Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.
On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.
On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?
On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
This is why the People's Liberation Army should march in there and teach them how to run a country properly.
11:01 am ]
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I've never dared to sing those worship songs with lyrics like "I will go to the ends of the earth for You". I just never had the guts to sing them.
It's black as the blackest night is black. We're in a jungle, hiking downhill. The ground is muddy and rocky and covered with plants. There's lalang all around us, up to our necks. The only guide we have is a footpath wide enough for one and the faint torch lights of the person in front. It is hailing rain like nothing before. I had lost confidence in my shoes to grip the earth so i'd done away with them. There in the thick of night in a Malaysian bushland, hiking downhill in the rain barefoot, was my moment of moments.
This is between kampung Regang and kampung Jangkap. I spent this past weekend on a mission training trip in Raub - what the maps tell you is that Raub is a quiet town along the main road. The trip actually takes place along these hostile terrains, in villages so small they're about a hundred strong in all. Three days before our trip, we were asked what we expected of it. thinking that the excursion into the mountainside was going to offer solitude and silence, i said i expected to quieten my spirit. how wrong it had turned out to be.
Between four hours of truck ride going through massive holes on an already cracking terrain, four hours of hiking up a sloshy mountain, literally ploughing through lalang and mud for over an hour back and forth from the two kampungs above, attending a blitz of three services in 16 hours plus sleep, and tending to the prayer needs of the orang asli in bahasa melayu, there was definitely no room for my urbacentric mind to "quieten my spirit".
I've always wanted to pack in the whole city life and go live in the country. i get so tired of the jams and the buildings and how ugly the city looks sometimes. i just want to leave it all behind and live in a farm somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Having spent one weekend - just one - in what can only be accurately called the Malaysian wilderness, i am absolutely floored and humbled. i know now that the country and life there desereves a lot more respect than what i sometimes give it. cos when you're there, everything is absolutely real. the kind of food you're limited to eat for days and days on end is real. the limited toilet facilities is real. the sheer volume of mosquitoes and the impracticability of safeguarding against them all is absolutely real. the sun and the certainty of sunburn is absolutely real. the muddy terrain is absolutely real. sometimes, you can be cognisant about these things, and still make callous comments about wanting to leave the city life, because it hasn't become real to you yet.
Now, i won't say that this trip has weakened my desire to pack in the city life - nor has it strengthened it. it's just made me realise that the whole idea of living in the country deserves more respect than just saying it. the next time i mouth-off about how much i hate the city, i really have a flesh and bones alternative in my book of experiences to go by, and i know now that it cannot be taken lightly. it is a thoroughly, skin bitingly real experience that must be encountered first-hand before you can either appreciate it's difficulty, or even fully understand what it means to be involved in missions - in any way - even in finances.
Yes, i'm convinced now. i'm convinced that even people who want to contribute to missions from the comforts of the city - nothing wrong with that - should go through a short trip like this, because there is nothing like knowing where your contribution is going, to whom, to meet what needs, under what conditions, because you have a slice of idea what it was like for you across two days, as it is for these missionaries across many months, if not years.
Labels: christianity, society
8:52 am ]
Monday, May 22, 2006
When I was ten, we had Physical Education (PE) in school once a week. Whenever we had PE, we’d have to have a change of shorts and singlet – usually in the colours of our sports house. But it’s not easy to change into shorts in a boys’ school. Some kids can make things complicated if you change in front of each other, and without proper changing rooms, the only other alternative were the perpetually wet toilet stalls, wet with what I never wanted to know.
So I used to wear my sports shorts under my school uniform shorts. I was in green house, so I used to have green shorts underneath the dark blue uniform shorts. I did this for about a year. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, your sports shorts might actually be longer than your uniform ones, and when this happens, it’ll stick out like a hem. It used to happen to some of us, but nobody really cared. Where it did happen, it was only once a week, on PE day, and even then, you knew exactly why the boys chose wearing their sports shorts underneath instead of all the other options.
There is a breed of teachers in primary schools who are decidedly cruel. For some strange reason that may or may not be connected to low self-esteem, these grown adults like to pick on innocent defenseless young children and humiliate them. I’ve seen many in my time, and one of them – not the worst, just one of them – was an English teacher called Mr Ho.
The teachers have a table in the canteen that is the teachers’ table, where they all sit during lunch and talk about politics or whatever. It’s quite near where the kids sit. One day, a PE day, I was just walking by the canteen when Mr Ho called me. I was ten. When you’re ten, you don’t talk back to teachers, you completely respect their authority over you. Mr Ho summons me to the teachers’ eating table full of other teachers. Some were my teachers, some weren’t. Some I had impressed in school, some I was dying to impress.
“Fergus”, he tugs at my shorts. “Why is your Sunday longer than your Monday?” and he laughs. The other teachers watch on.
I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what. I don’t remember what I said in response, but he made his figure of speech ten-year-old friendly.
“Why is your inside shorts longer than your outside shorts?”
I think I said “It’s for sports”, but I didn’t even dare to go away until he dismissed me. I knew he wasn’t dealing with it from a disciplinary position because he didn’t care. He laughed with the other teachers and sent me off.
I felt so embarrassed that day. I didn’t know where to put my face in the canteen, and for the rest of the day, I didn’t know where to put my sports shorts either. At that time, I thought it was the prerogative of any school teacher to humiliate students like that – in spite of my parents lodging the odd complaint or two about some terrible teachers, I still grew up with a sense that a student had little protection to all the small things that cruel teachers wanted to do to poke fun at them.
Today at church, we had a young adults session that involved going back to past hurts and reconciling them. I’ve worked through a lot of my major hurts already – from being unfairly forced to reach school late, and getting punished for that, to being cross-dressed as a child and getting laughed at – and so from the depths of some long forgotten past, this small incident came back so clearly today.
Why is your Sunday longer than your Monday?
It wasn’t monumental. But as the years stacked on, and as I slowly developed a poor self-image right into the throngs of uni life, only God knows if Mr Ho’s cruel words played no part. As for me, today’s resurfacing of this incident will mark the end of my hurt.
To a Mr Ho who thought Std 4, 5 and 6 English in St Andrews Primary School, Muar, Johor in 1990, thin man with crew cut hair and a deep voice, to you, whether you’re reading this yourself, or if your children who are now college students are reading this, or if anyone who knows of you is reading this, I forgive you. You probably don’t know that your words hurt a 10 year old boy really deeply, but they did. Nonetheless, you’re off the hook now, because I’m forgiving you, and I’m filing your callous words somewhere between “spoken without thought” and “spoken under the influence of some demon” – no, I’m really serious about this. I really forgive you. I hope you’re living a fulfilled life as a retiree now, because I somehow suspect that in the early 90s, you musn’t have been a very happy man. I also hope that you’ve become more of a man since then. Because the boy you made fun of is now a man. So I hope you’re one now too.
Labels: gender, identity, society
9:53 am ]
Friday, May 19, 2006
You know what i miss? hotel rooms.
it's not even like i used to travel so much. i just miss the feeling of checking in to a hotel room, deciding where you put your shoes, checking out what they've got on tv, checking out the rooms, jumping on the bed, checking out the view, putting my things down on the bedside table, playing with the light switches by the bedside table, checking out the bathrooms and all the wonderful little things they have there, checking out the drawers and their bibles, unpacking my travel bags and hanging up a few shirts with the hotel hangers, putting my toiletries in the bathroom, turning up the air cond, rolling around in bed and checking out all the wonderful things in the fridge, even if it means only looking at them and not eating or drinking any of them.
most of the time, when we say the we are going on a holiday, we talk about the places of attraction, the culture, the people, the customs, the shopping, and all those things tourists talk about, and photographs will tell about. hotel rooms are like an incidental part of holidaying. nobody travels so they can stay in hotels, people stay in hotels so they can travel. but i miss staying in hotels.
maybe what i really want is a holiday. maybe for some strange reason, my desire for a trip somewhere nice is emerging in the form of a subconscious association to the hotel habits that inevitably follow such journeys. maybe what i'm really desiring is not the keys with numbers, doors with funny card locks, bellboys or all those yellowy-yellowy lights. maybe what i want is a week in the heart of buenos aires, or a vineyard in bella tuscany. i've been wanting to post my top 10 holiday destinations for a while now, and i even have the individual thumbnails to go with the post saved on my thumbdrive. i've just been... so caught up with the life and living in the local, that the foreign has either barely been on my mind or whenever it does creep in, it does so so late in the night, when my eyes close and the world attempts to go black. but it never really goes black. i think i'm leaving the world behind, but i still see it, in ribbons of faint light: an evening in gothenburg, a glacier in alaska, a green-coloured canal in venice, with music playing.
Labels: melancholy, memory and nostalgia
3:37 pm ]
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
1:13 pm ]
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Between full day casting sessions in the weekends, unending amount of work in the weekdays, a kids party to help host this saturday, a missions training trip next weekend, breaking world cup news (which follows with breaking world cup story
), an FA Cup final victory last Saturday, borrowing chairs, paying rent, getting my car diagnosed, buying birthday gifts, doing my taxes, getting my car fixed and returning chairs, life can still be thoroughly fun.
People who fill their lives with things have no excuse if they don't get enough sleep, feel tired, can't concentrate, burn out or lose interest in everything. It's strange, isn't it, that the activity that was born out of an irrepressible zest for life is the same activity that kills that life.
How tricky a rope we walk.
1:57 pm ]
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Have you ever had your gender identity challenged?
If yours came in the form of some cathartic childhood experience or a monumental adolescent moment, maybe you have a case. Mine came this past weekend, under pouring rain, in the form of a dainty blue parasol.
The Malaysian rain is cruel, this much I can say. It goes across fourteen states, seeks out the neighbourhood you’re in, waits for a day when you are not in possession of your standard rain armour, chooses precisely the portion of night when you are least prepared for it, and then rains itself helter skelter.
I was at vernon’s, together with gordon and carol, and it began thunderstorming just before we left. If like me you live in greater kl and are aware of recent precipitation trends, you’d know that rain falls circa 5pm when everyone’s leaving the office for home. it can go on as late as 8 but nothing much further than that. In all unlikelihoods, though, I was found out at vernon’s without the security of my standard black umbrella at what must have been midnight to1am.Flashback: you might remember my last encounter with a Pink Umbrella – I had a torrid time trying to exchange a pink umbrella with ktm commuters – I’ve since obtained an umbrella black as midnight on a moonless night. Unfortunately, though, I did not have it with me that night.
Vernon produced two umbrellas as he sent us off. Gordon threw his open – a huge multi-coloured one good enough for two. Ok, so he n carol came in the same car, so fair game. What I got, however, was a totally different thing altogether. My umbrella had tassels! Or whatever you call them when they’re not on carpets – you know, it had frilly things on the rims. Ribbony skirting, if you will. Literally, my umbrella had a girly edge. It was my very own surrey with a fringe on top.
“I’m not carrying this!”, I exclaimed at gordon n carol. “carol, you carry this and I’ll hide under the big one with gordon”. (I knew exactly which was the girlier thing to do.) No was the reply. It wasn’t practical. Our cars were parked on different sides of the road and though it’s just five paces away, it’s five paces under crazy windy rainstorm (the kind where the rain goes sideways).
Resigned, I shrugged off whatever was left that resembled machismic pride and stepped into the rain with the frilly parasol in my hand. She-ra here I come. I swear, apart from the fact that it was black as night and hailing oceans, I knew for an absolute certainty that I looked like this:
It didn’t even really help that in my haste to get in the car, I closed the umbrella while it was on top of me while awkwardly half-standing by my opened car door. All the rain on the dainty shelterpiece fell on me, like one more kick after a round of laughter. I barely closed it – the latch didn’t quite hold, so I left it half-opened on the passenger seat floor and fled for home.
Right now, the parasol sits in the backseat of my car, dried up, folded tight, tassels hiding beneath a mountain of incidental back seat objects. I don’t think I’ll be driving many colleagues to lunch these few days. If I get evasive about lunch plans, you’ll know what I’m actually on about.
Vernon: thanks mate, for your parasol, or your mum’s, or whoever’s. I’ll say that whatever insult I’ve made of it should be offset by my appreciation of its function and the extension of its limited fame. Now why don’t we arrange a secret meeting for the recovering of said shelterpiece?
Labels: gender, happenings
9:32 am ]
Monday, May 08, 2006
I ran into some stereotypes this weekend, and I didn’t like it.
As a whole, I don’t like meeting stereotypes. I fully understand that stereotypical perspectives are unhelpful in tearing down prejudices and unfair to those who do not fit the pattern. Yet, it is remarkably difficult to live completely unshackled from stereotypical perspectives. In fact, as much as stereotyping is not politically correct, we nonetheless observe hypocritical attitudes towards this phenomena: generic ideas of the studious Chinese student and the talkative American are met with a lot more kindness than equally racially prejudiced stereotypes like the greedy Chinese businessman and the cocky American. If it’s wrong to stereotype at all, much less along racial lines, then it should be wrong whether or not we are stereotyping someone positively or negatively.
There’s a common stereotype of the young Tamil Indian guy who goes in groups of other young Tamil Indian guys who drink a lot, go clubbing a lot, and make lots of noise and drive modified kancils. It’s a very unfair stereotype because I know guys who almost fit that mould but differentiate from it at crucial points, and these are GREAT guys. Yet, it happened that this weekend, I ran into some of these stereotypes: six of them to be precise.
It was 2.30am and I had just finished cleaning up apartment and was ready to sleep. My bedroom window was open and I could hear a group of men downstairs talking. X number of floors down (no, I am not revealing what floor I live on) sat six guys drinking out of bottles (come on, calculate the odds it was orange juice), and talking uncontrollably loudly, laughing occasionally, and breaking into roars regularly. I got annoyed, and so I responded as anyone in a TV show would: I shouted at them.
“Excuuuuuse me! Some of us are trying to sleeeep!”
To which came their most unsavoury reply.
“Ooooh really? Well, all the best! Bastard!”
The group roared and continued drinking and talking, but now their conversation was focused on heckling me. Fully pissed off now, I called the guard house and informed them of the troublemakers. After ten minutes of non-action, I made a second call. I was determined to ruin their Friday night. I was determined to ruin them, full stop.
The nerve! At 2.30am, they roar directly underneath a block of apartments, get chastised and they have the nerve to call me a bastard!
My determination to ruin their night came in the form of a security guy, who popped up, talked to them, during which they one by one took turns to speak to the security guy, and after what must have been more than five minutes of negotiation, the offending six left with what must now surely have been proven to be bottles of orange juice. With the security guard in tow, they still managed to heckle, going “Oi!” a few times, perhaps at me or maybe even at the guard. One way or another, I came this close – ie THIS CLOSE – to shouting back at them “All the best, bastards!”, which would now surely have pissed them off proper, but also have reduced me to being a dog like them.
And I’m glad I restrained myself.
I struggled with racism and stereotyping that night. I tossed in bed conflicted between my higher principles and my base desire to throw a brick down and crack one of their heads open so that he would suffer permanent brain damage and that his quadriplegic existence will serve as a monumental reminder to the other five to stop behaving like dogs. And it was a hard struggle, believe you me, because I’m called to love sinners and I’m called to be unracial, yet the only thing I was thinking of was that here was a group of guys who completely matched the stereotype I mentioned above: the troublemaking Tamil Indian group of guys who drank a lot and made a lot of noise. I don’t like meeting stereotypes because with every encounter, they make it a lot harder for me to look beyond stereotypes.
In my mind, I kept thinking that these guys actually want to be Tamil movie heroes (like vijay, pictured above) who fight a lot, are real tough, dance a lot, are strong but romantic and are generally real cool. They’ve got that model copied right down to the moustache and swagger. The only thing they don’t have is the courage of these heroes, and I guess the benevolence, and so they turn to drinking, making noise and modifying cars. There is no noble cause to fight for, so they pick on domestic types who just want to sleep in quiet. Like I said, no courage.
Now the last paragraph was an example of me thinking in terms of stereotypes. It is cruel, but I’m being honest with you that that’s how I felt about them. Their failure to behave and respond as reasonable adults made me reduce them to the status of animals instantly, and I didn’t care one bit if that night, they all died animalistic deaths. So the question I have on my mind now is this: who needs curing? Them or me?
Their wrong was obvious. My wrong was in generalising them and reinforcing my hatred towards a “type”. Is my perception wrong? Yes! I am utterly guilty and I am ultimately unhappy with myself, yet I stand by my response: I couldn’t respond in any other way. Try dealing with ten different stingy chinaman businessmen and tell me the stereotype of the stingy chinaman businessman is not ten times reinforced!
This then is my attitude towards stereotypes: I am resigned to it, and am reversing the onus of stereotype perceptions to the subject. It is really a game of percentages, and if 90% of young Chinese guys behave in a certain way, and I happen to fall into the 10% who don’t, I really can’t blame someone if they assume that I behave the way the 90% do. My life is harder, and the onus is on me to establish departure from the stereotype – not on them to see that I am different. Life just sucks that way, but I gotta deal with it.
And if 90% of young Tamil Indian guys move around in groups, drink a lot, display no ability to balance their emotional responses with cerebral ones, are notoriously noisy wherever they go, regardless of time, then to the 10% who are not like that, I can only say I’m sorry, but you got brothers out there making your life a living hell – please don’t blame me or anyone if we accidentally typecast you wrongly.
Because it’s impossible to perceive without stereotypes. I have too many things to worry about for me to attempt considering those six guys as three-dimensional individuals with unique experiences, backgrounds, personalities and hopes, fears, and dreams. Bugger that: if you bugger me at 2.30am, I don’t have the time to think of you as a fully formed homosapien, much less a sympathetic multi-layered personality.
We don’t have time to look beyond stereotypes. If you wanna break the stereotype, break it. I’ll have plenty of time for you. But if all you can be is the basic traits of a lousy age-old typecast, then I feel utterly sorry for you. And if you’re ever typecasted wrongly, don’t blame the typecaster – the true offenders are those idiots who ruined the reputation of your demography.
Labels: society, violence
9:19 am ]
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Meaningless! every damn thing is meaningless!
and no, i don't mean it in an ecclesiastical sense, i mean i hate how nobody has respect for the sanctity of signs and symbols anymore. nothing means anything to anyone anymore. as long as it's hip, it looks nice, it pegs itself to a larger idea of some overall theme, people latch on to it as if ideologies were ice creams and representing a belief system is as interchangeable as having one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of vanilla. well it's not like that.
all you morons who go about wearing che guevara t shirts, boy you have absolutely no clue what you are representing, and that makes you a moron of the highest order. you have no clue what che's politics are all about, you have no clue what the full extent of communism or the full extent of revolution mean. you are probably no sooner buying yourself an i-pod from the nearest mac store in your damned che guevara t shirt, and you think that wearing that t shirt means that you represent values like rebellion, being political and anti-establishment just because rage against the machine validate it. well, communism isn't kitch, communism has been and can be very real, and all of you with your lousy i-pods and pdas and che guevara t shirts know nothing about it. you've probably never read marx, and the word "opiate" is probably closer to your heart as something you take to get drugged up with your friends. what a bunch of sorry posers.
and all you morons who wear clothing with indian gods, all of you are another bunch of absolute morons, because you have no clue what you are representing. you think that because you wear an underwear with krishna on it, or a skirt with shiva on it, it makes you culturally in the loop and with it. well, it doesn't! it makes you look like a full-blown dumb bimbo because you have absolutely no clue what hinduism represents. you have no clue what it means to hang your faith in a pantheistic worldview, or a polytheistic one for that matter, and all you know how to do is dress up in some kitchy clothing that purportedly announces your political correctness and acceptance of difference. you know nothing about giving your life to one god - any god - to revere and treasure and love and trust. you too are a bunch of sad posers.
and the same thing goes for all you losers who wear crosses but don't know what it means. the lightness with which you take the crucifix is sickening, so why the hell do you say hallelujah if it means nothing to ya? stop trying to use meaningful signs and symbols just to boost your own image, because you have no clue what it means to love someone who got bashed up so you can be saved, and you make a mockery of his death by wearing it as a fashion icon. you are a most desipicable lot of people.
you can't just wear anything you like - things have meaning and you can't just represent anything in the name of a cool label. cccp t shirts with sickles and hammers mean a bloody lot, and if you don't know what marxism and stalinism represent, don't wear that shit because you are representing something you don't have a clue of. how ignorant! how short-sighted and lazy of you!
or maoism for that matter. people take mao so lightly it makes me sick. they flog their mao merchandise everywhere in the name of hip designer-know-howism because they think mao art is cool. well, it doesn't look cool. in fact, nothing looks more ridiculous than some white dude wearing a mao t shirt. if you want to represent mao, go read a frickin book on the cultural revolution before you wear the man on you because millions of chinese people died over a very grim decade of chinese history because of this man. i'm not anti-mao, i'm just saying you have to know what you're doing. mao has meaning, dammit. mao isn't just an icon you right click on to save as your wallpaper, his very person is infused, impregnated with a deep ideology of politics, economics, and culture, and all of you who wear it probably listen to rap or jazz, and if you don't know how that is incongruous, that alone should tell you you are not worthy of representing mao in any of his forms.
i've even seen some of you losers wear swastikas. what the hell is wrong with you? if you're a neo nazi, and you wear a swastika, then fine, by all means go for it. because you represent neo nazism, i couldn't be arsed with what you represent, but i've seen people who do not represent nazism or neo nazism wear swastikas, and that is absolutely monstrous! just because they are vaguely connected to a very broad and general idea of organised military might doesn't mean it's any more acceptable for you to wear it on those grounds, nor does its relevance and meaning dissipate with time. it doesn't.
you can't just hide behind some cheap postmodern argument that these things don't mean anything anymore. that's just lazy and irreverant. things have meaning and if you're going to represent something, make sure you know what it really is all about before you start representing it.
Labels: society, violence
6:07 pm ]
There was a kopitiam, and an arts festival. people were reading poetry.
It felt like singapore, and it was nighttime.
Raveonettes were playing, and i was on stage with them.
And then it was morning, and i woke up.
It was a dream come true that didn't come true.
It was a dream come.
11:36 am ]
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Football is the best thing for men to be addicted to.
That was pretty much what Elaine said to me, which led to a very brief yet bloggable conversation. Football, we agreed, was much better than getting hung up on drinking, sleeping around, or doing drugs. What does it involve? About two hours of tv watching, supporting fervently, celebration, disappointment, and perhaps another hour after that of debriefing, destressing and post-match analysis. Once in a while, you have extended chats about games, players and competitions with other fans, and if like me you like to express your football fandom even further, you spend a few hours a week maintaining a blog on it. Little harm done.
But that’s not really true. Football, while in itself seems quite innocuous, is actually associated with a variety of other stereotypical male vices. Drinking, for example, is a reasonable feature of the game. Lots of the time, people who go see games at the pub consume a fair bit of alcohol. Sometimes, beer is sold at games, albeit in paper cups. Drinking then inevitable leads to drunken disorder, brawls and such. In fact, brawling isn’t even a second level footballing vice, sober fans brawl all the time… sometimes over as silly a thing as name-calling.
Of course, the king of all football related vices has to be gambling. I know someone who works with an online gambling syndicate: apparently the Chinese (nationally, not racially) are maxing out multiple credit cards, all accruing endless records of debt, all over the odd epl game.
And then there’s always the more benign of related vices – gluttony is one of them. A 90 minute game consumed at a mamak stall can usually be accompanied by anything from two teh ais all the way to three or four roti, maggi goreng and ramly burgers. And then there’s slothfulness, which is more classically an old testemental “sin” rather than a social “vice” as we know it today, but it can happen too. Sit on a couch for five, six, seven hours straight on a world cup day and watch four games back to back. By the first half of the third game, you’ll probably start to lose feeling of your feet. Provided you were experienced enough to have armed yourself with everything from a variety of food, drinks, reading material (for half time ads) and spare batteries for the remote control, it’s perfectly likely that you’ll be sat in the same chair for up to eight hours straight.
So I guess football has its dangers. Still, it’s better than going out there getting pissed over nothing, getting stoned, shagging everything and going all nihilistic. Football fans are never nihilistic. We have a passion that never burns out.
But there’s something curious about men and football. When engrossed in football, a male person can potentially care for nothing but the football itself. Cue the disenfranchised woman. It’s remarkable, but there is something out there that can actually take a man’s mind completely off the idea of women. At 0-1, chasing the game at home with an hour to go, there’s really nothing a female person can do to draw attention to herself. I guess she could stand in front of the tv, but if you’re like me, and you’re sentimental about radio days, you’d probably close your eyes and listen to the commentary, seeing the game on the wings of martin tyler’s lyrical voice.
Football management games prove to be the leading unhinging of women. As much as there’s a niche of women out there who are dota widows or counterstrike widows, there’s also a niche who are championship manager widows. I for one am guilty of failing to know time and tide when summer ends and the team I’ve just put together goes from friendlies to the league. Food? Shower? Sleep? Women of the world, do you not know that the world cup games take place in and around the time you’ll be wanting your men home and in bed the most? Widows of football of the world, what will you do?
Cue that wonderful thing called education. Do you believe that a lot of world problems can be solved via good, solid and right education? Well, I do. Which is why when Liverpool played Chelsea over a week ago in the FA Cup semi final, Mel (who was a nominal man utd supporter in the 90s) experienced a 90-minute 101 of football fandom. The package consisted of familiarising with players, fine-tuning explanations on the offside rule, tactics, trivia, and history (Liverpool’s, of course. Chelsea has none). In fact, it being an important semi-final against a major rival, she inevitably got the advanced package (a 102?) with added pre match team prayer, tense hand-gripping, audible heart beats, and final 15 minute praying in tongues. As you know, Liverpool won, so the entire session was capped off nicely with celebration and a cheerful send-off. Education, it seems, is the answer to all our prejudices.
Football fandom cannot be understood objectively. It needs to be experienced. Just like how the word “know” in Hebrew is not a cognisant knowledge but an experiential one, so too is the knowing when you say you know what being a fan is about. It’s much better than anything out there in the world, and it certainly warrants dropping everything for. As for football widows, there isn’t any beating the world game, so the best way to handle it is like this: support your man’s team, stay up for the games with him, join the fandom, and if they win, you can celebrate in bed; if they lose, console him... wherever you like.
And as for the rest of us, football feverists of the world unite!
Labels: society, sports
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