Friday, August 16, 2013 - 11:40
Sport and music also do not have boundaries. People of all races, colours and creeds will congregate in the name of these two activities.
Sport, which has been my life all these years, has brought me joy, sorrow, respect and fear, but above all, it has introduced me to all kinds of people.
My love for sport started in school, where I was active in football. I played it at club level and was a coach and managed a team later in life. I travelled the world as a sports journalist and some three decades of sports journalism later, I cannot, and will not, detach myself from sport.
I love music too, though I cannot play any instrument.
My late father played the harmonica and harmonium, so there must be some music genes in my blood, or so I would like to believe.
In a nutshell, sport and music have been a huge part of my existence, but in the past two weeks, they have moved me like never before.
Two sportsmen and a musician died in this period. First, hockey star Chua Boon Huat was killed in a road accident.
Then during the Hari Raya holidays, one of Malaysia’s finest athletes, Ishtiaq Mubarak, died after a fall in the bathroom, and just a day later, a colleague and buddy, entertainment writer and musician Errol De Cruz, left us in almost similar circumstances.
What was amazing was the number of people who turned up for the funerals of all three of them to pay their last respects.
This drove home an important point – Chua, Ishtiaq and Errol had touched many lives through sport and music. The lesson here for the sporting fraternity is that you should not treat your involvement in sport lightly or take it for granted.
Sport, just like music, must be accorded the highest respect and sports people should strive for the best results, always.
Billions of ringgit are spent on sport in Malaysia and it is the livelihood of many. Indeed, millions will jump to their feet to applaud or shed tears in moments of glory or even defeat in this universe.
Thus it was disheartening to hear badminton ace Koo Kien Keat blame Malaysian fans for his poor form. He claims that fans expect too much of him and that he feels suffocated in his own country.
His audacity proves that he does not appreciate his status as a national badminton player and the support he is getting.
Strive for excellence and deliver and everything will fall into place. Don’t expect sympathy for mediocre performances. Give your best as there is no shame in losing to a better player or team. Just tell yourself that you will be back.
When you start blaming everyone else for your shortcomings, it only underlines your lack of character.
Koo seems to have forgotten that badminton brought him whatever accolades he has received. Now, he is ridiculing the very sport that put him on a pedestal.
Maybe he should take a leaf from the late Ishtiaq and Chua, who garnered so much respect, love and admiration.
Errol, despite not having been as high profile, showed you can touch people’s lives if you go about your job with passion and professionalism.
Chua, Ishtiaq and Errol have walked the path and showed the way. May they rest in peace.
As for our sportsmen and sportswomen, shed blood, sweat and tears in your quest for excellence and you will be remembered forever like the legends before you.