not going to hurt our chance at a gold medal. But as the joy was sinking in …
I was confused. Against the big hoo-hah of "Ketuanan Melayu" and the more recent protest by the MARA students regarding increasing the quota for non-Malays students, how should I be feeling at this point – as a non-Malay Malaysian? How are the people who shouted “Ketuanan Melayu” with such vigours feeling? What are the thoughts of the students who raised their fists during their protest? What’s Lee Chong Wei’s thought during his match? Was he fighting as a non-Malay or as a Malaysian?
I have always been indifferent to these kind of “sensitive” news. Isn’t it more sensitive to react to an issue, than to raise an issue? Because I know that I’m a Malaysian, inside-out and outside-in, top-down and bottom-up. I was born here, raised here, educated here, and now working here and making my contribution here. Can you get more Malaysian than that? We are defined by what we do, not what others do or don’t do. We are who we are because we just are!
I was happy to see a picture of Chong Wei kissing his Malaysian badge in this morning paper. That’s the way, Chong Wei! You won as a Malaysian, not as a non-Malay Malaysian! Then I also saw a picture of him hugging his coach, Misbun Sidek, a non-non-Malay. Now that’s a picture of true Malaysia. Teamwork.
I found my confidence this morning when I came across a few blogs by our non-non-Malay countrymen blogging their congratulations to Chong Wei’s while searching for his photos. Then I realized, it doesn’t matter how good a crop is, there are bound to be some bad apples.
Now, I’m eager to watch the final between Chong Wei and Lin Dan. And I’m sure all Malaysian will be hopeful and waiting for a Malaysian to win the first Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing 2008.
Go, Malaysia Go!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
One down. Ten to go.
All the works within less than 2 seconds, and with an extra dead weigh of 60 or 70 kg on its back.
Have you ever wonder, with all the hard works done by the beautiful animals, why does the medal of the Equestrian event go to the one with two legs, who does nothing but just sit there, looking pretty? Doesn’t anybody notice? The horse has a neck to hang the medal too?
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Finally, after two hours of parades of thousands of human beings in different groups, we’re about to witness the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to be declared opened.
Whatever problems all these humans are facing back home, whatever dispute or disagreement they have with other participating humans, whatever their belief in religion and politics, whoever are their leaders, wherever they live, whatever languages they speak, they will be here representing humanity as one entity.
Their purposes? To provide a period of respite to human beings around the globe from their worries, and to remind all of them that we are, as shown during the parade, the same. They come together not only to compete against each other, but more importantly to drive each other towards testing and stretching the limits of human body and spirit. They are there, as humanities, to challenge humanities and to celebrate humanities.
So, let the games begin!
Okay, that’s enough respite … Back to my own teenzy-weenzy problems. Now, where am I going to get extra money for my petrol? And food? What expenses should I cut? Should I get another job? Hmm … money, money, money … headache, headache, headache …
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
“Finally!” I thought.
This morning, I heard on the radio that Usain Bolt has decided to run in both the 100m and 200m race in the coming Olympic.
I haven’t heard of this Usain Bolt guy until I read about him in the news when he broke the 100m world record. I’m not even sure how to pronounce his name. This is a guy who is expert in 200m, picked up the 100m event to better prepare for his favourite 200m event. And he casually went and broke the world record. Talk about hidden potential.
Of course, after that, he and his coach were facing a dilemma – should he now register in the 100m event as well? Would his chances of winning a gold in 200m be diminished by the additional effort in the 100m races? Does he have what it takes physically and, more importantly, mentally to race in two events? What if he went home empty handed because of an event which wasn’t in his plan when he started? Would he regret the decision? If he went home empty handed in this edition of Olympic, would he get another chance for the next edition? What if he is injured and has to sit at home to watch the Olympics on TV instead? Would he then be more regretful? How would he feel looking back at his decision 50 years from now? Would he be around 50 years later? What would he be doing after 50 years? Would he grow a beard? After so many questions, where the hell am I going with this???
In a sport where 0.0000001 seconds means the world between gold and silver, glory and disappointment, mental power will be the defining factor between sprint athletes. I’m not sure how Mr Bolt and his coach came to this decision. But I hope his mental preparation for these events would not be weakened by this lengthy weighing process.
And, in a world where living your life to its fullest is the aim; in a world where you’re not allowed to have “what if” questions hanging around your thoughts; in a world where regrets are the last thing you want to bring into your grave; and knowing that you have the potential to go for it, was there even a choice to be considered?
This reminds me of the movie “Tin Cup”, in which towards the end, at a major golf championship, at the final hole, standing some distances from the green, which was protected by a pond at the front, Kevin Costner’s character had a chance to play it safe and force a playoff for the championship. But he ignored advices from his friends and supporters and tried to do the heroics of reaching the far-away green in one shot. After countless times having his ball drop into a pond, to the moans and groans of the gallery, he eventually won the crowd over with his determination and guts, moans and groans turned into supporting cheers. Silence swept through the gallery with his last allowed shot. He landed his ball on the greens. Amidst the loud cheers from the gallery for achieving some sorts of a record, he realized the chance he let slip to force a play-off and go for the championship, and hung his head. Joy? Despair?But then again, when my sport nowadays is clicking at the speed of a sprinting leopard trying to hop through 100+ blogs in less than one hour, and feeling the world spinning when I stand up at the end, I’m hardly in any position to judge.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
“There are no coincidences in life.”
“Success is the ability of a man or woman to fail, but then have the courage to get back up, dust off the mud and then try life all over again”
“Living means waking up excited and going to sleep exhausted by the excitement.”
And, of course,
“Fear imprisons us forever while courage allows us to achieve our dreams.”
These are but a few words that impressed me while reading through The Fearless Blog – the one blog that I’ve been following ever since I started blogging.Be it an article on her students, a woman she doesn’t know, her loves of all things nature, her younger days, her dog Woody, her family trips, etc, it always amazes me how I can visualise her fingers dancing effortlessly and swiftly on her keyboard typing out her thoughts when I'm reading the article. I can always sense the ease with which she can come up with words to construct free flowing sentences that are moving, encouraging and inspiring. But being a professor on developmental writing for over 18 years, you’d expect that, won’t you?
And she does not use “big words” often. Another reason I like reading her blogs, save me the trouble to raise my hand, reach for the drawer, open it, take out the dictionary and flip to the correct page to understand an unfamiliar word every two or three sentences. The uninterrupted flow makes the reading all the more enjoyable. And it’s encouraging for me too. For “big words” I know little, and I would like to be able to write well too.
Trying to hone my writing skill, I would read most of her articles more than once, trying to unlock her secret on writing. Or I’ll just hop directly onto her posts on writing technique and grammar, which are refreshing and helpful. Hope you don’t mind me getting some free lessons here, Professor.
It’s also here that I picked up a few inspirational, motivational, and writers’ blogs, as she’d do reviews on her favourite blogs regularly.
And if you’d like to beef up your vocabulary, right before you leave the site, scroll down to the end of the blog and catch a “Word of the Day”. She’s a professor in writing, what would you expect?
I do have to add: with the limited time I spend surfing the Net, I have yet to exhaust all her posts. Still, I’d highly recommend a stopover at her blog – not just to appreciate how well she wrote, but, more importantly, to “to seek courage and inspiration” from what she wrote.
The reason I’m writing my comments (dare not call it a Review :-)) on The Fearless Blog is because she’s kind enough to pass me an AWARD (my first ever!) a few days ago.
However, as the rules require me to pass it on to my “followers”, I think I’ll break the chain here and be selfish by keeping it for myself. Last I checked when I turned around, I didn’t notice a soul in sight. Sigh … I also don’t feel easy passing it to someone else, unless I’m confident I know him/her to a certain extent.
Yipee! An AWARD!