Monday, December 29, 2014

Memories of Jay Jay

A message from Jay Jay's friend Zul

I received this email yesterday and it was from my late brother Jeyaprakash's (JayJay) very good friend Zulkefli.
JayJay passed away in 1993 when he was only 29 years old and today after 21 years of his passing on, his friend gets in touch with me.
I believe my brother is reaching me through his friend.
And Zul's message is indeed touching. I immediately contacted him and we will be meeting soon.
And above all, Zul's message is what true Malaysians are all about. We are all Malaysians.
Thanks Zul for reaching me.
His email to me:
Sahabat baik jj jeyaprash
Zulkefli Ab Manaf
to me
Bila baca blog ini ( saya tahu ammah & appa telah tiada..sudah lama saya tak dengar berita keluarga jj semenjak dia tiada..ammah mmg terlalu baik semasa hayatnya ada mmg ibu penyayang serta appa seorang yg baik tidak sombong suka sembang2 serta tak kisah apa bangsa...sepanjang saya mengenali jj byk suka duka yg saya kongsi bersama sehingga ke saat ini saya tak dapat lupa serta menerima kematian dia..dia satu2nya kawan yg tiada penganti sehingga hari ini...igt tak saya zul@joe yg sering ke rumah awak di lorong jugra kelang lama..

Friday, December 26, 2014

We rocked Asia and the world


By Tony Mariadass

(H) We rocked Asia and the world

Those we the days when sports in the county was of Asian and World standards.
Yes, we have Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Datuk Nicol David and Sazali Samad who keep the Malaysian flag flying high, but what has happened to team sports when we have a pool of top class athletes.
Today we are celebrating regional tournament wins and even reaching the final.
Our athletes should be setting much higher standards and working hard to at least reach the standards set up past athletes and probably setting their goals to surpass it.
Four teams of the past have been honoured and inducted to the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame in 2004 and since then no other team has been inducted.
This column honours these sportsman for their great achievement and putting Malaysian sports on the world arena as early as the 40s era.
Badminton team, Thomas Cup 1949, Preston, England:
Chan Kan Leong, Yeoh Tech Chye, Teoh Seng Khoon, Ooi Teik Hock, Lim Chuan Geok, Wong Peng Soon, Law Teik Hock, Lim Kee Fong and Ong Poh Lim
The 1949 Thomas Cup was the inaugural tournament of Thomas Cup, the most important men's badminton team competition in the world.
The tournament was originally planned for 1941-1942 (badminton seasons in the northern hemisphere traditionally ran from the autumn of one calendar year to the spring of the next), but was delayed when World War II exploded across the continents. Sir Thomas George's dream was finally realised in 1948-1949 when ten national teams participated in the first Thomas Cup competition. Three qualifying zones were established: Pan America, Europe, and the Pacific; though Malaya (now Malaysia) was the only Pacific zone participant.
The United States and Denmark won their respective zone qualifications and thus joined Malaya for the inter-zone ties.
The inter-zone ties were held in the United Kingdom. As the tournament used a knockout system, rather than a round-robin system, Denmark was given a bye in the first round. Malaya defeated the USA 6–3 in a highly competitive match played in Glasgow, Scotland. Of note, this tie marked the first of only three ever matches between the USA's Dave Freeman and Malaya's Wong Peng Soon the two greatest singles players of the early post-war period. In the final round held in Preston, England, Malaya beat Denmark 8–1 and became the first nation to win a Thomas Cup.
Malaysia had gone to produce top badminton players like the late Eddy Chong, late Punch Gunalan, Ng Boon Bee, Tan Yee Khan and Misbun Sidek and his brother Razip and Jalani to name a few.
But of late, the sports lacks depth and the stronghold in the sport is continuously being challenged.

4 X 100m Relay team – gold medal at the 5th Asian Games, Bangkok 1966:
 M. Jegathesan, T. Krishnan, G. Rajalingam and Mohd Ariffin Ahmad

Athletics certainly enjoyed their better years in the past when we ruled Asia.
One team which brought that glory is the 4 X 100 relay team which not only won the gold medal but the timing of 40.6 was an Asian Games record.
Tan Sri  Dr M. Jegathesan a member of the victorious team and who become an athletics icon to the nation, summed up the current situation well when he said: “Sports today has shifted away from the game of poverty to the effluent society.
“Gone are the days when sports was competed by the hard core sports personalities who were rough and tough.
“Today sports is about being a member of club and playing indoor sports.
“We do not produce the tough sportsmen who will train for long hours rain or shine, take the tough regiment of training and sometimes even having to balance between their studies and sports.”
Jegathesan said that other countries still continue to produce top sportsmen and women because they still have a sports culture where families play a key role in their children’s sporting activities.
“Parents still send their children for out bound or other outdoor activities to expose their children to the tough activities.”
Football team, XX Olympic Games Munich 1972
Ali Bakar, Bahwandi Hiralal, Hamzah Hussin, Harun Jusoh, Lim Fung Kee, Looi Loon Teik, Namat Abdullah, Mohd Bakar, M. Chandran, Othman Abdullah, Rahim Abdullah, Salleh Ibrahim,Shaharuddin Abdullah, V. Krishnasamy, Wong Kam Fook and Zawawi Yusoff
Members of the qualifying team who won the ticket to Munich in Seoul but who did not travel to Munich:
Syed Ahmad, Dell Akbar Khan, Chan Kok Leong, Wong Hee Kok, V. Kalimutu and Yap Eng Hock
The 70s was the golden era for Malaysian football having not only qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics, but also the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but did not compete because of the boycott.
The team of the era also excelled at the Asian Games finishing third at the 1974 Tehran Games, qualified for the Asian Cup in 1976 and 1980 and were kingpins at the Sea Games winning the title in 1977 and 1979 and were runners-up 1971 and 1975.
Players of that era are household names till today among the older generation.
It is understandable that the younger generation who have not seen the teams of the 70s perform, now are satisfied with regional tournament success.
In the pre-Olympics Munich qualifier in Seoul, Malaysia defeated South Korea 1-0 and thrashing Japan 3-0 and Taiwan and Philippines.
At the Olympics, Malaysia played in the opening match of the tournament against host Germany and lost 3-0.
In the next game, Malaysia beat USA 3-0 before going down to Morocco 6-0 in the last game to finish third in the four team Group A.
Datuk M. Chandran one of the most accomplished footballer Malaysia has produced was the captain of the Munich Olympics team.
“Our secret to success was simply that we had a good all round team who played as a team. Talent was plenty and the competition was keen making it difficult to make the final squad,” recalled Chandran who later became a national coach.
“The players were amateurs then, but showed so much more professionalism than the professionals players of the present era.
“We had strong local leagues where players grew to become top players. Although there were no development programmes, but the schools were the nursery and played a key role.
“Another reason for the declining standards today is the inclusion of foreign players who take up the places of locals to deny them the opportunity to play. And with teams emphasising on foreign strikers and defenders, it is little wonder that the national team suffers in these departments for lack of quality players,” said Chandran who was one of the best defenders of his era.
Chandran also said that with not many new local coaches emerging, fresh faces and ideas is lacking in the local scene to make it more challenging and exciting.  
Hockey team, World Cup Kuala Lumpur 1975
Brian Sta Maria, Francis Belwantharan, Franco D’Cruz, Poon Fook Loke, S. Balasingam, Khairudin Zainal, Len de Oliverio, N. Palanisamy, R. Ramakrishnan, R. Pathmarajah, Wong Choon Hin, Zain Azahari, M. Mahendran, Phong Poh Meng and N. Sri Shanmuganathan

Critic argue that the game of hockey had changed and one cannot go one basking on the achievement of the 1975 World Cup hockey team who played on grass, the rules were different and they had home ground advantage.
But whatever said, one cannot deny that the players that made the team were quality players and the fact that till today, hockey fans remember their names only underlines their superiority.
They competed against the world’s best and stood tall.
“Say what people like, no one can take away what we achieved and we did it through sheer hard work, determination, dedication and discipline,” said Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan the captain of the 75 World Cup team.
“The success of the team was because we were truly an all-Malaysian team. Everyone played their role – from the players, officials, media and fans – for our success in 1975,” said Shan as he is fondly called.
He also reminded that the hockey team had also qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics semifinals.
Shan said Malaysia does lack talent but has to believe in local coaches to bring success.
“We have experienced coaches, but all they need is to be exposed to the new trends in the world of coaching by sending them overseas for courses or attachment with top hockey nations,” said Shan.
“This will be better than hiring foreign coaches who normally come with outdated methods. If these foreign coaches were really all that good, they would be coaching in their own country or other top teams.
“Players on the other hand also have to work harder at the game and put in the extra hours on their own. They must also have character.”

Certainly all does not look lost for Malaysian sports as long as we put our house in order and start building from the foundation to reach the pinnacle. Afterall, we have already been there before and that should be enough motivation to taste success again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let’s look at the big picture


Last Saturday, there was so much euphoria in the country despite Malaysia failing to wrest the AFF Cup from Thailand.
Many felt the team had tried their best and that Dollah Salleh had proved himself despite having coached the team for such a short time. They thought the senior players recalled to the team had performed well and that because we had taken the lead with 3-0, we were very close to victory.
It is great that the fans gave the team their undivided support and the turnout at the stadium that day was fantastic. Basically, Malaysian football is dying to taste success and even a sniff at it is considered cause for celebration.
What fans don't seem to realise is that Malaysia failed to win a regional tournament. I am sure many will accuse me of belittling the national team, but everything is not hunky-dory and Malaysian football is not headed in the right direction.
We are ranked 56th among 209 footballing nations in the world and 28th in Asia - nothing to be proud of, really. We might rise a few rungs with our second placing in the AFF Cup, but there is still a long way to go to join the best in Asia.
I have known Dollah since he was a Razak Cup player for Johor in the early 1980s and he was an excellent striker. He is a good coach and has a great personality, but whether he is ready for international assignment remains to be seen.
For starters, he has set Malaysian football back by bringing into his squad national players who had been put out to pasture. He claimed he did not have enough time to work with young players as he was only appointed in June. 
But there was a pool of young players readily available to him, ones Malaysia had been grooming over the years. Yet he chose to bring back the old-timers.
These players, fresh from the Malaysia Cup campaign, would have been fit and waiting to gell with the team. They may have been a little jaded, but that could have been overcome with the right training.
Yes, the team reached the final, but it was a stop-gap measure and the team is only good for one tournament and whether there was aid from the hidden hands to see the team reach the final, is left to our imagination.
Already Shukor Adnan has announced his retirement. And with the team clearly displaying that they are just a 70-minute team, it will be back to the drawing board for Dollah.
Would it not have been better to have used the younger set of players who would have gained additional exposure playing in the AFF Cup and move on to build the team further?
Maybe we can take a cue from the Thai team which average age was only 22.
Malaysia for too long has been relying on stop-gap measures and it has to stop.
We were heading in the right direction eyeing to qualify for the Asian Cup next month in Gold Coast, Australia, and although we missed the boat, something good was being built.
But now we have taken a few steps behind.
To make matters worse for Malaysian football, next year in the M-League it has been decided by our learned football officials that we allow four foreign players to play.
It is further going to do harm to Malaysian football, as another local player is going to be deprived of action in his own league and above the national team is going to suffer with dearth of calibre players in the strike force especially.
It is about time FA of Malaysia decide whether they want to promote the M-League or the national team. Bold decisions have to be taken by FAM that will benefit the national team, if they are serious about raising Malaysia’s football profile.
State FAs have to stop being selfish and thinking about their own team and give their cooperation to build a national team.
This will indeed be asking too much of them because we have seen it happen over and over and looks like nothing will change.
It is little wonder that we get all excited about the AFF Cup performance and make a mountain out of it.
It is pointless saying God willing we will do better in the next AFF Cup, when we do nothing positive to improve the standard of the national team. Nothing comes for free. We have to work hard for it with proper planning and long term vision.
Next we are all going to excited to win the Sea Games gold in Singapore in June and if that happens, we will be contended and celebrating if there is no tomorrow.
With such short-sightedness, Malaysia football is going to bask in victories in small leagues or hope for Santa Claus to wave his magic wand and cast a miracle for Malaysian football.
The sooner we start looking at the bigger picture and have bigger ambitions, the better for Malaysian football and at least we can have true hopes of being a footballing nation of reckoning.
Here’s wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with hopes of a better sporting year for Malaysia.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than three
decades of experience and is ­­­­­
passionate about local sports. He
can be reached at tmariadass@ Twitter handle: @

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Icons – Datuk G. Vijayananthan

Mr Hockey


It is rare and a great honour to have an entire stadium stand on their feet and sing one a birthday song or give a standing ovation. Both were given to Datuk Vijayananthan Gulasingam.
Fondly known as VG or Viji, his name is synonymous with the history of hockey in the country and worldwide.
Just turned 83 on Nov 7, Viji is also known as ‘Mr Hockey’, was then Malaysian Hockey Federation (now Malaysian Hockey Confederation) general secretary for 26 years (1959 – 1985) serving under three presidents – the late Tun Abdul Razak Datuk Hussein (1959 – 1976), the late Datuk Hussein Onn (1977 -1981) and the late former Sultan of Perak Raja Azlan Shah (1981 -1985).
Viji working as a volunteer and known for managing MHF matters from the booth off his car with stool and his ever reliable portable typewriter has certainly gone to make a name for himself in the world of hockey not only as an administrator but an international hockey umpire and technical delegate.

Most memorable moments

It was at the 23rd FIH Rabobant Champion Trophy in Holland in November 2001 that 5,000 fans stood up and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Viji.
“One of the officials who overheard calls from my wife and children wishing me happy birthday had told the organisers about it. Just before the start of the last match of the day on Nov 7 (Korea v Holland), Bob Davidson, the chairman of the organising committee insisted that I follow him to the centre of the field to inspect it,” recalled Viji who was the technical delegate for the tournament.
“To my greatest shock and excitement the “Happy Birthday’ song was played and the moment we had reached the centre of the field, the entire crowd stood up and joined in the singing.
“I was really taken aback and tried very hard to keep my tears from rolling down. This gesture of the fans of Holland is a wonderful gift which I shall never forget.”
Another moment etched in the memories of Viji was after the final of the 2nd World Cup also in Amsterdam between Holland and India on 2nd September, 1973 where he was umpiring.
“It was a pleasant surprise when I was told that the FIH president then, Rene Frank, has decided that the best umpires must officiate the final regardless if they were from Asia or Europe. That was how I got appointed to umpire the final together with Horacio from Argentina,” said Viji who was rated the World No 1 umpire then.
“The game was electrifying and ended tied at 1-1 after extra time and Holland went to win their first ever major success by winning on penalty stroke.
 As both Horacio and I walked back across the field towards main stadium, the entire crowd gave us a standing ovation which I have never experienced before.”

Early days

Viji besides his car, his house was the office of MHF.
“I purchased my own typewriter on instalment basis from the small salary I earned as a clerk,” said Viji who trained as a teacher but ended up in the Selangor Education Department
“Even for the 1975 3rd World Cup which Malaysia hosted taking over from India, Tun Abdul Razak offered the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman to be used as the secretariat.
“It was trying times for the sport of hockey, but we still managed well and did well in the game too.
“I was not paid a single cent during my 26 years I served as the MHF secretary or for all the travels to FIH meetings. I had to fork out my own money and my late wife Rajaletchchmy for 51 years was a tremendous support,” said Viji who relinquished the post in 1985.
“But despite the lack of remunerations, I loved every minute I was involved in the sport. It was a sad day for me to tender in my resignation, but it was a condition the Royal Selangor Golf Club imposed, where I was joining as their Sports Manager. It was a well-paid job and I needed the money to put my children through their education.”
Viji was also the secretary of the Selangor Hockey Association from 1959 to 1962. He gave up the post to concentrate on his work with MHF.
But what many may now know is that he served football long before hockey.
He served as the assistant secretary of the Football Association of Selangor for eight years from 1956 to 1963 and secretary for two years from 1963.
Viji was also a part time sports reporter with The Malay Mail in 1964, but stopped after a while because his conscious did not allow him to be an administrator of the game and then write about it too.
“I could earn about 100 to 120 dollars and it was big money then. But after a few months, I decided to stop as I felt it was not ethical,” said Viji.
Sports has been in Viji’s blood from young as schoolboy who started off by playing cricket for the Tamilians’ Physical Cultural Assocaition (TPCA).
And it was by chance that he took up hockey when he was standing on the sidelines to watch TPCA play in a Division Two match after his cricket practice.
“One of the players failed to turn up and C. Arumugam, who was in charge of the hockey team, asked me to go and change and take his place,” recalled Viji.
“From that day, I became a regular player and played for them for 25 years – till 1981.”

Rise as umpire

Viji initially registered as Grade 3 umpire with the MHF Umpires’ Board in March 1964 rose to become Grade One international umpire in 1971 under the revised FIH list. Earlier he was accorded International Class One umpire in 1969. It was only Grade One umpires who were permitted to officiate at the Olympic Games.
Among the international tournaments Viji has umpired include the Tehran Asian Games in 1974 and 1976 Bangkok Asian Games (officiated in final in both Games); four World Cups – 1973 Amsterdam, 1975 Kuala Lumpur, 1978 Argentina and Bombay 1981/82. He officiated in the final in Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
He was umpired in two Olympics (Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976) and missed out the third of Malaysia’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games.
He has also officiated in four Champions Trophy championships in Pakistan (1978), Perth (1979), Karachi (1980 and 1981).
Viji is also known for awarding the goal that gave India a 2-1 win over Pakistan and winning the World Cup in 1975 at the Merdeka Stadium.
“I have had numerous phone calls and letters inquiring about the winning goal then and had wanted to write but on second thought, decided forget he issue,” said Viji.
But Viji finally gave his explanation when he wrote his book “The Memoirs of ‘Mr Hockey’ in 2012 in a dedication to his wife Rajaletchmy who passed away in 2010 while holidaying and was on the last leg in Barcelona.
“The ball which was pushed in by Askok Kumar on India had crossed the goal line at a point about one foot away from the upright post. I was so close to the incident that I clearly saw the whole ball crossing the goal line but within a split second it had struck something and had rebounded into play,” Viji had explained in his book.
“This baffled me for a moment and I delayed, by a split second in blowing for goal as I wanted to be very sure of my decision. If the ball had struck the goal boards, then I would have heard a clear sound. If the ball had struck the upright post – either at its side or front – it could have been clearly noticed by me for I was very close to the incident.
“The ball had actually struck the peg which was placed against goal boards about a foot away from the upright. I then decided to award the goal and blew my whistle.”
Vii till today cannot understand why many refer it as a disputed goal because a goal can only be termed disputed if an official protest – in writing – was made to the technical delegate after the game. Pakistan made no official protest.”


His only regret as an umpire was that he was that he was deprived on two occasions from umpiring the finals at the Munich and Montreal Olympics.
“But I have had the privilege of attending nine Olympics under various capacities and I suppose it is a record by itself I can be very proud off,” Viji consoled himself.
Viji was the assistant team manager for the 1964 Malaysian team to the Tokyo Olympics and the Mexico Games in 1968, umpire at the 1972 Munich, 1976 in Montreal and 1980 Moscow Olympics (boycotted), technical director for 1984 Los Angeles Games, judge for Seoul Games in 1988, Assistant technical delegate for 1992 Barcelona Games, tournament director for 1996 Atlanta Games and Technical officer for the 2000 Sydney Games.


Viji has a string of awards including the ‘Gold Medal’ from Pakistan president Gen Zia-ul-Haq, ‘Lathouwers Medal’, Sports Leadership Award, Diploma of Merit from FIH, inducted to the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame and the Brand Laureate Grand Master Icon award for his contribution to hockey.


Viji regarded as the encyclopaedia of hockey has indeed done well to pen down all his experiences, knowledge, his history and his family which was mooted by his daughter Anushya who had kept a scrap book titled “All about my father and hockey.’
The 638 page book edited by journalist R. Nadeswaran is a collector’s item which Viji had printed 1,118 copies and distributed to his family members and friends in the hockey circle as a gift from him.
His legacy will definitely live on forever.

Empty seats, empty minds, empty hopes

SPORTS MINISTER Khairy Jamaluddin was passionate and clear about his vision of Malaysian sports in his off -the-cuff speech at the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) 22nd annual dinner and awards night last Saturday.

But can the national sports associations (NSAs) overcome the challenges of making Malaysia a strong sporting nation? Can they achieve success in the next four years?

In his speech, Khairy urged the NSAs to work with the Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council (NSC) to make an impact by 2018.

He even said NSAs will be empowered to run their own programmes instead of being a part of the current centralised system in which NSC plays a key role.

He recognised the need for the NSAs to be responsible for their respective sports and acknowledged it was no longer feasible to depend on the products of the Jaya ‘98 programme.

The debacles at the Glasgow Commonwealth and Incheon Asian Games this year showed Malaysia cannot rely on their “old warriors”.

Khairy emphasised development programmes, but is four years enough?

Before you know it, all eyes will be on the Singapore SEA Games in June.

Malaysia will host the Games in 2017 and all preparations will be geared towards trying to match the 111 golds won when the Games were last held here in 2001.

There’s also the 2016 Olympics and in 2018 it will be the Commonwealth and Asian Games again.

Khairy’s plans for the NSAs sound good, but will he still be the sports minister?
kjKhairy wants to empower the NSAs but too many offi cials only think about themselves. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

Would his successor continue his proposals?

It is time long-term programmes were cast in stone so they have to be continued no matter what.

Ahmad Shapawi Ismail was yesterday appointed the new NSC director-general (DG) by Khairy.

Perhaps, the minister can see to it that the DG ensures all the implemented policies remain in place.

Maybe a memorandum of understanding is in order, setting out the fundamental principles and the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders of the various sports. This means the NSAs have an important role to play. But this is an area that gives me the jitters.

Judging from what I witnessed at the dinner — out of the 57 NSAs (35 ordinary members with voting rights and 22 associate members with no voting rights), 13 (eight ordinary members and five associate members) did not show up.

Worse, most of those who came were only junior officers. Only one NSA president — Datuk Dr P.S. Nathan of tenpin bowling — and two deputy presidents — Huang Ying How (squash) and Datuk S.M. Muthu (athletics) — attended the dinner.

Mind you, this was the annual dinner and awards night of the NSAs. They did not even have to pay for it and each NSA was given five seats. Above all, the sports minister was the guest of honour.

It was also a slap in Khairy’s face that half the hall was empty when he was giving away the awards, which included the induction of past athletes, officials and journalists into the OCM’s Hall of Fame.

If the NSAs have no respect for the minister and their own functions, how can they be trusted to realise his vision?

It is this lackadaisical attitude that has seen the NSC take control of the NSAs.

Clearly, many of the NSAs have to undergo dramatic change; the right people have to be in charge — not those with personal agendas.

My gut tells me it is too much to hope for any change in the near future.

For that to happen the majority of the NSAs have to get rid of their subsidy mentality first and start to stand on their own feet for the love of sports.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Media icons inducted to OCM Hall of Fame


 Last man standing Ian

By Tony Mariadasss

The Malaysian sports fraternity has gone through many phases over the years, but one man who can testify each phase is sports journalist extraordinaire Ian Pereira.

Ian is the last man standing in the sports print media who has served with passion and pride for more than 45 years since the 60s era.

Till today, Ian who is 73 is fit as a fiddle and would put to shame many younger sports journalists, is still employed with the Malay Mail. He swims every day without fail.

He today remains an elder statesman of Malaysian sports journalism, with regular insights into sports personalities of the 1960s and beyond via the sports pages of the Malay Mail.
Ian brings to his reporting the precision, patience and sporting shrewdness and human understanding which are the stamp of his work, but history, research and humanity remain his love.

Ian built a career in journalism, starting out as a rookie reporter with the Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur in April (? Year please) under the editorship of Norman Siebel whom he considered the best of the lot he worked under. He always wanted to be all that Mr Siebel was.

So what has kept him going all these years?

I kept to journalism because it was the second best thing I enjoyed doing other than my first which was engineering. I wanted to be an engineer, but that was not to be,” said Ian who will be among the pioneer members of the print and electronic media to be inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame tonight.

Frankie D’Cruz, Emeritus Editor of Malay Mail and who grew up reading sports reports written by Ian had this to say: “Hallmark journalist Ian Pereira could very easily amaze you with the sharpness of his journalistic insight. He is the definite professional, someone blessed as he inevitably will be with a lifetime spent totally immersed in journalism.

Twice-honoured national Sportswriter of the Year in 1973 and 1983, Ian is a humble hero, a team player who has never capitalised on his celebrity even as the current crop of journalists wax lyrical about his inimitable art of thoughtful writing.

“With ferocious work ethics, Ian remains a fine example of courage and tenacity to inspire his present colleagues at Malay Mail to display professional detachment and reserve while reporting.

 “Sport needs a robust stable of talented journalists whose job is to get below the surface and under the skin of those who ruin the character of the human spirit. Ian is still there for them.

“It's risky journalism but carries a higher value and Ian has been the light of young sports journalists wishing to make the most of their careers.

Working with Ian is a gift, an inspiration, and a special thrill. He tells young sportswriters: “Make history, or lose and be history”.

In recent years, Ian whose desirable trait of human understanding is imposing has stamped a credible mark on remembering the dearly departed, including sportsmen and officials, in his regular column in Malay Mail ‘A Life Remembered’.

His love for 'human interest' stories and his great art, born out of his generous natural sympathies, was to get people to talk about their lives without reserve or artifice.

My first lesson in sports journalism as a stringer with the Malay Mail in 1978 was given by Ian.

I still clearly remember how much interest he took in me and went through each article I wrote with a fine tooth comb and not every encounter was pleasant.

He would tear me apart for mistakes on tables and taught me how it done. Till today, whenever I have tabulate a table, Ian’s face appears before me.

He was a strict teacher. Critical most of time. But that is Ian for you. He is a stickler for perfection.

Till today, he still remains the same telling the younger reporters off when they spell names wrongly, get their facts wrong or hand in slip-shot work.

The only difference is that Ian is now seen as the ‘grumpy old man’ by Gen-Y journalists. But what they fail to realise is that he is just practicing what journalism was at its height and the high standards that were achieved.
But nothing will stop the hard-core sports journalist Ian is. He still plods on.

 Away from work, Ian is a delight to have around especially at parties.
Having spent his time picking his guitar during his free time, he will be ever-ready to render the beat of country music and songs which in turn has rubbed on to his three children, Lyn-John, Jo-Ann and Dwight.

The song most associated with Ian was Johnny Horton's North to Alaska, which he sang well playing the guitar since his early teenage years.

Ian also remembers birthdays of friends and relatives at home and abroad and sends them greeting cards and notes of encouragement and words of wisdom.

In one such birthday greetings, he sent a card to Bill Clinton after he read both volumes of the president's memoirs - the Early Years and the Presidential years - and made comments on them in the card.

In response President Clinton sent him a short sweet note concluding: "It means a lot to me that you have taken such a personal interest in my work.
"I deeply appreciate your warm words of support.
"All the best to you, Ian." Signed - Bill Clinton.

Ian received similar letters of appreciation from Singapore President Wee Kim Wee and American Country music legend Johnny Cash.

Still, Ian's old fashioned charm and ways contrasted strikingly with an enthusiastic boyishness which never left him.

He believes that difference in people are important and makes life more interesting, but our common humanity mattered more to him.

His words of wisdom to the younger generation of journalists: “Like in any other profession, utmost dedication matters most. I gave it my all. You give the world your best and the best will come back to you. It's also 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration. I also had a fair share of scoops and worked under some great men.”

Congratulations Ian. You truly deserve to be inducted into the OCM Hall of Fame and have done the sports journalism fraternity proud. We salute you Ian!


OCM honours the voices of sports

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for their 60th anniversary have decided to give them long overdue recognition and honour sports journalists and commentators.

In conjunction of OCM’s Annual Dinner and Awards tonight (Saturday) which will held at the Tan Sri Hamzah Arena at Wisma OCM which will be graced by the hourable youth and sports minister, Khairy Jamaluddin,  five sports journalists and three commentators will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for the very first time.

The International Olympic Council (IOC) Women & Sport Achievement Diploma, OCM Women & Sport Awards and IOC trophy will also be awarded tonight.

Four of the journalists will be inducted posthumously and these writers were household names during their era.

“We have decided to induct sports journalists and commentators among sportsmen, sportswomen and sports administrators because they have played an equal role in the development of sports, highlighting the sportsmen and women, giving coverage to events and even spotting talent,” said OCM secretary-general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi.

“Those who are inducted certainly are icons of sports for without them, sports would not have flourished to what it is today.

“Be it their coverage of events, their comments even if it is critical, their observations as an independent person, their recommendations and above all promoting the athletes has shaped what sports is do.

“The media both print and electronic play a very important especially in modern times when wide coverage is given to sports. But in past when sports coverage limited, it is these personalities who are inducted today that gave the much needed publicity.

“Their writings and commentaries were much valued and have set benchmarks for the younger generations of sportswriters and commentators to follow, which is indeed a hard act to follow.”

Indeed, those inducted are considered “gurus’ to the sports journalism fraternity.
Many of the current sports media personnel may even know or even heard of the many being inducted, but rest assured these names will definitely ring a bell to the older generation of athletes, sports officials and sports followers alike.

Heading the list is the late Norman Hope Leslie Siebel one of Malaysia's finest sports journalist of his era. He wrote with passion and authority with deep understanding of the game.

He wrote from the dirt tracks of the Kampong Pandan sports complex to the Olympic heights of Mexico City which was the last of many Olympic Games he covered for the Straits Times and later the New Straits Times.

Norman Siebel as he was more popularly known was sports writer, sports and columnist.

Besides the daily reporting, Norman had a weekly highly acclaimed commentary column titled Sportsfront which ran for years.

The high esteem with which Norman was held was reflected in the fact that FAM's founding president Tunku Abdul Rahman always wanted Norman present before starting the association's annual general meeting. 

“I was present once when delegates stood up at the FAM House along Birch Road when Tunku walked in, but before taking the chair, he turned and asked secretary late Datuk Kwok Kin Keng if Norman was present. No, said Datuk Kwok. "Then call him, we'll wait for him," said the Tunku,’ recalled rookie reporter than Ian Pereira. 

Another legendary sports journalist inducted today is the late Mansoor Rahman.

Mansoor Rahman migrated to Malaysia from Sri Lanka in 1963 to begin a career as sports reporter with the Straits Times and later The News Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur.

Soft-spoken and unassuming in character, Mansoor generally covered all sports with a sense of authority leading to his becoming Sports Editor some 12 years later.

Mansoor passed away when he collapsed while playing social tennis in 1997 aged 58.

Also to be inducted is the late Francis Emmanuel who is synonymous with sports.

He was a fond figure in the Malaysian world of sports journalism.

His genius lay in drumming up a thread of wit and humour through a dull day's play.

Then perhaps he repaid editors who allowed him a degree of licence for some ripe gossip from the beer tent.

All said and done, Francis was aloud, lusty, likable guy who won many front-paged scoops and always had two olives in every glass of Martini he held.

In his low baritone voice, he often sang Blueberry Hill in the likeness of Fats Domino, much to the cheers of his piers.

He even befriended World heavyweight boxing champion Mohammad Ali as no other Malaysian reporter did. He followed Ali on his early morning workouts in preparation for his World Heavyweight title fight against Britain's Joe Bugner at Merdeka Stadium on in June 1975.

When a foreign reporter asked Ali if his next fight was to be in Manila, Philippines, Ali asked the reporter for the source of his information. The reporter told Ali that it was Francis Emmanuel to which Ali replied: "If Francis told you that, then it must be true."

From the Bahasa Malaysia sports journalism, the late Zainuddin Bendahara has been honoured to be inducted to night too.

Zainuddin joined the English newspaper The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad in 1962.

Zainuddin did well to ascend the Sports Editor's chair of Berita Harian at a time when Malaysian sport enjoyed some of its finest moments.

 A general news reporter and later as entertainment writer for Berita Harian he was promoted as the Sports Editor of Berita Harian from 1978 till 1990.

He left the NST group at Balai Berita to join the national news agency
Bernama in corporate news. At the same time he was Editor for Nusantara Publishers as well.

He later joined the subs desk in general news for Bernama until his retirement.

Zainuddin was elected as the President of Sportswriters Association of Malayisa (SAM) from 1980 till 1990. He was again picked to head SAM one term 1998-2000.

He passed away in 2007.

From the sports commentating world Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohamed Razali or popularly known as Rahim Razali is legend who is regarded as the ‘voice of Malaysian sports’.

He is rightly inducted to the Hall of Fame as an icon for the younger generation of broadcasters to emulate.

The 75-year-old Batu Gajah commentator who still commentates started
As a temporary broadcasting assistant Grade 3 in the Malay Service of Radio Malaya in 1958.

Since his interest was in sports since schooldays, he was asked to try his hand at sports commentating for Radio. Thus began his career as sports commentator/presenter.  He was sent to Bangkok to cover the inaugural SEAP Games for Radio Malaya in 1959.

His career as a TV Sports commentator/presenter spanned over a period of more than 40 years, starting in 1965. During that period he had covered five Olympic Games, six Asian Games, four Commonwealth Games, numerous SEA Games, five World Cup Football Finals, four World Cup Hockey Finals, numerous Thomas Cup finals (Beginning 1967), Merdeka Football Tournaments, Malaysia Cup Tournaments, and various other championships and tournaments involving a variety of sports, including the live commentary for the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship between Muhamad Ali and Joe Bugner in KL in 1975.
Apart from his involvement in sports as Commentator/Presenter for TV and Radio, he was also past president of the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM). And apart from a career in the corporate sector, he also established himself as an award-winning Director, writer, producer and actor in the country's Film, TV and Theatre industries. 

Amran Hamid is another broadcasting icon being inducted today.
Born on 7 December 1940, he joined Radio Malaysia in 1963 as broadcasting assistant, the year TV Malaysia was launched in the country.

It was a case of a hobby turning into vocation. Amran was a keen radio listener as well a follower of sports. He was at the right place at the right time. Radio Malaysia was extending its broadcasting hours in the 60s. Sports had a great following. It was natural for Amran to be the early sports commentator when he joined RTM. He later became team leader for the broadcasting coverages taking him all over the country.
At that time TV Malaysia was looking for experienced commentator for its sporting coverages. Amran fit in well as his official duty was mainly office hours and the TV coverages were mainly in the evening. He was better known as a TV personality then.
This saw him travel to many countries hosting big sporting events. He was the commentator at the Olympics in Montreal Canada 1976, Football World Cup Buenos Aires 1978, The Commonwealth Games in Chrischurch, New Zealand 1974, The Hockey World Cup in Holland 1973, Kuala Lumpur 1975 and Bombay 1977 and many more international and national events including the Asian Games and the SEA Games.
Amran was also active in the Malaysian Sportswriters Association (SAM) being its Deputy President under the late Zainuddin Bendahara for two terms in the 80's bringing it out of the doldrums to its present status.