1. Sports is about giving your best. Only the best are rewarded and glorified. The rest are easily forgotten.
2. Criticism is part of sports. Criticism pushes athletes, coaches and stakeholders to produce better results, to put a good performance.
3. After all, those who would win accolades and the hearts of the people through such motivation is the athlete and those around him or her - and not the critics.
4. The Malaysian athletes contributed 145 gold medals at the 2017 SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur, enabling the host nation to be crowned the overall champions.
5. But this fact was overshadowed by numerous unsavory episodes throughout the meet, as documented by the author on Aug 31, 2017 and the Bangkok Post, among others.
6. Some 18 months following the Games, the 2017 SEA Games Report finally surfaced. The report did not provide any analysis, data or insights but for some messages, a commentary by the Malaysian Organising Committee (MASOC), team list of the participation nations and results of the events.
7. All eyes would naturally be on those responsible in the content of the book. To be fair, the content providers would have received instructions and acted on the given brief by their clients - ie MASOC.
8. It must also be noted that traditionally in such obligations, it is the client who would have the final say and provide the green light for such a project.
9. Taking that general rule into context, it would be fair to assume that the decision-makers had read through the 700-over page book and allowed it to be printed. Thus, the responsibility lies on the approving party.
10. It would also interesting to know what were the feedback provided by the stakeholders during the consultation of the book and what was the guide or theme of the book to begin with. Had it been informed publicly, perhaps that would have managed expectations.
11. Certain parties have expressed their displeasure over the book, but none have been willing to go on record.
12. It is rather unfortunate that even in this so-called era of 'Malaysia Baharu', there are those who prefer to keep silent, hoping others would highlight their true feelings.
13. This is NOT an attack on any particular individual or party. It must be made clear that some RM450 million was allocated for the Games and with the manpower seen pre- and post-Games, it is only natural to expect a decent attempt to record a historical moment of the nation.
14. As tax-payers' money is involved, it is only natural for the Games - and every aspect of it - to come under scrutiny.
15. Criticism is part and parcel of life and constructive criticism, backed with facts and justification, should be taken in good spirits to push ourselves to greater heights. Being critical does not mean being an enemy. In fact, good friends will be honest and tell their inner feelings to you. There are those who will say nice things to you but insult you behind your back.
16. It is truly hoped that data related to the Games - organisational aspects, including problems faced and solutions, tourism expenditure, athletes' performances and data/insights obtained from coaches and the sport sciences experts, among others - be compiled and revealed to enable us to better understand the lessons learnt from hosting such events. Otherwise, the same mistakes will be repeated in the future.
17. Let's give credit where credit is due. Not blindly giving credit or even worse, staying silent over something that could have been done better.