Thanks Lee Zii Jia! Politics and everything else finally take a break
Finally conversations over dinner and in Whatsapp groups are no longer about politics. Phew!
It took Malaysian badminton player Lee Zii Jia to make that happen. That's the power of sports.
Regardless the result of the All-England final tonight, I bet people will still be talking about Zii Jia's exploits tomorrow and perhaps the day after.
It's the kind of distraction and entertainment Malaysians need right now - not discussions about the nation's nauseating politics or depressing economic situation.
Thus it saddened me that when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had launched the National Blueprint for Unity last month, only Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah saw the need to speak about sports as a unifying agent.
That too he made in passing, perhaps not wanting to offend the Youth and Sports Minister.
Earlier this month, Singapore unleashed plans to push its football to greater heights.
Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, said in a statement:
"Uplifting Singapore football will be a national project, and I encourage all of us to rally around this common goal. It is a sport which can unite Singaporeans of all ages, races and genders.
"There has to be a collective unity to pursue a shared goal, all of us, working together, united, pulling in the same direction, for this project to have a chance. We will continue to do our best to build a sustainable and resilient football ecosystem which Singaporeans can be proud of.”
I hope Zii Jia's road to the All-England final where he will play Viktor Axelsen in the final tonight (7pm) will finally open the eyes of the powers-that-be in Malaysia. It's not just about throwing your support and forgetting about badminton tomorrow.
It's about realising the power of sports.
Thanks, Zii Jia and all the best!
Special mention to national women’s doubles pair, Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah for reaching the last eight of the same tournament. Way to go, girls!
List of Malaysian All-England winners (men's singles)
1950 Wong Peng Soon
1951 Wong Peng Soon
1952 Wong Peng Soon
1953 Eddy Choong
1954 Eddy Choong
1955 Wong Peng Soon
1956 Eddy Choong
1957 Eddy Choong
1966 Tan Aik Huang
2003 Muhammad Hafiz Hashim
2010 Lee Chong Wei
2011 Lee Chong Wei
2014 Lee Chong Wei
2017 - Lee Chong Wei
Full list of winners can be obtained at the All-England website.