Let’s face it.
Things are bleak.
People are starving. The most unpopular Prime Minister in the country since it’s formation in 1957 is in power and refusing to let go despite the fact that he was not elected. It’s saying something when both sides of the divide despise him. Despite the number of severe cases starting to fall and vaccination rates ramping up, our Independence Day, 31 August, which seems to be the date the government aims to really let the reins of COVID restrictions loose, seems far away.
So what do we have between now and then? Simple.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics
Just like the European Championships and the Copa America, the Tokyo Olympics was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. Even now, as the Olympics are to start a year later, the pandemic is still striking at the heart of it, with Tokyo declaring a state of emergency two weeks before the games and banning spectators.
However, despite the many controversies that churn up whenever the Olympics come along (usually forgotten when the Paralympics begins), both events, along with the World Cup, are significant ways the world stands as one and cheer the spirit of sportmanship and camarederie.
Let’s face it. Unless something changes, The Malaysian Football Team will never qualify, much less win, the World Cup in our lifetimes. There’s even a running joke about it:
“An Englishman, a Chilean and a Malaysian meet God. God grants them each a wish.
The Englishman says ‘I wish England would win the World Cup’.
God says ‘They’ll win it in the year 2108’.
The Englishman cried, because he’d never see it in his lifetime.
The Chilean says ‘I wish Chile would win the World Cup’.
God says ‘They’ll win it in the year 2202’.
The Chilean cried, because his grandchildren would never see it in their lifetimes.
The Malaysian says ‘I wish Malaysia would win the World Cup’.
And we should always support our male and female football and Futsal players (our Futsal players are actually quite decent in the world stage) but let us not be stingy in our support for our Olympians and Paralympians. Which Malaysian was not inspired by Mohamad Puzi Mohamad Ridzuan, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli and Abdul Latif Romly winning Malaysia’s first gold medals at the Rio Paralympics in 2016?
Dato’ Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan had countles battles over many Olympic games for the gold medal, and although Chong Wei never did get the gold, he introduced Malaysia to the feeling of being stressed during a final of a major sporting event, something we rarely get to feel on an international level.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, for the past few years considered the hope of Malaysian Gymnastics, has qualified for these Olympics and will show her mettle against the worlds best.
Dato’ Azizulhasni Awang (who received his Datukship on the day of writing this article), 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist, famed for sticking it out in an event with a 20 CENTIMETER PIECE OF WOOD PIERCING HIS CALF (I say that in capital letters as it’s akin to a scene from a horror movie) is one of the favourites to snatch gold in the men’s keirin.
So yes, ladies and gentlemen. We’re still stuck to our TV’s, phones, tablets, game consoles and laptops for the foreseeable future. We miss our families, our friends, seeing children be children and play in parks, eating out at restaurants or simply having a good time. However, rather than doom-scrolling the state of the country and the world, while we take care of those who are waving the white flags, and brandishing our own black flags in protest, let’s take some time to cheer on these Olympians and Paralympians, and wave the Malaysian flags as well.
They might be competing at empty arenas, but the roar of a country can be heard world wide.
Don’t forget to follow me on YouTube, as I’ll do a react video to the great Olympic and Paralympic moments after each event ends.
Here’s a silly video I made.
– New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Bob Morshidi is a drama teacher, freelance writer and satirist with a love for absurd comedy, popular culture and the lighter side of the seriousness of life. Follow his Instagram @bearmanbob