Tuesday, November 13

Chaotic weekend

Italian football was thrown into disarray and more controversies last weekend when a fan was accidently killed by police officer while trying to quell a clash with some supporters at a highway rest stop. News of the shooting prompted violence on the terraces at the game between Atalanta and AC Milan, while later in the day, fans in Rome armed with batons and stones attacked one of the police units near Stadio Olimpico before raiding the Italian Olympic Commitee (CONI) headquarters.

This happened after 9 months of the incident where a policeman was killed after a violence broke out during the Sicilian derby between Catania and Palermo. Measures were taken as a result of this, with the formation of the L'Osservatorio nazionale sulle manifestazione sportive, an independent body to combat football violence. The clubs involved were punished and had to play their games in front of an empty stadium. Other than that, security measures were adapted by the Italian government with numerous stadium closed until they made improvements to ensure better security.

However, there are voices in Italy that suggested that the violence was borne out of frustration within the Italian society as a whole and should not be viewed solely as a football problem. The people are generally unhappy and they are coming to the stadiums to express their feelings. A small incident can easily provoke the people and something as small as rumors can escalate into a nationwide riot with massive property destruction and in some instances, death. For a better perspective on the matter, you can read it here.

In a way, it was not so much different with what happened in our country last weekend. A peaceful demonstration got out of hand, and forces were used and people got hurt. It wasn't as bad as what happened in Italy, maybe because we were more restrained and too afraid to ignite a bloodbath, or maybe we were just too polite. Nevertheless, from what I heard, almost 40,000 people showed up and created havoc in the middle of the city in the middle of the afternoon. Traffic was at a standstill, and businesses were interrupted. But they managed to achieved their goal, which was to pass a memorandum to the King.

What made all this unbearable was the involvement of certain politician figures who intended to use this rally as a stepping stone into the limelight. By pushing up and so-called supporting the people, this despicable politicians probably hope that they will get elected in the upcoming election, and therefore supposedly make a difference. But we all know, power-crazed politicians are all corrupted, and with more power, come more money, instead of responsibilities. It's disheartening to see how many innocence have fallen to their ruse, and blindly supporting their cause.

The rally was intended to secure a more transparent voting system, and to introduce some changes in the electoral processes. But certain quarters twisted it and tried to ignite racial disharmony, while creating tension among the people and the government. And the government was trying very hard to quench the event, wiping it aside as an annoyance instead of tackling it as a real problem. Even the mainstream media played down the event, and only certain aspects were reported.

We do not want the problem to escalate into a nationwide problem. We have always pride ourselves as being a peaceful nation, where everyone regardless of their race and religion co-exist and live tolerably with each other. Let's hope for a better future, but at the same time, let's not jeopardise what we have built and achieved all this while.

Monday, November 12

Moving thoughts

When the door of happiness closes, another opens. But often times, we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.

It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, but it's also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Don't go for looks, they can deceive. Don't go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seems bright. Find the one who makes your heart smile.

Always put yourself in other's shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person too.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your live so that when you die, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along the way.

Never take someone for granted. Hold that person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you have lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.

Saturday, November 10

Interlude (4)

Suddenly, everything moves in slow motion. It's like time suddenly decided to stand still, and delayed his departure. He could see everything moves in absolute slowness; the girl standing next to him talking on her phone, the man at the ticket counter punching buttons on his keyboard, and the stationary red bus, with the doors closed and the driver missing.

Everything might be in slow motion, but his heart wasn't. His heart was beating at an unusual rate, racing against time, rushing towards the finishing line.

He could almost see her face, waiting for him patiently, with a big smile on her face. He could almost feel her arms wrapped around his body, and her sweet breath on his face. And he could almost feel her happiness, radiated warmly like a wildfire, spreading and engulfing him in joy and ecstasy he could never describe.

Yet, the bus laid stationary, still.

Friday, November 9

The jungle and I

There is something about the jungles that attracted me towards them. And there is no better feeling than to be enclosed by the huge trees and surrounded by the greenery with an orchestra of various sounds playing in the background. Of course, the occasional leeches and mosquitoes and those small bugs that bite can sometimes be annoying, but that is a small price to pay for the peace and tranquility surrounding the place.

My first jungle experience was when I was in school, and we had an expedition to Gunung Angsi in Kuala Pilah. Being near my school, the mountain turned up to be the place that I go to when I needed to be alone and surrounded by nature. When there was an opportunity, I will pack my bag and head to the place, sometimes staying there for a night. I will always remember Gunung Angsi as I remember my first love. My first sweet innocent love.

I've been to a lot of other mountains eversince that. And it was always the same feeling I get when I first stepped into the jungle. The calmness that radiates in the surrounding, the fact that knowing I'm at the mercy of the elements, and the thrill that I get when I run and walk the small mountain path. I guess it is the same feeling that divers get when they are underwater. That's why I can't wait to go for my first dive, because I believe, it's even more challenging and thrilling since being underwater is something that not everybody gets to do.

Nowadays, my favourite haunt is Taman Negara Pahang. Getting there is easy, with the new road leading all the way up to the resort. A drive from KL will only take around 3-4 hours, and I can just leave my car at the riverside and take a boat across. The place is so huge that it will take my whole lifetime to explore every nooks and crannies and to get acquainted with every trees and animals. Eventhough it is highly commercialised, the beauty and calm are still untouched by technology and globalisation.

When I was younger and reckless, I went for a-week hike to Taman Negara alone. I was planning to go to Mount Tahan, but somewhere along the way, I got sidetracked and followed the wrong trail. Needless to say, I was lost, and it took me almost 5 days to find my way out to civilisation. The weird part was, I didn't panic nor was I worried. It's a feeling that I have that somehow, the jungle will look after me, and I am safe as long as I respected the place. And so, I went about my trek, and camped when it was dark, and eat whatever food I have, and drink from the small streams and rivers.

It was an experience that I will never forget. And every now and then, I will fit in a weekend where I set off to some mountain or jungle. Most of the time, I will be alone, but every now and then, there will be a few friends who will check with me on my next trip and tag along with me.

I can't wait for my next trip.

Thursday, November 8

My first love letter

My dearest Ardy,

Hullo, how are you now? have you missed me yet? Don't ask me about my true feelings right now because I am feeling rather miserable about everything... my studies, the weather, my mom, my dad, my brothers and sister, everything! I miss everybody, whom I left in Malaysia, especially YOU. I don't know whether I would survive this feeling thinking that it's only 3 days and not even a week yet I start wishing that everybody is here with me.. urghh.. what a feeling.

Actually, there's so much things which I wish to tell you until I don't know where to start. Hmm.. let me tell you from the day I left Malaysia and you. Do you remember when I told you that Subang will be flooded with my tears and everything? Well, I thought that I was going to cry but through some miracle way, I didn't shed even a tear. So, don't you ever cry when you leave your family okay or I'll be the first person to laugh at you there. Believe me, I'm everywhere you go! Heh.. heh...

Hmm.. I don't want to talk much on that because I know that you'll be bored to death to hear everything. Well, to be frank, as I write this aerogramme, your photos are safely on my study desk and your letter is still in my hands. Before anything, thanks a lot for the cute and lovely present. I promise to treasure it forever. Telling you the truth, I reread your letter 5 times on the plane. I want to reread it 10 times but then, as the tears started to brim in my eyes, I gave up. I don't know what would you say about that... maybe you will say that I am silly, but as the song goes "wise man says, only fools rush in - but I can't help ..... ". Really, forgive me for all this stupid things I've said but well... I don't know. I've never been in this state of mine like this before!

For your information, I did sent you a present especially for you from UK. I don't know whether it would reach you safely before your departure but I am praying to God that there's nothing going to delay it anyway. Wow.. it seems that the space is really limited. Would you promise me something? Would you write to me immediately after you've known your real address? If you want to know something, I'm really looking forward for your reply. I do miss your voice here and I was tempted a few times to ring you up but thinking twice, especially about money, I cancelled it. Maybe sometime, somewhere, someway, we would be together again, maybe... only God knows. Lastly, do keep in touch and take care of yourself 'coz I really care about you. I miss you very much. Adios!

Wednesday, November 7

8 stars performance

I think it all started with the draw against Porto in September, where Liverpool were lucky to get away with a point playing away in the Champions League game. The game was dubbed as Liverpool worst performance of the season by the coach, but being the first game of the group stages, everybody thought that it was a one off thing, and things will start to pick up after that.

However, with only 2 wins (plus another 2 in the League Cup), 4 dull draws and a further 2 losses, the alarm has started to ring in Anfield. The coach has been heavily criticised for his squad rotation policy, and the captain has been accused of being burnt out for playing too many games. The midfielders lack creativity, and the strikers couldn't find the back of the net. The only consistent factor (thus saving Liverpool from further losses) is the rock solid Carragher, and his minions of defenders. Always present (except for a few games when he was out injured), Carragher has been the driving force at the back, making sure that the goal is well protected.

Liverpool is still undefeated in the Premier League. The two losses happened in the Champions League game, which pretty much dented the hope of advancing into the next stage.

Things looked bleak, until last night, in front of the home crowd, they trashed Besiktas with 8 goals to nothing. The win was the biggest margin in a Champions League game, and suddenly, things look hopeful and rosy, even if it was only one game.

Peter Crouch started the goal fest, and he must have felt relieved to finally score his second goal of the season, after being rooted to the substitute bench all the while. With rumours about him leaving the club during the January transfer window circulating like wildfire, it was good to see he is still passionate about playing for the club. With Torres not 100% fit, Crouch and Voronin were paired upfront to spearhead Liverpool's attack. However, the night truly belonged to Yossi Benayoun, who scored his first hat trick for the club and created a few goals in between.

Voronin was unlucky not to score himself, but his tireless and selfish effort was truly appreciated by the other players. Liverpool had the lion share of possession, with 31 shots on goal. After week after week being frustrated by their boring and out-tempo game, it was good to see everything clicking again. Of course, consistency is important in football, and Liverpool being Liverpool, consistency has never been their strong point.

But the big result will amount to nothing if they do not beat Porto and Marseille. And at the sametime. they have to hope that the other results will favour them. And hopefully, they can play as beautifully and confident as they did last night this weekend against Fulham.

Then I'll be more motivated to watch their game.

Tuesday, November 6

Bad day

Have you ever woke up one day and felt that today will be the longest day of your life? You wake up in the morning, and you have such a heavy feeling in your heart. And you know that it's going to be a long day. You look into the mirror, but all you see is a reflection of a face you do not recognise. And you feel like going back to sleep, just lie down in bed for the whole day, so that you can wake up tomorrow to a new morning.

Where is the moment we need at the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

But you need to work, so you drag yourself to the office. And things do not get better over there either, your work is piling up, your boss is not in a good mood, your reports are due, and your customers are screaming at you.

And it's only 10 o'clock in the morning.

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces everytime
And I don't need no carryin' on

The only thing that goes in your mind at that moment is to get through the day. Everything will be better tomorrow. Everything has to be better tomorrow. But you just need to get by today. So you shut out all your emotions, and work like a zombie, feelingless and careless. But your face might look like a zombie, yet you know you can't lie to yourself.

You cannot run from the feeling. Nor can you hide from it.

To get to tomorrow, you need to go through the hurt and pain.

I'm doing just that right now.

Today, is the longest day of my life.

Monday, November 5

The X factor

I like to push myself to the limit. That's why I love sports. That is also why I love to run, and climb mountains.

It's amazing what your body can do when pushed to its limit. But what is more amazing is what your mind can do at time of stress. A trained mind will tell you that impossible is nothing, and you can achieve almost anything if you just believe in it. The power of the mind. It's a very handy thing to have when you are standing at the edge of the cliff staring into a huge gorge. I'm not saying you should jump over the gorge to get to the other side. But then again, if it is a small gap, and you know you can make it, then all you need to do is jump. Of course, the difference between making it to the other side and failing is death, but that is another matter.

When I run, I run hard. I can feel my breath laboriously leaving my body. I can feel lactic acid building up in my legs. I can feel the twitch in my gut. But my mind keeps telling me to take the next step, to go a little further more, to exhale out loud, and keep on going. It's all in the mind.

When playing basketball, and the scores are tied and I have one final shot to win the game, I will step up and take the ball, and make the shot. And as the ball loops over the air, I know it will go into the hoop, because I told myself that I would make the basket.

And most of the times, it does.

But if it doesn't, I will tell myself that I did my best, and when the opportunity arises again, I will still make that shot.

In sports, winning isn't everything. Okay, maybe it is a huge part in sports; nevertheless, there are things that are more important than winning.

Like trying.

And playing it passionately.

And giving your all, not holding back.

When I was younger, my competitive edge took hold of me. I play to win. And I will do everything in my power to get the win. I am still competitive as ever, but now I understand, it's not just about winning. It's about how you win and how you motivate your teammates and get the best out of them.

I might be older as the years pass by, but I will keep on playing and pushing myself.

After all, age is just a number.