Friday 31 December 2010

Keep on Roaring........Harimau Malaya!

As the last posting for 2010, it is again about an animal. This time it is about tigers, the Malayan Tiger which had just won the AFF Suzuki Cup Championship on Wednesday. Thanks to them, we in Malaysia are enjoying another public holiday today (forget the loss of productivity since most of us are already on the celebration mood) as some may have lost count of holidays that we have in a year.

Many of us, especially who had the opportunity to experience the golden days of Malaysian soccer in the 70's and 80's, has lost hope on Malaysian soccer. I personally feel that while players come and go, the leadership of FAM remains about the same. So, if we are looking at the common denominator that is correlated to the performance of our soccer team, it is quite obvious as far as I am concern. More reform needed in the leadership of the FAM to enhance the future of our soccer.

Let me first congratulate Harimau Malaya. I started to watch their second semifinal game with Vietnam. Defending their 2-0 lead, they displayed character and maturity, something that I have not seen for a long time. Finally, we got a team of thinking players with great football skills!

I did not plan my Jakarta trip to coincide with the first final match between Harimau Malaya and Garuda. A Malaysian friend suggested that we watch the match at a "Malaysian" restaurant.  I thought it was a great idea since we will have the opportunity to support the tigers with fellow Malaysians. Well, it turned out that the four of us were the only Malaysians at that restaurants. The rest were Indonesian fans in their red shirts. There are thousands more within the vicinity. It was certainly a very different experience especially when we had to restraint ourselves from being seen to be too excited when Malaysia scored 3 goals but had to also clap when Indonesia made some good moves, part of risk management. We left the restaurant 10 minutes before the game was over.

A part from the issue of laser, politicians were blamed for the failure of Garuda in Kuala Lumpur. Being controlled by Golkar, the Indonesian soccer association got the players to be involved with events, sometimes involving politicians. This, to a certain extend, affected their concentration, especially when they are not yet crowned as champions. Definitely we need to learn something from this, especially when thinking about sustaining the performance as champions.

Whether the team should continue to be called Harimau Malaya or re-brand as Harimau Malaysia or even Harimau 1Malaysia, I feel we need to honour tradition. Not only the team abandoned the traditional yellow-black outfit in favour of the red-blue-white outfit (hopefully this reflect the colour of our flag) there are groups called for the name of Harimau Malaya to be changed to Harimau Malaysia. This could be something for us to debate in 2011.

Harimau Malaya finally roared at the close of 2010. I suppose this will be a stepping stone for a better future. We have debunked the myth that we are only Jaguh Kampung or Village Champions. We are now top of South East Asia Soccer. Asia should be the next target. Again, many of us still remember how easy we defeated Japan, Korea and China in the 70's. 

Keep roaring Harimau Malaya!

Sunday 19 December 2010

Saving Our Elephants

Although it was a long time ago, I still remember Kamahl singing the Elephant Song on stage at Mara Junior Science College, Kota Bharu. He was brought in by the World Wildlife Fund to create awareness among the young minds regarding the importance of conserving the animal Kingdom. In my case, he was successful as the song still resonates with me until today.

There are few things around the Elephant Song.

First, it is about reminding us that we share this planet with others, who may not have high intelligence like us. If some of us believe that by being here first means they have special rights over others, the elephants and other creatures were here even before the first among us. Why are they not accorded similar special rights? I thought by having higher intelligence we carry higher responsibilities to behave better than the animals!

Second, Kamahl was a Malaysian. He migrated to Australia and made his name there. He represents many other Malaysians who discovered better life while being migrants on the land of others. Does this mean we are not good at spotting talents? Or simply, opportunities are not distributed based on merit and fairness but more on who is in control?

Perhaps by being concern about those whose future are at our mercy, we would make ourselves more human. Just wondering when one starts thinking about saving elephants, who is he or she is actually saving, the elephant or himself or herself?

The full lyric of the Elephant song:

Tell me said the elephant
Tell me brothers if you can
Why all the world is full of creatures
Yet we grow in fear of man
Tell me said the elephant
tell me why this has to be
we have to run from man and hunter
never safe and never free


-people kill without regret
although they fly by jumbo-jet
let the word all may remember
let the children not forget.

Gentle is the elephant
Pulling loads and everything
we love to hear the children laughing
when we,re in the circus-ring
Happy was the elephant
Happy was his jungle life
and then they came, the cruel hunters
with their rifle and their knives


Listen, please listen, said the elephant
if we want the world we know, to stay alife
Then man and beast, we must work together
And together we will survive

Listen said the elephant
It is conservation time
So take the warning when we trumpet
For the future of mankind


Tuesday 7 December 2010

Hijrah - A Lay Man's Perspective

A part form being a public holiday in Malaysia, some may be wondering the significant of Hijrah to Muslims. This is my personal perspective of this occasion and should not be taken as an authoritative  explanation of Hijrah. Please be warned!

Hijrah means more or less migration, referring to the migration of Prophet Muhammad and Muslims from Mecca to Medina. Primarily guided by their faith, the Muslims left behind their wealth and whatever rights enjoyed in Mecca. Perhaps in this modern days of ours is akin to foregoing one's constitutional rights in whatever name.

Making bold moves to achieve greater good is perhaps another message. Success will not be achieve without sacrifice. The migrants from Mecca had to go through rough journey, avoiding those who were trying to prevent them from leaving their motherland.

The other part of the story was how the migrants from Mecca was received by fellow Muslims in Medina. They were whole heartedly accepted as brothers and sisters and were granted all the rights as citizen without any doubt. Again, this is akin to the granting of constitutional rights to the migrants.

The fusion of brotherhood based upon faith eventually created a strong community which in the later part of Prophet Muhammad's life was able to re-capture Mecca and turned this blessed city as the centre of the Muslim's faith until today. The Muslims later went to share their beliefs with many people from many continents and Muslims were pioneers in many scientific and technological fields, contributing significantly to the civilisation of this planet. 

I am sure, we as Malaysians, irrespective of race or religion, could learn from this major milestone in Islam and apply some of the principles in making Malaysia a great place for all of us. We have to move beyond performing rituals and externalise the principles of Hijrah to make this historical occasion a really meaningful celebration.