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Fairy tale ending

Here's a fairy tale with a happy ending, written by yours truly.

Read it in today's The Malay Mail.

HD says: I should try writing more fairy tales, hehe.

Dec 29, 2010

Remember this date.

The Malaysian Tigers defied all odds by winning the Asean Cup for the first time.

They managed to defeat Indonesia by a 4-2 aggregate (won 3-0 in Bukit Jalil on Sunday; lost 2-1 in Jakarta minutes earlier).

The Malay Mail's Pearl Lee has urged fellow Malaysians to wear yellow tomorrow in support of the national team.

Well done lads!

UPDATE: 11.05pm - PM declares Friday a public holiday.

HD says: Rajagobal sure dapat Datukship, ada public holiday ka besok?

History in the making

I received a phone call from BBC's Kuala Lumpur correspondent Jennifer Pak and we met up for coffee at Ampang Point.

The Canadian born and bred Miss Pak wanted to know more about the Indonesia-Malaysia AFF Suzuki Cup return leg final in Jakarta later today.

I explained that we were amazingly "polite" towards our Indonesian friends while they witnessed their team go down 3-0 in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

Now, we have reports stating that our fans and newsmen there are advised not to don the Malaysian jerseys or to show their support towards the Malaysian Tigers for security reasons.

I wonder how many tickets were actually allocated to Malaysian fans in Jakarta? Apparently only 1,000 allocated for Malaysians and only 500 snapped up according to this website.

Instead, we allocated 15,000 tickets but many more entered the stadium to watch the match. Hmm.

Emotional sentiments aside, I believe such a situation can be tackled in a better manner. Let's hope the Malaysians come out to…

Of bomohs and Pressmen

We have this love-hate relationship with our good neighbours Indonesia.

Thus it comes to no surprise why the Malaysia-Indonesia return leg AFF Suzuki Cup in Jakarta tomorrow is a hot topic in most of the Papers - both here and in the Republic.

Malaysia managed a 3-0 lead in the first leg final at Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

Here are some of the quotes published in the dailies:

"SAYA mahu penonton Indonesia tunjuk semangat kesukanan dan tidak ikut tindakan seperti penonton di Malaysia." - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Berita Harian)

“Siapa dia (Markus) untuk menghentikan perlawanan?” - National coach K.Rajagobal when met at the airport in Jakarta (Berita Harian).

"We have come here (Jakarta) to win, I am confident we will return home as champions." - National skipper Safiq Rahim (NST).

“Of course, the lasers affected our players but I think that falling behind 1-0 had more of an effect on them." - Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl (RedSports).

But the best quo…

The countdown begins - Part 1: Mas 3 Ina 0

This should have been done earlier but was having problems getting online on my Celcom-powered Blackberry.

Here goes:

4.15pm - Traffic was surprisingly clear. Smooth journey to parking bay C at the National Stadium.

5.00pm - Bumped into several people, old friends and good friends.

5.11pm - Met Jakarta Globe columnist-cum-Jakarta Casual blogger Antony Sutton at the LRT station. There's an Indonesian invasion at Bkt Jalil.

5.30pm - More and more Indonesians seen at the std area. Beginning to wonder if there are more than 15,000 around.

5.45pm - After a burger ayam and some keropok lekor, masuk stadium through the Red Gate. Was asked by a Rela officer if I smoked and I said no. Was let off the hook without any touching session. Quite easy to sneak in stuff eh.

6.01pm - Hail Raja-nikanth! National coach K.Rajagobal inspects the pitch while receiving a standing ovation.

6.30pm - Look who's here. Hassan Sani and family. Sempat bergambaq lagi tu.

6.37pm - Is that Rod Stewart singing??!? Biar…

What's your prediction?

Astro Arena's managing editor Dez Corkhill and I met at the SAM-Astro futsal tournament earlier this morning.

We both agreed that the AFF Suzuki Cup first leg final between Malaysia and Indonesia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil could end up as a scoreless draw. Maybe, 1-1.

We could be wrong though.

Those wanting to watch the match better head down to the stadium early. Parking bays are limited no thanks to the temporary bus terminal opposite the National Hockey Stadium and the Rock the World concert which started at 10am and set to end at midnight.

HD says: I'll be at the stands watching with the fans. Semboyan telah berbunyi, menuju medan bakti...

Merry Xmas folks!

Have a Merry Xmas - bhangra style if you may.

Go easy on the drinks if you're driving.

Otherwise, enjoy the turkey and most importantly the company of your loved ones.

And to the fans of the Malaysian Tigers, our national team deserves your support.

Cheers!

HD says: On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a big fat Harley and enough petrol for me to ride all the way to Greece :)

Tickets habis dijual

As far as the RM50 tickets are concerned.

Got a phone call from a good friend and he confirmed that the RM50 tickets for the AFF Suzuki Cup final (first leg) between Malaysia and Indonesia were all snapped up within an hour right after the booths opened at 10am.

Apparently, there are about 2,500 RM50 tickets that were completely sold off.

Promising sign that it could be a jam packed fiesta at the National Stadium on Sunday.

HD says: Anthony, I'm trying to get a couple of tickets for you, so hang in there.

Of lasers and tickets...

Well the heat is on, as far as the Indonesian camp is concerned.

While the Republic will fly to KL for the first leg AFF Suzuki Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday, they have already issued a warning - one laser beam and they walk out. Read it here.

Meanwhile, former Mailsports journalist Rizal Hashim, who is currently the resident blogger for Astro Arena's Kafe Sukan (Ch 801), mentioned on the show that the selling of tickets in KL should be monitored with a majority percentage restricted to Malaysians. Joining him on the show was former international Zainal Abidin Hassan - who skippered the national team at the 1996 AFF final which Malaysia lost to Thailand 1-0 - and yours truly.

But the Indonesians believe they can fill half of the stadium. Read here.

Pix taken without permission from Rizal Hashim's facebook - (L-R) Rizal reliving his school days as a class monitor, host Akhbar Sahari who is an ardent Land Rover enthusiast and drives a 17 year old monste…

The snooker song

The Prof has been cued out.

Raymond Lim takes over the Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation, replacing long time president Prof WY Chin.

To his defence, Chin was instrumental in the formation and early days of the national body. We had a string of world class players including Sam Chong.

Honestly, we still do have calibre cue artists on the green baize.

Among them are the Sabahan pool maestro Ibrahim Amir who stays in Taman Kosas, Ampang, former Asian Games junior Moh Keen Hoo who has just recently turned into daddy Hoo, my Kampung boy Lai Chee Wei (who hails nearby Aulong, Taiping) and the man with a few words who could pass off as a big timer from Klang but is actually a humble and nice young man from Penang Thor Chuan Leong.

Sadly, the association have been in shambles over the years. Perhaps the lack of proper management. The national squad has been 'coach-less' since Sam Chong quit after the disappointing outing at the 2005 Manila Sea Games. Its secretary Melvin Chia h…

Malaysia masuk final!

It's deja vu.

The hockey lads did the impossible after they managed a place in the final of the Asian Games before losing to Pakistan.

Just minutes earlier, the Malaysian football team defied all odds by booking a berth in the AFF Suzuki Cup final.

Malaysia held hosts Vietnam 0-0 in the return leg semi final in Hanoi after managing a 2-0 win in the first leg.

HD says: Well done lads. Semboyan, telah berbunyi. Menuju medan bakti.

ESPN no more?

Can someone please clarify this?

While waiting for the traffic to ease around Bukit Jalil, several journalist friends and I were catching up on the latest news in the industry.

One of them said; "ESPN's Sportscenter Malaysia will be airing its final slot this Friday."

I was surprised. I knew this day would come but didn't expect it out of the blue.

Is it really true?

UPDATE (Friday, Dec 17): Got confirmation that Sportcenter Malaysia will be on air for the last time today.

HD says: Hmm...

Round 1: Malaysia 2 Vietnam 0

The Malaysian Tigers were treated like heroes.

They now have a two goal lead in the first leg semi final clash against Vietnam. The team will leave for Hanoi about six hours from now (6.30am).

My good old friend Azriq and I were seated on the opposite ends of the stadium. It's sad that we didn't have time to bump into each other. But we shared one thing in common, as revealed through his message to me.

"They could have played better."

Well done to the Malaysian Tigers, but I too do feel you can do way better in the next leg.

HD says: Do not let the nightmare of 2004 haunt us.

Hockey and wrestling?

Some hockey junior players claim they were attacked by their seniors for training with a rival team.

I know we used to have former internationals who excelled in two different sports. Are the seniors trying to do the same by being hockey players and wrestlers?

A coin has two sides, so I'm pretty sure the seniors will have their 'reasons' for such actions.

Read all about it in today's The Malay Mail .

Nevertheless, violence can never be condoned - and sportsmen should know better. But before we jump the gun, let's allow the Police to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, there will be cheers for hockey enthusiasts as the PJ Stadium is here to stay.

HD says: There are better ways to solve a problem then bashing someone up.

Malaysia v Vietnam

My old primary school friend Azriq has been bugging me the whole day trying to find out where he can get tickets for the AFF Suzuki Cup Malaysia-Vietnam semi final (first leg) match.

We have been exchanging bbm-s while I try to finish off my work at the same time, it is folks like Ariq that brings the sprit of nationalism alive.

You see, Azriq can choose to watch the match in the comfort of his home and then go to work (as he works in the wee hours of the morning catering for the US market for a multinational company).

Nevertheless, he insists of heading to the stadium - which will be messed up by 5pm onwards no thanks to the temporary bus terminal opposite the National Hockey Stadium and the after-work rush.

Well Azriq, I'll be there early and hopefully we'll be able to bump into each other and speak more about the national team. And I also hope there will be a sea of yellow and blue (Malaysian fans) to outdo the possible sea of Red (Vietnam) that would invade the stands

As K.Raja…

Malaysia 2 KL 0

The national team had a good workout at the Cheras Stadium earlier.

They met Super League outfit KL in a friendly match and managed a 2-0 win.

KL coach Razip Ismail and Company are grateful for the opportunity for they were initially suppose to play Penang yesterday but that match didn't materialise.

National coach K.Rajagobal on the other hand admitted that work needs to be done on the team as they play Vietnam in the AFF Cup first leg semi final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday (kickoff 8.00pm).

Vietnam, meanwhile, are already in the country as they had their first training session at the KL Plus ground this evening. Even the Vietnamese Press are already here.

Hopefully, Astro Awani's Fadzrie Haziz (501) and I will be able to speak more about the team's preparation ahead of the semi final clash later tonight (11.30pm).

HD says: Brace for a Vietnamese invasion at Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.

Sazali flexes his muscles...

...and won the gold medal!

My former boss Tony Mariadass sent out a press release from Muscat, Oman - venue of the on-going 2nd Asian Beach Games.

The first two paragraphs read:

Sazali Abd Samad (pic), won Malaysia’s first gold medal at the Muscat 2010 2nd Asian Beach Games when he emerged tops in the bodybuilding lightweight 70kg category at the Qurum National Park Amphitheater last night.

The win was his latest addition to bodybuilding events he has been competing for the last two decades.

HD says: Well done Tuan Sarjan.

Bantai Laos, Malaysia ke semifinal

That was the online article from Indonesia's daily SoloPos.

The rain poured, the pitch was heavy and managing a 5-1 win over Laos was satisfying for Malaysia.

But the fact that Thailand lost 2-1 to Indonesia brought joy to the Malaysian camp as the Tigers join Indonesia to the semi finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Looking forward to an exciting top four clash.

HD says: Let's see what happens next.

The unofficial website

Now my question is, why doesn't the national hockey league have its own website?

While we continue to ponder over it, SS Dhaliwal has taken the liberty to initiate the unofficial Malaysian Hockey League website.

Division One started on Dec 3 while the Premier League will commence on Dec 17.

From my observation, unofficial websites generally provide more 'interesting news'.

In the meantime, Mailsports will be running a series of articles featuring teams participating in the Premier league.

HD says: It's going to be an interesting league.

Who will fight for them?

It's a sad scenario revolving in the M-League.

The national body claims that the league is a professional set-up. Yet, after all these years there are still allegations of teams not paying their players on time.

A group of Johor footballers spoke to Mailsports over the weekend, venting their frustration. Read it here.

The solution is simple - pay up or ship out.

HD says: One Johor footballer had to think twice before buying a fast food set meal for his child. Sigh.

It wasn't pretty...

...but it got the job done.

Malaysia held Thailand to a 0-0 draw in their second encounter of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The field wasn't pretty and so was the game. A couple of friends even felt the jersey was not on.

Nevertheless, K.Rajagobal and Co still have a fighting chance of graduating beyond the group stage. Let's see what happens next.

While the national Tigers justify their Sea Games gold medal effort in Laos (2009), Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek was justifying Malaysia's achievement at the Guangzhou Asian Games on Astro Arena (801) aired at the same time the Malaysia-Thailand match was played (813).

The debate on Malaysia's performance at the regional Games continues, as evident in Rizal Hashim's blog.

HD says: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Sani steps down

DATO' A.SANI KARIM STEPS DOWN AS 6th PRESIDENT OF SRAM

After more than sixteen years of involvement in Malaysian squash, the last six years as President of SRAM, Dato' Sani officially announced at SRAM's Management Committee Meeting on 6 November, 2010 that he would not be seeking re-election at SRAM's forthcoming AGM on 5 December, 2010. He also announced that he had nominated his very able Deputy for the last six years, Dato' Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali, as his replacement. He further announced this at a dinner function to honour Dato' Nicol David on her Gold medal win at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and it took everyone there by surprise.

During the period of his involvement with Malaysian squash, Dato' has demonstrated exemplary leadership and keen insight across the full range of squash activities. We will miss him.

The above was the first three paragraphs of an email which I just received minutes ago. It confirmed Sani Karim stepping down as SRAM presiden…

Tigers mauled

I'm still waiting for my good friend Anthony Sutton of Jakarta Casual to write about the Indonesia-Malaysia curtain raiser of the AFF Suzuki Cup held last night.

The Malaysian Tigers lost 5-1.

Once again I am not able to travel to Indonesia for reasons best known to the company.

I missed the antics of the Indonesian supporters who apprently boo-ed during the Negaraku was played. I was not able to see the faces of the Indonesian fans when a Norshahrul Idlan Talaha scored the opening goal thanks to a brilliant pass by Safee Sali.

I also failed to see the post-match celebrations and how K.Rajagobal answered the questions posed by Indonesian journalists during the press conference.

I do enjoy good relationships with several Indonesian and Indian journalists but they can be very hard hitting in their articles. I'm sure Rajagobal and Co would know that by now.

But what surprised me the most is that Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand watching the match as reported here. Whoa...

And it l…

Vow gone wrong?

When the clock goes way past midnight and a person has one too many drinks, he tends to spill.

Apparently, the national hockey team made a vow before playing India in the semi final of the just concluded Asian Games in China - to go bald if they made it to the final.

Malaysia edged India 4-3 to play Pakistan in the final.

It seems that the players didn't really go bald as promised. Instead, they sported patches of hair, some in the front, some behind and some lines.

And that wasn't part of the pact.

Malaysia lost 2-0 to Pakistan to pick up the silver medal.

I'm sure some people might find their hair-styles to be 'less than appealing'. Some said that it showed lack of discipline.

To me it wasn't so much about the hair, but the performance in the final. I know the lads could have done way better.

But there are those who claim that divine intervention had a say in it. Bottom line, if you make a vow, make sure you honour it.

Oh well, let's leave this hair-y issue asi…

Jangan Tido!

I received several messages from an Asian Games medalist some 15 minutes ago.

This athlete is diligent and despite having just returned from Guangzhou, China yesterday, the athlete decided to start the day by sweating it out at the National Sports Institute gymnasium.

Sadly, the athlete was forced to wait some 40 minutes before the gym opened. The athlete claims that it is suppose to open at 7.30am.

While waiting for the gym to open, the athlete and I exchange several messages.

"Not like f$?king waking up at 7am after asian games for 2 weeks isn't hard enough" the athlete said.

And I replied: "‎​Biasak la they dun expect any1 to be there today"

The athlete then said:"‎​Well I'm f$?king training!"

I replied: "‎​U diligent. They not."

And the athlete nailed it by saying: "Regradless!!how the f$?k are we gonna succeed??"

Ouch.

HD says: As my late father always said, "Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise…

Dear Kumar Jr.

I got an SMS during the Malaysia-Pakistan Asian Games hockey final. It read; "The bald and not so beautiful."

Oh yes, many claimed the national lads could have played better - as evident when the players had more hair. Malaysia won the silver medal after losing 2-0 in that match.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that this team made it to the final - and that itself is a historical achievement.

And I pay my tribute to not only the whole squad, but to national goalkeeper S.Kumar - and my 'letter' was address to his newborn baby boy. Read Dear Kumar Jr in today's Mailsports.
Pic courtersy of malaysianhockey.blogspot.com

HD says: I guess 'Kumar Jr.' will appreciate the contents of the letter better when he's a little older. Cheers!

'Jaguh Plastik'?

I wonder who the Berita Harian reporter had in mind while writing his piece from Guangzhou, China. Read it here.

Is this the same person where even high ranking officials get overly fixated by taking snap shots and getting autographs with the athlete?

Well don't blame the athlete. Blame those who surround him.

HD says: To the writer, I wish I was in China soaking in the fun as well. Sigh!

Finally, Malaysia gets credited.

"Malaysia -- specifically Kuala Lumpur and Penang. This is the most user-friendly and expat-friendly choice in Asia. Malaysia is the only country in this part of the world that makes it relatively easy for a foreigner to establish legal full-time residency."

That was taken from USNews.com.

It is also interesting to note that the article mentions Malaysia as a city which is "moderately priced".

HD says: Specifically Taiping!

Justin Bek Bek

Why I say so? Cause Canadian sensation Justin Bieber (pic) has given me the perfect excuse to no longer follow the American Music Awards.

I remember sometime ago when Tony Yee was still with The Malay Mail. A passionate music and movie critic, Tony and I agreed that the annual music awards is turning lame.

And this year's list of winners clearly show that it's no longer about artistry but more of popularity.

Read the latest here.

Bah!

HD says: Will still stick to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam.

Crash, boom, bang...again.

World No 1 Lee Chong Wei once again scummbed to the likes of Lin 'Super' Dan in the men's singles final of the Asian Games in Guangzhou just minutes earlier.

Chong Wei lost 13-21, 21-15, 10-21. With the win, Lin Dan has nailed every major title there is to offer.

Nevertheless, all was not gloomy on the courts as world No 1 Nicol David and national player Azlan Iskandar nailed the gold medals in the women's and men's squash finals respectively.

HD says: Better luck next time.

Rocky's way

He is known as Datuk Ahiruddin Attan. He is also widely known as Rocky.

To me, he's Sir.

I started stringing for Mailsports the same time Rocky took over Datuk Fauzi Omar's position as the editor-in-chief.

It was sometime in 2000 when Rocky and I shared the same lift heading down to the lobby at Balai Berita when he asked; "How are your studies coming along? Are you getting your claims on time?"

Not many in his position would do so. I dare say.

I remember nervously picking up the phone, dialing his number and asking him for advice when I wanted to buy my cruiser. I knew nothing about big bikes. And I remember him saying;

"Are you going to sell your car? You better keep your car or your mom will kill you."

The next day he sent a good friend Harris Adam to the motorcycle shop and I got a good bargain for the bike.

I remember then sports editor Tony Mariadass asking me to shop around for a riding jacket as a farewell gift for Rocky. We got it at a good price from the …

Tigers go down fighting

Malaysia lost 3-1 in their last 16 match against Iran - ending their Asian Games campaign in Guangzhou.

Despite all odds, the Malaysian Tigers managed to keep the Iran forwards at bay as both teams were held to a goalless draw at half time.

Oman, meanwhile, beat Hong Kong 3-0 in another last 16 match.

HD says: Hoping that Rajagobal and Co will have a memorable run in the AFF Suzuki Cup instead.

Thank you Ben Williams....

For your sheer stupidity on the field has resulted in Malaysians being together as one.

For your lack of common sense by sending off three Malaysian players during the Malaysia-China Asian Games group match has motivated the spirit of nationalism among Malaysians.

You be the judge of Ben's antics here, here and here.

I hope Rajagobal and his lads will continue to produce a good display against Iran - despite all shortcomings.

HD says: Was put off by the Mat Salleh commentator commenting on SuperSports (AG2) during the live telecast of the game. RAJAGOBAL is our national coach and not his father Krishnasamy! Get your names right, otherwise don't bloody commentate!

They confessed...

The players confessed they were and still are being approached by bookies, even for the on-going King's Gold Cup tournament.

The officials confessed having booted out players and coaches for suspicion of match-fixing.

Observers confessed it is a quiet disease that is killing Malaysian football.

An average of at least seven players in a single team are suspected to be on the take.

Read today's The Malay Mail frontpage exclusive story on these confessions.

HD says: Time to stop the corruption.

I don't like Toffees

Honestly, I never enjoyed toffees. They just stick to your teeth and gum. It's sticky.

But we're not talking about candy. Read Mailsports' Toffees connection published yesterday.

As I walked into office this morning, I was told; "Do you know who is the person involved? A former athlete."

He is the third person to tell me so.

Oh yes, prior writing the story I was told that a former athlete was handed the project. And no, this former athlete has nothing to do with my earlier story of another former track star who was hauled up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission with regards to the on-going investigations in the BA of Malaysia.

Betul ka? Hmm...

HD says: Who said sports cannot make money...

The 'spiked' story

While going through some of my older articles this morning, I came across one of my writing - High time for Malaysia to rev up - which was not published.

It was supposed to be for The Weekend Mail, April 7-8, 2007 edition. At that time The Malay Mail had a weekend edition, a single paper catering for Saturday and Sunday. It didn't last for long.

I remember being summoned by my superiors (those above the sports editor) and was told "it's a good fact finding report but we can't use it as it is ammunition for the Singapore government to bid for the race".

Sigh.

Below is the article.

MOTORSPORTS/ High time for Malaysia to rev up.

By Haresh Deol

THE truth hurts, and its time for us to face reality.

The Singaporean media are in a frenzy over the past month as Singaporean hotel mogul Ong Beng Seng has held talks, including a dinner, with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone over a possible F1 showcase to be staged on the Republic's streets at nightfall.

Also, in weeks to come Sin…

Kiss and make up lah....

I pity Noraseela Khalid (pic) once again.

According to Bernama the "Malaysia Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) blamed the National Sports Council for the delay (in registering) as MAAU had sent Noraseela's accreditation to the Olympic Council of Malaysia on June 20."

And once again the blame game begins.

There's an old Malay saying;
Gajah sama gajah bergaduh, pelanduk mati di tengah-tengah.

HD says: Shouldn't Noraseela be the Gajah and not 'politicians'? After all it is the athlete who goes on winning medals right?

Arul's experience

I received an email from former international Arul Anthoni Selvaraj some time back with regards to his coaching experience abroad.

Arul has been playing assistant coach to several teams including the national squad, the South African team and currently serving Ireland.

Judging from the tone of the email, I presume Arul is interested in returning to Malaysia and helping out the national team. I could be wrong though.

Below is the email:

My experience abroad

Here i would like to share my coaching experience and ideas.

1. Players managements

My personal phlosophy is that coaching is NOT just being present on the field during matches or training sessions, but more of an individual who is able to adapt as a friend, teacher, manager, physologist and etc.

The manner in which I approch this viewpoint is by making efford to get to know my player well;

· what they like

· their background

· their emotional level

Hence equipped with this additional info, I am able to manage them bett…

Thank you KJ

That is what Stanley Bernard (pic) told me just minutes earlier.

Stanley informed me that he has finally been fully paid by MyTeam - through Khairy Jamaluddin - earlier.

I wrote about Stanley's predicament earlier thus I felt it is only fair to credit KJ for making Stanley's Diwali wish come true - despite it being long overdue.

HD says: So Stanley, where are you heading to next season?

A Happy but-toned-down Diwali.

The first picture was taken at the ladies department of a landmark shopping centre along Jalan Ampang yesterday. Bear in mind that Diwali is tomorrow while Christmas is more than a month away (Dec 25).

The second picture was taken from a reputable bookstore in Bandar Baru Ampang. The 'advertisment' is placed right above the limited number of Diwali cards sold.

Muruku and Thosai for thought.

HD says: Happy Diwali folks.

Tigers get new stripes

Nike today unveiled the latest national team jersey.

This is ahead of the Malaysian Tigers' participation in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Jakarta come December. The lads will first play at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Pic courtesy of Bernama.

HD says: Best of luck in China and Indonesia.

Embarrasment means memalukan

That's what F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said about the Malaysian-owned Lotus F1.

Below is an extract of the report from yahooEurosports. This was also carried by Mailsports.

"Ecclestone derides new teams as 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment'

In an astonishing outburst, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has lambasted 2010 newcomers Lotus, Virgin and Hispania (HRT) as 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment' – and accused them of doing 'nothing' for the sport.

The British billionaire's remarks are even more extraordinary given that he played a leading role in trying to attract new entrants onto the grand prix grid this season by way of financial incentives. However, almost eight months on and the best of them – Lotus – is still languishing around 1.5 seconds adrift of its closest rival and some 3.5 seconds shy of the outright benchmark. HRT is regularly more than five seconds off the pace, and none of the three have come even close …

The real winners

I was at Studio 3 in Astro (Bukit Jalil), in the midst of joining Jason Dasey and Abbas Saad on the weekly Four-Four-Two programme when I got a message from my work mate K.Rajan who informed me that Kelantan coach B.Satianathan won the 100Plus-FAM National Best Coach Award.

I couldn't stop smiling.

I would have loved to see the faces of the FAM officials when his name was announced. After all, it was they who had earlier slapped him with a six months suspension and an RM2,000 fine for speaking against 'policy matters'.

Never knew stating the obvious on fixtures were considered policy matters. Oh well...

Congratulations to Satianathan and the rest of the winners. Keep up the good work and hoping for a more exciting season next year.

Roll of Honour
BEST GOALKEEPER
Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan)

BEST DEFENDER
Md Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak (Negeri Sembilan)

BEST MIDFIELDER
Baddrol Bakhtiar (Kedah)

BEST STRIKER
Norsharul Idlan Talaha (Kelantan)

BEST YOUNG PLAYER
Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelan…

Transparency anyone?

The art of being transparent is still alien in this country.

The Indian government, despite its shortcomings, seem to uphold the phrase "of being transparent" as evident in its half page advertisment on public funds used for the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi recently.

Read SS Dhaliwal's latest posting of Care to Disclose Minister?

I'm sure the concerned politicians will not be too pleased. After all, politicians are bracing for the coming elections and need to look good - or seen to be looking good at the very least.

The cruncher came at the final paragraph of the posting.

"I am sure that it may well be much lower then the RM40 million on the three tennis events that your Ministry and Tourism forked out this year alone."

Ouch!

HD says: Boleh tolong explain...anyone?

Malaysian touch

Six-year-old Isaad Nabil (pic in baju Melayu) will surely appreciate this picture when he grows a little older.

Cardiff City is keen to make a big bang in the UK and back home. Having handed out some 250 tickets to students studying at the Cardiff University, the Bluebirds are now about to ink a deal with KLFA on a possible tie-up which could include our KL lads enjoying training stints in UK.

Read today's Mailsports for the story.

HD says: Pretty impressive. Special thanks to Taufiq.

The Pakistani threat?

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team’s tour to Malaysia has been cancelled, confirmed the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa after the hosts were not ready to play enough number of matches with the Greenshirts. The PHF and the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) had earlier agreed to schedule international matches during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. According to the PHF, Pakistan would have played the hosts in Kuala Lumpur on November 7 and 8. However, the MHF later informed that wanted just one game between the two sides.

“We thought it will be a great opportunity to test our team in Malaysia before the Asian Games,” Bajwa told The Express Tribune.

“Maybe they are intimidated by us because the teams can have a possible encounter in the tournament’s knock out stages.

“But sending the team to Malaysia for only one match is not feasible. We are instead trying to have a practice match with Malaysia in China before the Asian Games’ hockey event starts.”

Talking about the si…

Grand finale

Update: 10.58pm - Kelantan win 2-1

The heat is on tonight.

Kelantan take on Negri Sembilan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight (kick off 8.45pm).

The Malay Mail dedicate a full page for the preview on Friday.







Here are some details of both teams:

Kelantan
Coach
B.Satianathan

“Wan Jamak claims Negri are the underdogs but they are the FA Cup
winners and the defending champions. I think we’re the underdogs. He
also claims we’re only good in the first 20 minutes but Kelantan have
been scoring goals from the second half most of the time.
My boys will be in top form throughout the 90 minutes. It’s going to
be an interesting affair.”


Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (pic)

“Everyone wants to be the underdogs, want to be humble. Perhaps it’s
easier that way…less pressure. I have been waiting for this moment and
hope to score when it matters then most. I enjoy playing alongside
Hairuddin (Omar) and the team is in good shape. I’m confident the
match will end in full time.”

Players to watch: Indra Putra Mahayuddin,…

On the hunt

You can run. But you can't hide.

Read The Malay Mail's front page story today.

HD says: This is nothing like Lynyrd Skynyrd's On the Hunt.

Dei Yennada!

I was at the organising committee meeting press conference at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Monday. I remember the committee stating that 30,000 tickets will be handed to Negri Sembilan and Kelantan respectively and that the balance - if any - together with additional tickets - if required - will be sold at the venue on Saturday itself till the gates open at 4pm.

I flipped back my notebook to double check the facts.

Just 5 minutes ago I received a phone call asking me why are there so many fans queuing up to buy tickets at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya. Apparently none of the 'ahli jawatankuasa tiket' are around.

Can someone please explain the truth? Dei, yennada!!!

HD says: Good to see tickets snapping up like pan-cakes but I don't know of any ticket sales being done at Wisma FAM.

Sudah kena tapau FC

Zimbabwe FA fires CEO as players own up
27 Oct 2010 | Sapa-AP | 0

Wed Oct 27 07:02:32 SAST 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's football association yesterday fired its chief executive amid an investigation into alleged match-fixing that implicates a string of top players, coaches and administrators.

Current Zimbabwe international players admitted in sworn statements that they intentionally lost games in 2008 and 2009 on the instructions of members of betting syndicates. In some cases the syndicate representatives were present at matches, and even gave instructions in the Zimbabwe team's dressing room at halftime to ensure results were fixed, the players said.

Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya (pic) was fired for poor administration but Ralph Maganga, a lawyer for Zifa, said match-fixing charges against her relating to the team's Asian tour late last year had been withdrawn pending further investigation. - courtesy of Sowetan.

HD says: This was first exposed i…

Dear KJ...

It has been a long time since I've spoken to Khairy Jamaluddin.

Unlike many who seem to have a bone to pick with him, I have no problems with Khairy. Never did.

Why?

For the simple fact that even when he was critised in his professional capacity, he didn't flip. Mind you, he could have pulled the "I'm the son-in-law of the PM" line when Tun Abdullah Badawi was at the top seat then.

But he never did - at least where I'm concerned.

But I do know some people who are not even related to the PM threaten by using the Premier's name or the First Lady's name like no one's business. Tsk tsk.

That aside, I know for a fact that Khairy is pretty busy with the current by-elections in Galas (Kelantan) and Batu Sapi (Sabah). Out of respect I have not written in the Malay Mail that several MyTeam players, including Stanley Bernard, have yet to received their wages.

You see YB, I truly understand that the timing is not on - politically. It is not my intention to mess a…

FAM says...

FA of Malaysia tried to clear the air by justifying the action taken against Kelantan coach B.Satianathan ahead of the Malaysia Cup final between Kelantan and Negri Sembilan on Saturday. Read it here, here and here.

Its secretary general Datuk Azzudin Ahmad (pic) spoke on the matter at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.


"The disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Taufik (Razak) decided to hold a meeting on Oct 21 at 10am. Satianathan and (T-Team coach)Che Ku Marzuki (Che Ku Mohd Noor) case appeared and the committee decided to hand them a six months suspension and fines of RM2,000 each. This was based on the written explanation by both coaches.
Unlike Reduan’s (Abdullah) case, he didn’t write an explanation thus he faced the disciplinary board. The board felt that the contents of the letter written by Satianathan and Che Ku Marzuki were sufficient.
The board felt both coaches spoke against FAM policy matters...something all coaches and players should understand.
Onc…

Will Kelantan play?

That's what I'm eager to find out.

The FA of Malaysia disciplinary committee handed Kelantan coach B.Satianathan a six months suspension and RM2,000 fine for apparently 'touching on FAM policy matters'.

Kelantan play Negri Sembilan in the Malaysia Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil this Saturday (Oct 30).

The fans are pretty pissed and plan to stage a protest.

But there are 'guidelines' to follow right? We need to be strict at all times no? There must be an A-licenced coach at the sidelines no? Isn't Satinathan the only A-licenced coach in the team? Could this mean Kelantan is 'illegal'?

Well read today's Mailsports.

HD says: Would love to see the reaction of Kelantan fans.

Dear Paul

This was published in The Star - Oct 7, 2010

Where can I get a Malaysian jersey?

I VISIT your country quite a bit because my parents live here.

Everywhere I look are advertisements highlighting the glory days of Malaysian football and even your sports pages feature Malaysian football.

However, your shops sell English football tops from Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and England but no Malaysian football shirts?

I have e-mailed the FA of Malaysia about 100 times and have had no response. All I want is a replica Malaysian football jersey to wear with pride.

PAUL HANNAM,

Kent, UK.

If given a choice, this would be my answer:

Dear Paul,

I am not a spokesperson of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) and neither do I intend to play such a role through this response. However, it is sad that in this country, it is much easier to obtain an English Premier League jersey than that of the national jersey.

Perhaps the national body should have had the courtesy of replying your emails (if they have received it) but Paul, you…

Malaysia Cup - Who will make the cut?

Who will make it to the final of the 2010 Malaysia Cup?

Defending champions Negri Sembilan were stunned 1-0 by Johor FC in the first leg of the semi finals and now have to work doubly hard to overturn their fortunes in the return leg at the JCorp Stadium tomorrow.

Negri's coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan refuses to blame goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani for the first leg blunder, as reported by Mailsports' K.Rajan. Johor FC, meanwhile, are not going to rest on their laurels.

Kelantan coach B.Satianathan (pic) will wear an even bigger smile if his team - which will see the return of striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha after serving a two-match ban - defeats Kedah in Kota Baru.

Kedah held the Red Warriors to a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Kelantan are going for the kill, according to Devinder Singh of the NST while Kosmo reports that Kedah is optimistic of upstaging Kelantan.

Could Negri and Kelantan make the cut or could Kedah and Johor FC stun the fans and book a date with each other in the final…

Name dropping 3 - Kisah ku

Awal-awal pagi aku dah dibangunkan. Bukan kerana salakan anjing kesayangkanku (gambar), tapi telefonku tak terhenti-henti berdering.

Kenapa?

Ada individu yang terasa bahang bahan tulisanku semalam. Siap sampai komplain sana, komplain sini. Lepas tu 'name dropping' pulak.

Yang bestnye, semua orang yang dia komplain terus call aku...sampai terbahak-bahak kita berjenaka.

Isk isk isk. Apa yang boleh-ku lakukan. Gelak jer lah. Siapa yang makan cili, dia yang terasa kan?

Bersambung di lain lembaran....jeng jeng jeng.


HD says: Trying my hand at writing a Malay novel. In search for a perfect ending.

Running into trouble?

I wonder if the name dropping attitude was also seen while being questioned by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

Read The Malay Mail front page story today.

A former athlete was said to have been hauled up by the MACC over the supposed sour sponsorship transaction involving the BA of Malaysia (BAM) and an insurance firm.

Perhaps the former athlete could provide the answers to the whole fiasco. Hmm...

HD says: I wonder who that is..hmm.

Free loaders?

Well that seems to be the scenario which I cannot comprehend whenever there's a major sporting event abroad.

The excuses usually are:

1. We are there to learn
2. We are there to observe
3. We are there to interact
4. We are there to give moral support to the athletes
5. We are required to be there
6. Perks of being a government / sports official

Read Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi's thoughts in today's Mailsports.

Just a gentle reminder, it's the public's money, ie. my money. I rather spend the same money getting my bike painted then to pay for their 'lawatan sambil belajar'.

HD says: The only freeloader I love is Freedie Freeloader by Miles Davis.

Name dropping 2 - The 'hero' returns

I hate it when someone says...

"Oh I play golf with so and so."

OR

"Oh I had tea with this big timer you know."

OR

"This are the instructions of this VVIP's wife ok, if you don't believe me you can call her."

Rumour has it that the officials in the BA of Malaysia are subject to such "abuses", as published in today's Mailsports.

If true, I pity the officials - from the office bearers to the administrators - who have to make do with such name dropping.

But then again, this is quite common in Malaysia - where several government officials were said to have attended the just concluded New Delhi Commonwealth Games with Media passes while an individual - who claims he is connected to the whole wide world - was at the Games with an official pass.

Is that true? If yes, I wonder who..hmmmmm.

HD says: Don't bother trying to pull a name dropping stunt on me :)

SOS indeed.

My heart goes out to Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

Sultan Sharafuddin is not only an avid motorcycle fan but also an avid football fan and keeps close tabs over the Red Giants. I know this for a fact as Sultan Sharafuddin's private aide Kelvin Ong usually calls or SMS-es me for the team's latest results.

I also know for the fact that Sultan Sharafuddin was hoping that the high and mighty Merah Kuning outfit could net the Malaysia Cup title this season. That failed to materialised after Kelantan blasted three goals past Selangor in the return leg of the quarter finals in Kota Baru on Friday (Selangor held Kelantan to a 0-0 draw in the first leg).

Barely 24 hours later, Selangor - whereby the players were clearly not in the right frame of mind after the defeat - received a 6-0 annihilation against Singapore in the Sultan of Selangor's (SOS) Cup on Saturday.

I must agree with Rizal Hashim, it should have been organised at a better timing.

Personally, the runni…

1Malaysia?

I was interviewed but a handful of under-graduates from a rather reputable varsity-college in Damansara a couple of days back. Usually the students that I meet pursue mass communication, public relations or sports science but this is the first time I spoke to a group who are going to graduate in psychology.

Their topic was the 'taboo of journalism in Malaysia'. Compared to other countries including Singapore and China, we do have freedom (to a certain extent).

I found the word 'taboo' rather strong and told it to them.

The art of governance is complicated. It's always easy to take pot shots at the ruling administration. The level of maturity between the masses differ at various levels. Also, decisions are usually politically right even if they could be really wrong in reality.

But it is quite clear that the younger generation;

1. Do not read the mainstream media
2. Have no faith in the mainstream media.
3. Rely on blogs and online materials for information.
4. They have …