Saturday, December 30, 2017

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THESE

GOOD BYE AMPANG PARK!!!!
This article appeared in the Malay Mail last year:
Memories of Ampang Park by Tony Mariadass
“Ampang Park shopping complex, holds fond memories for me for as a schoolboy, it was my playground.
I had the pleasure of seeing the complex – the first shopping complex in Malaysia – being built and officially opening its doors in 1973.
I was in Form Three then and the very next year, I moved to about fifteen minutes’ walk from the complex, where my late father was the steward for a guest house in Jalan Freeman (now Jalan Ampang Hilir).
While there was a bus which went to Ampang Hilir once every hour, the last bus was at 7pm and if for any reason I missed that bus, I had to get down in front of Ampang Park and walk along Circular Road (later Jalan Pekeliling and now Tun Razak) to reach home.
And sometimes after school in St John Institution, my friend and football teammate Anuar Che Wan, who also stayed at Ampang Hilir, would rush after school at 1.20pm to catch the 1.30pm bus and many a time missed it.
So we took the bus to Ampang Park and walked home. It happened more often than not and we would end up at the Complex to get some cool air and do some window shopping besides looking at the ‘scenes’ or what we used to call ‘cuci mata’, before heading home.
We were students and did not have money to spend at the complex. Occasionally we would have saved money to get an ice-cream at the ice-cream parlour on the ground floor.
The Fitzpatrick’s supermarket on the ground floor was another favourite place of ours we would look at the grocery displayed and occasionally bought a bun or sweet before we headed home.
On weekends, Ampang Complex would be our playground in the mornings and evenings, we would be playing football in our neighbourhood.
During the weekends, we would cycle to the complex and would chain our bicycles at the back and many a time had problems with the security guards who refused to allow us to leave our bicycles at bays meant for motorcycles.
Once in a while we would watch a movie at the complex.
Traffic then was a breeze then and it was just two single roads in front of Ampang Park. Only on weekends, the traffic got heavier as almost the whole town converged to the complex which was a hit then.
I and my friend Anuar and with a few more friends from the neighbourhood had spent many hours combing the four-storey building.
Another favourite spot of ours was the playground on the rooftop where the dodgem bumper cars was our favourite. Again it was only in rare occasions we had enough money to ride on it. But we spent hours just watching the ‘rich kids’ having fun for hours.
Having been hooked to Ampang Park and wanting to come to the complex as a ‘real patron’ I decided to organise a farewell do for my classmates of 1975 after our final Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) paper in November.
We managed to get about ten of us interested and each had to fork out about RM20 (which was big money then) for a night out at the rooftop Beer Garden.
It was our first taste of beer for most of us and we arrived early to enjoy the ‘Happy Hour ‘prices.
It was a night to remember as we stayed late, listened to the resident band and stayed over at a friend’s father shop house along Jalan Silang.
Till today, we talk about it and will definitely be the main topic as about 20 classmates of mine meet next Friday for 40 year reunion with some of our teachers too.
After leaving school and doing my form six in St John’s, but through night classes under the Further Education Classes (FEC), I had to look for a job to pay for my school fees.
As it happened I found a job as a despatch clerk with the Austrian Trade Commission which was located on Persiaran Hampshire, which was five minutes away from Ampang Park.
I worked there for a year and spend more time in Ampang Park, this time with a salary, I could buy clothings, shop at the supermarket and visit the many outlets.
Come Christmas, I bought all my gifts from the complex.
Ampang Park had a wide range offers in Malay fashion, every day shopping needs like textiles, shoes and handbags, groceries, toiletries and household products, as well as banking, post office, travel, and currency exchange services. It had photographic stores with the latest cameras and accessories, beauty and hair salons offering a range of attractive styles and spa services to suit every budget.
It was also a food-haven with renowned food and beverage outlets, serving delicious local and international cuisine. It was a one-stop outlet.
How can I forget the MacDonalds where I spent many hours.
But sadly after moving out of the area, I had hardly revisited it, especially with so many complexes springing up.
But each time I pass Ampang Park, memories will come flooding back, especially how I grew up there as a schoolboy and teenager.
With news that the iconic Ampang Park mall will be demolished for the planned underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, is indeed sad.
Memories will be erased or will only be remembered as memories without the building standing there to remind the good times for those who grew up with it.
Can it be saved for nostalgic reasons? Unlikely as more often than not in the name of development many historical and iconic sites have had to make way.
Whatever happens, Ampang Park will be etched in my memory for as long as I live.”
AMPANG PARK WILL OFFICIALLY CLOSED TOMORROW AT MIDNIGHT IN THE NAME OF DEVELOPMENT. ANOTHER ICONIC LANDMARK WILL BE BURIED IN KUALA LUMPUR.
RIP AMPANG PARK.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

MALAYSIAN SPORTS



Malaysian sports never fails to amazes. They make baffling decisions and their explanations is even more baffling. They never seem to come out clean. Decisions are their prerogative but make the right decisions without agendas or pressure.

Friday, December 15, 2017

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART


 STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART 

 JULY 28th 2017 saw my last column – Level Field – published in the Malay Mail, as I decided I will no longer continue with the column.
That column was my 209th consecutive column, since I returned to Malay Mail in 2013 and then continued as a columnist and specialist writer on a part-time basis from late 2014.
My first article as a stringer with the Malay Mail appeared on Nov 17, 1977. My Level Field column began during my late stages with Malay Mail after 2000 and have another 150 odd columns written during the period.





I left in April 2006 as the Malay Mail Sports Editor and soon was working as the Sports Media officer with former Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, before following her as the Tourism Minister for nine months, before I left in February 2010.
It has been exciting, experiencing and exhilarating journey with fond memories which is a major part of my life – to be exact having spent close to 40 years as a sport journalist.
It was a difficult decision to stop writing and I am sad that I had to.
But many circumstances led me to call it quits.
Many things have changed from the good old days of sports journalism.
While I accept changes, but I cannot stand it when the profession which is supposed to be pure, fair, honest and telling it as it is, is compromised.
Too many agendas are linked and one cannot write honestly.
Yes, sports journalists do make mistakes occasionally and we readily admit to it and make the necessary corrections.
But more often than not, our articles are well researched and written based on facts or very reliable information.
I am very passionate about local sports and want to see the best for Malaysian sports, athletes and officials.
But when the sports is short changed, I will not stand by and see it happen.
We give our views and expose shortcomings with the hope that something is done to make it right or put sports back on the right track.
I have travelled quite a bit for international sports events, worked with top class coaches and administrators, visited top clubs and international sports associations, which has given me insights to the professional workings and ethics, to make Malaysian sports too realise its true potential.
But when the truth is spoken, faults or shortcomings pointed out, many of the powers to be react negatively instead of addressing the issue.
They try to use their clout to stop the writers from continuing to write, blacklist them, give them the cold shoulders and treat them like plague. Newspaper bosses are contacted to drop the writers, tone down or not to publish negative reports.
In the newspaper world, good and bad news, is news. And unlike tweets and blogs, newspapers have a more stringent responsibility and can be hauled if fake or stories are written without facts.
Of course, there are genuine and sports loving officials who act and conduct themselves professionally and who are a blessing to Malaysian sports.
It is because of these handful officials that I am still involved in sports in trying to give back sports from the years of experience I have gained through sports journalism.
Then, we also have officers of the powers to be, who behave like they own the sports and try to exert the wills of their bosses. These officials sometimes have no clue of sports or have been not been involved in sports or sports media. Sometimes they even act on their own trying to please their bosses.
In short, the shortcoming in sports is nothing new. It has been there for decades now, but the only difference is that it is getting worse.
The rot has to stop, if Malaysian sports is to be saved or to have a future.
Millions of ringgit is available to sports these days, sports is professional, athletes can make a living out of sports, we have world class sporting facilities, but yet we fall short of excellence.
We can be first class nation in sports, but with third class mentality, we will continue to fail big time.
We need sports officials who are passionate, sincere, professional, place sports above themselves and do not have personal agendas.
I know of many sports officials who in the sports for their own benefit and agendas. Many will be eyeing for the Datuk, Datuk Seri and Tan Sri titles!
I have written many articles of the good, bad and ugly of Malaysian sports over almost four decades.
The good will be met with smiles, pat on the back and congratulations, but the bad and ugly will see heads turn away and branded as ‘enemy No 1 or anti-government.’
While I like to believe all the writings over the years has made some difference to Malaysian sports, but generally today’s news in the newspapers, become tomorrow’s ‘nasi lemak’ packings!
I am not giving up on Malaysian sports. I am just fed up with the way it is heading and all the writings can be recycled by just changing the date and year and it is still relevant and current.
Thus, I have now resorted to give my views, if required through electronic media. Even then, blocks are in place not to engage.
But I do get occasional calls from BFM and Bernama TV and say it as it. It may ruffle some feathers, but at least I know I am saying it to their faces or ears and it will not be used for nasi lemak packing!
I doubt what I say will make any difference because it will continue to get a deaf ear or blind eye, but at least I get the satisfaction of saying my piece and hopefully some appreciate it.
So I sign off, still hoping that there is hope for Malaysian sports and hopefully the right things are done for the sports and not the popular ones.

Friday, August 4, 2017

OW OPENS UP


OW'S ROLL OF HONOUR:
Sea Games – 1973 Singapore (2nd), 1975 Bangkok (gold), 1977 Kuala Lumpur (gold), 1979 Jakarta (gold)
Asian Games – 1974 Tehran (third),
Olympics – 1976 Montreal (8th), 1980 Moscow (boycott), 1984 Los Angeles (11th)
World Cup – 1978 Buenos Aires (9th), 1982 Bombay (10th)
Lahore International Hockey tournament 1976 (4th)
Esanda World Hockey tournament 1979 (9th)
Nehru Memorial tournament New Delhi (3rd)
Inter Continental Cup KL 1981 (2nd)
Pesta Sukan Singapore 1981 (champion)
Captained the Malaysian team – 1979-1982
Voted Malaysian Hockey team Player of the year for Malaysian Sportsman of the Year Award - 1979, 1980 and 1981
Voted best player – Jakarta Sea Games, Esanda World Hockey tournament
Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame - 2013
 Member of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (now Malaysian Hockey Confederation - MHC) disciplinary board from 2008 to 2009
 Independent Council member of MHC from 2010 to 2012.
Penang State Hockey Association in 2012
Relinquished his independent post and became MHC Council member by virtue of president of PHA.
Elected as a vice-president of the MHC at their annual general meeting in 2015.





 At the Press Conference on Wednesday  

Level Field


THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) probably have got more than they bargained for with too much on the plate to chew, after their former coaching chairman Datuk Ow Soon Kooi’s clarifications.

Ow held a press conference of Wednesday with regards to his resignation as the vice-president of MHC, chairman of the coaching committee and a member of the national team’s management committee and to state some facts and figures with regards to his work with MHC.
What he had revealed surely must have ruffled some feathers in the MHC hierarchy.
However, it was not Ow’s intention to go on a witch-hunt or to point fingers at anyone, but merely to state his case with facts and figures to clear his tarnished reputation as a corporate figure by media reports with regard to his resignation and his background.
It was indeed a surprise that Ow had called for a press conference because he is one who shuns publicity and who works from the background without getting into the limelight.
But it was obvious Ow – a double Olympian (Montreal 1976, Los Angeles 1984), double world-cupper (Buenos Aires 1978, Bombay 1982) and the only Malaysian hockey captain (1979-1982) – was hurt the way his image was tarnished after relinquishing his posts in MHC where he had served with honesty, sincerity and above all the passion for the game. 
Ow, a former senior police officer who hails from Penang, would have been a three-time Olympian had Malaysia not boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
Ow has served the sports for good 40 years as a player, coach and hockey administrator. He was elected as a vice-president of the MHC at their annual general meeting in 2015.
The least he should have been accorded when he decided to part ways with the game, was appreciation and thank you.

After all his reason stated when he relinquished all posts in MHC was because of his cervical spondylosis which was affecting his health and was in constant pain.

But when his integrity was in question, he probably was left with no choice but to come out in the open to clear his name.

Even at the Press Conference he remained his humble self and even efforts by the media to pinpoint personnel for his decision to opt out of the game he loved so much, he blamed no one or threw brickbats anyone.

He was magnanimous in wishing MHC all the very best and even said that his former teammate Soon Mustapha, who is the new coaching chairman has all the credentials to head the committee and was confident that he will do a good job.

At the Press Conference, he was merely stated facts to say that his coaching committee members had worked hard and did their job in all sincerity to help uplift the standard of the game in the country.

Of course, when they could no longer execute their roles effectively, four members of the coaching, decided to tender in their resignation after they found out that Ow had tendered his resignation.

The four were former national skippers R. Ramakrishnan (two Olympics, three World Cups, 1978 World Cup captain), Ahmad Sayuti (former international), Lam Sau Foong (ex-Malaysian women’s captain), Shahbuddin Royani (Johor hockey secretary).

Another former women’s hockey captain, K. Maheswari, had resigned from the committee much earlier because of her work commitment.

All were present the Press Conference in support of Ow.

Ow must have surely done something right and for the good of hockey, purely based on the support shown to him with the number of people who turned up to the Press Conference.

Present was a line-up of who’s who in Malaysian hockey – former MHF secretary general and international umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan, 1975 World Cup captain Datuk N. Sri Shanmuganthan, his teammates T. Pathmarajah, M. Mahendran and Datuk Poon Fook Loke, Gurmit Singh, M. Sambu, Datuk Mirnawan Nawawi, Mary Soo and Teh Siew Bee to name a few. Also present was former national juniors coach Balbir Singh.

Ow clearly stated his only agenda to be involved in hockey was to give back to the game which has given him so much.

“I just wanted a platform to give back to the game I am very passionate about and which has made me what I am today,” said the 61 year-old who played as right-inside half during his heydays.

It was his love for hockey and people who cared for him, that made a difference in his life.

“I cannot forget my early days when I was struggling to make ends meet and even applied for exemption for school fees of $7.50 from the State Education department who granted me the exemption,” recalled Ow of his early days.

“Penang Free School was noted for its prowess in hockey and the hockey teacher N. Velu Pillay played a key role in developing me,” revealed Ow who was in Francis Light School during his primary school days.

“I am indeed lucky to be what I am today and owe it to many people along the way. I am forever indebted to them.

Ow, is tenth from a poor family of 13 in Georgetown, Penang.

“That is why, I give back to the game whatever I can and never forget my roots,” said Ow.

After school he started off as a waiter at a hotel in Penang.

But he was sacked after a while as he was taking too much time-off for hockey.

It was then that Osman Kamal, hockey convenor of Penang Port Commission PPC), who was the PPC’s security chief, who saw Ow play and was impressed.
Osman found out that Ow was jobless and was from a poor family and decided to offer him a job as a fireman in 1974 before moving up to be a security clerk.

"Osman was my ‘godfather’. If not for him spotting me and encouraging me, I will not be what I am today.”

Ow then applied to join the Police Force, where Osman assisted again and was recruited as Probationary Inspector in 1976 and retired at the age of 40 as Chief Inspector before moving onto the corporate world.

Probably Ow’s only mistake was that he only knows to work by following structures and rules laid down, as a corporate figure and former police officer.

Without doubt Ow is among the rare breed of sports administrators who is not only passionate of the game, but is in the game to give what he can and not take what he can or has ulterior motives and agendas.

His decision to withdraw himself from the sporting world is indeed a great loss. But at this moment his health is of paramount importance, and his decision must be rested and wish him all then best to get better in his health.

But rest assured, knowing Ow, he will continue to help sports and people n anyway he can and as usual from the background without any fanfare and publicity.

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com



Friday, July 28, 2017

MONSTER SEA GAMES CARNIVAL NEEDS A TRIM



    



 WHY has the SEA Games grown into a monster carnival? Veering from being a hunting platform for the development of future sport stars in the region.
Many will point the finger to the South East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) — the governing body which was founded in June 1959 with six founder countries — Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, Thailand and Vietnam — which has now grown to 11 — with the inclusion of Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Timor Leste.
What do we blame this runaway train on? For starters, Rule 34 of the SEAGF Charter clearly defines that the programme is be selected by the host.
While the main grouse is a flotilla of irrelevant sports, the first rule states: a minimum of 22 sports, with events contained therein to be determined based on the following criteria:
— 34.1: there shall be no artificial events… unless the same are already practised in the Olympic or Asian Games; — 34.2: a minimum of four NOCs must participate in a sport/event for it to be included …;
— 34.3: with the exception of Athletics, Aquatics, and Shooting, other sports shall not have more than 5 pct of the total number of events or medal tally;
— 34.4: Following the existing guidelines of Athletics and Aquatics (swimming, diving, water polo) being Compulsory Sports, with a minimum of 14 sports from Category II (35 events listed; sports in Olympics and Asian Games) and a maximum of 8 sports from Category III (15 events listed), South East Asian Games Federation Charter (as at 30 May 2010) 11 sports programme in the SEA Games should give priority or preference to sports already included in the IOC and / or OCA sports programmes.
— 34.6 Each adopted sport must belong to an existing International Sport Federation (IF) and / or an Asian Sport Federation (ASF); 34.7 The Organising Committee may hold as a “Demonstration Sports”, one (1) sport, subject to approval…
With the rules in place to safeguard the Games from exploding, the finger now shifts to the host nation for picking winnable sports to favour itself.
What started with 12 sports in the inaugural Games in Thailand in 1959 has grown to an average of 30 sports or more. While the KL Games will see 38 sports, the highest number was in 2011 when Indonesia hosted the 26th Games with 44 sports!
The other issue is the accelerating cost for a host, where the Games reflects economic clout, with grand opening and closings. Malaysia’s budget to host both the upcoming SEA Games and Asean Para Games exceeds RM400 million.
The Philippines has just pulled out of the 2019 Games, after a two-month running war with Islamic militants. It agreed in 2015 to host the 2019 SEA Games after Brunei and Vietnam declined.
On ways to cut costs, veteran sports administrator who is also an honorary member of SEAGF, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, suggested reducing the number of sports, stop engaging consultants and agents, early planning and using existing facilities.
Datuk A. Vaithilingam, former Selangor Schools Sports Council secretary general, said: “Hosts add too much fanfare to the Games.”
Another observer said: “It seems to me the primary objective of any host in the SEA Games is to win the most gold medals. Hence the… little known sports.”

TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades’ experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at tmariadass@gmail.com


BLOG VERSION

COMMENTARY   

Level Field

Let’s make the SEA Games lean and mean

Who should take responsibility for the SEA Games having growing into a monster carnival instead of a Games as a platform for the development for future stars in the region and a Games of reputable standard?

Many will point the finger to the South East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) – the governing body of Games which was founded in June 1959 with six founder countries – Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, Thailand and Vietnam – which has now grown to have eleven members – with the inclusion of Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and Timor Leste.

However, the SEAGF, in their Charter and Rules under Rule 34 (Programme), have clearly defined the programme to be selected by the host of each Games.

While the main grouse of sports observers and critics is that the Games has grown too big and with some irrelevant sports being included, the programme’s first rule states:

The sports programme adopted for any one SEA Games shall consist of a minimum 22 sports, with events contained therein to be determined based on the following criteria:
34.1 there shall be no artificial events, especially for those adopted team events, unless the same are already practiced in the Olympic or Asian Games.

34.2 a minimum of four NOCs must participate in a sport/event for it to be included in the programme of the SEA Games, with a proviso to allow varying the same as and when required.

34.3 with the exception of Athletics, Aquatics, and Shooting, other sports in the SEA Games programme shall not have more than five (5%) percent of the total number of events or medal tally.

34.4 Following the existing guidelines of Athletics and Aquatics being Compulsory Sports, with a minimum of 14 sports from Category II and a maximum of 8 sports from Category III, South East Asian Games Federation Charter (As at 30 May 2010) 11 sports programme in the SEA Games should give priority or preference to those sports that are already included in the IOC and/or OCA sports programmes.

CATEGORY I: COMPULSORY SPORTS

Athletics 2. Swimming (including Diving and water polo)

CATEGORY II: SPORTS IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE ASIAN GAMES (MINIMUM 14 SPORTS)
1. Archery 2. Badminton 3. Baseball 4. Basketball 5. Billiards & Snooker 6. Bowling (Tenpin) 7. Boxing 8. Canoeing 9. Cycling 10. Equestrian & Polo 11. Fencing 12. Football 13. Golf 14. Gymnastics 15. Handball 16. Hockey 17. Judo 18. Karate-do 19. Modern Pentathlon 20. Rowing 21. Rugby 22. Sailing 23. Sepak Takraw 24. Softball 25. Soft Tennis 26. Shooting 27. Squash 28. Table Tennis 29. Taekwondo 30. Tennis 31. Triathlon 32. Volleyball 33. Weightlifting 34. Wrestling 35. Wushu

CATEGORY III: OTHER SPORTS (MAXIMUM 8 SPORTS)
1. Arnis 2. Bodybuilding 3. Chess 4. Dance sport 5. Fin swimming 6. Lawn Bowls 7. Kempo 8. Muay 9. Netball 10. Petanque 11. Pencak Silat 12. Shuttlecock 13. Traditional Boat Race 14. Water skiing 15. Vovinam

34.6 Each adopted sport must belong to an existing International Sport Federation (IF) and/or an Asian Sport Federation (ASF)

34.7 The Organising Committee may hold as a “Demonstration Sports”, one (1) sport, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee

With the rules in place to safeguard the Games from turning into a carnival and to keep in line to keep the Games respectable, the Games have still become huge with many irrelevant sports.
Basically, it is the host nation who is to be blamed for increasing the number of sports, especially sports which they can win medals and tailoring the programme, especially increasing the number of events in their sports, to favour the host nation.

What started with 12 sports in the inaugural Games in Thailand in 1959 has grown to an average of 30 sports or more in recent Games.

While in Malaysia next month will see 38 sports contested, the highest number of sports in a Games was when Indonesia hosted the 26th Games in 2011, where 44 sports were competed!

Maye the SEAGF may want to consider reviewing their Category III in their programme of other sports, from their current minimum of two to eight to a maybe just two or maximum four, to keep the Games relevant to give priority to sports competed at the Olympic and Asian Games.

The other issue which is concerning about the Games is the accelerating cost of hosting the Games.

What used to be Games organised at minimum cost without all the fanfares, the Games has become an avenue to showcase the nation’s ability to make the Games grand scale with a lot of money spent on opening and closing ceremonies.

For instance Malaysia’s budget to host both the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games exceeds RM400 million.

And it is no surprise that we find countries withdrawing from hosting the Games after initial acceptance according to the rotation basis of hosts, as economic situations and other priorities issues of utilising available funds force them rethink.

The Philippines has pulled out of hosting the 2019 Games citing the government’s focus on rebuilding a city ravaged by a two-month battle between security forces and Islamic militants.

The country’s sports officials formally abandoned their plans to host the games after a series of meetings with President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez said.

The Philippines agreed in 2015 to host the 2019 SEA Games after two other countries, Brunei and Vietnam, declined.
There have several suggestions by sports observers and veteran sports administrators to reduce costs of hosting the Games.

Veteran sports administrator who is also an honorary member of the SEAGF, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi suggested reducing the number of sports, stop engaging consultants and agents, early planning, using existing sports facilities and finally decide on an affordable budget and work within this budget with strict controls.

Datuk Vaithilingam Ampalavanar, former Selangor Schools Sports Council secretary-general, said: “Hosts add a lot of fanfare to the Games which was not necessary and can help cut overall cost.”

He asked if show case of entertainment just to satisfy the Tourism and Cultural divisions was necessary.

“Do entertainment shows in the world organise sports for their ceremonies,” he asked.

“Do International Conferences organise such extravagant ceremonies?
Why only for International Sports? For athletes the Games is their priority, not musicians and dancers,” he asserted. 

He pleaded: “I am not exaggerating, please have only sports and save sports! Not promote culture, entertainment and tourism.”

Maybe sports has evolved and sports these days entails sports tourism, but still it can be done in moderation and not spend exorbitant sums of money on entertainment.
Another observer said: “It seems to me the primary objective of any host in the SEA Games is to win the most gold medals! Hence the games are enlarged to accommodate little known sports so that the host is strong.”

Datuk Dina Rizal, who has been associated with sports for decades said:
“Change the mind-set to produce Sea champions not national heroes.

“Forget this patronising attitude each time a host nation organises SEA Games to include sports to please host nation and losing the Olympic and Asian targets.”

Indeed it is time to make the Sea Games more relevant to the development of sports in the region to make headway at the Asian level for starters.

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com