Friday, January 1, 2010
Has anything changed?
The New Year wishes I wrote in The Malay Malay on Dec 30, 2005 for the 2006 New Year, is still very relevant.
Going through it, I really wonder if much has changed and if I write my wishes for sports for 2010, am I going to wish differently.
Honestly, I feel that my 2006 wishes has still not been answered.
For 2010, even the international meets Malaysia will be competing is the same as 2006 - Thomas Cup, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Men's World Bowling Championship, World Squash championship etc.
Before looking at what I had written for 2006, I just would like to add a few more wishes for 2010:
1. Wish that Malaysia will be Truly Malaysian. Never mind the 1Malaysia propaganda which has become more commercial than anything, but genuinely be a Truly Malaysian country - sincerely in all aspects of life in Malaysia.
2. Wish that the Education and Sports Ministers will be permanent posts given to truly deserving persons who have the background in the area. The constant changes in Ministers is not helping both the Ministries and in the sports and education policies at all.
3. Wish that there will be no discrimination when it comes to finding a place in national team of any sports, a place in the university or college and employment.
And add the wishes of 2005 below:
AS we usher in the New Year one second after midnight on Sunday, there are not one but 12 wishes - one for each month of the year - that I hope will come true for the sake of sports in the country.
For far too long, we have been trying to revitalise sports, with the hope of relishing their achievements, and thereby justifying the big sums of money spent.
Of course, we have had our moments of success in squash, bowling, badminton, wushu and recently, the SEA Games in the Philippines.
But there is much more to be achieved, especially in all the other sports that are still struggling to make an impact.
And for that to happen, I believe these 12 wishes, or at least the majority of them, have to be fulfilled.
Indeed, 2006 will be a busy year for sports where Malaysian athletes will be involved in a number of major events, except the World Cup in Germany in June.
These include the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, World Cup hockey, Thomas Cup, World Badminton Championships, Men's World Bowling Championship, World Squash Championships and Doha Asian Games.
If success is achieved in these competitions, all will be fine. If not, there is going to be witch-hunting.
So, looking at sports in the country on a long-term and sustainable perspective, it is best if sports associations, athletes and the public try to make these wishes come true:
1) A SOUND, TRANSPARENT AND PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATION:
Ensure the staff of the association, from the leader right down to the office boy, are held accountable and work for the sport, and not their personal agendas. Ensure professionals are hired for the respective jobs in the set-up because in modern-day sports, leading positions cannot be filled
2. HAVING A VISION:
Set targets and realistic goals and always start development at the grassroots level for natural progression. Conduct checks and balances from time to time. Forget about short-term goals.
3. EMPHASISE SCHOOL SPORTS:
This point is important because schools form the foundation of any sport. The Education and Sports Ministries have to work hand in hand, while the National Sports Associations and State Sports Associations have to play their role in helping schools by
setting up bases there.
4. NURTURE THE PASSION:
Be it an official, athlete or the public, unless they embrace sports, we will be fooling ourselves to try and achieve targets.
5. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY:
With millions of ringgit being spent by the Government on sports, the funds given have to be accounted for to the last sen, and proposals closely scrutinised before they are approved.
Sports associations cannot depend on the Government to fund their programmes forever. They have to start standing on their own two feet, and also begin behaving like business organisations by seeking sponsors for their own survival.
Sports associations have a social and cultural responsibility besides playing a part in education and national integration.
8. KEEPING ABREAST OF THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AND TRENDS IN THE SPORTS WORLD:
Unless sports associations are in tune with the international scene, we are going to be left behind. This is especially so with sports going increasingly hi-tech.
9. INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE:
Sports associations cannot remain in their shells, but instead should meet international challenges and compete against the best, if they want to close the growing gap in many sports between Malaysia and their neighbours. Athletes should be exposed to the highest levels of competition. It is not just about winning medals each time we compete.
10. SPORTING FACILITIES: Sports associations should work closely with the State Governments or town councils to ensure there are more playing fields, gymnasiums, halls and courts throughout the country. Without proper infrastructure and, more importantly, nor public access, sports is not going to make any big leap in the future. Stop building ultra-modern
stadiums, which become white elephants or are not easily accessible to the public.
11. LIMITED GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION:
It is great the Government are fully supportive of sports in the country and genuinely want to see
sports reach a higher level. But they have to be careful not to take over the responsibilities of the sports associations because the latter also have an equally important role to play. It would be better to teach the sports associations to fish rather than supply them with the fishes.
12. MEDIA COVERAGE AND UNDERSTANDING:
The media play a vital role in the development of sports and it is important that reporting is objective. There should be no cover-ups, biased reporting nor favours granted. There will always be the good, the bad and the ugly and every aspect should be reported to help sports in the country reach the peak.
These may be one too many wishes to be achieved in a year when we have failed for so long. But there is nothing like taking a bold step to try and achieve it for the sake of Malaysian sports, which has tremendous potential that has never been fully realised because of all the side-tracking.
Have a Happy New Year and let's hope for a prosperous 2006 for Malaysian sports.
So are any of the wishes for 2010 going to be fulfilled? When after four years, the same wishes is applicable, I sincerely hope the wishes for 2015 will not have to be the same!