Posted on August 7, 2012


For me, the highest compliments for Chong Wei came not from his own home fans (a large group of whom even went to receive him at the airport upon his return home in such an early hour). Nor from political personages of all sides. Even though their admiration and gratitude for him have been very considerable.

Notwithstanding this, the highest compliments for Chong Wei came from the sportsman who was across the badminton net from him. The relief that came upon Lin Dan when the final shuttle dropped out of play was quite excessive and revealing. He was well and truly relieved! Clearly he could not have been overconfident nor did he take victory for granted. For him, his opponent was no pushover and the match was not a foregone conclusion, and he was certainly not a sure winner. And the actual play itself by both players proved this and demonstrated their superlative skills, fitness and mutual respect. The match most certainly could have gone either way, finally settled by a mere two points. There was (and always will be in any sport) a little bit of luck involved in the winning as well as in the losing. Both finalists should be roundly thanked for such an accomplished performance and for taking badminton to such high standards. And in Chong Wei’s case, he accomplished this feat and posed such a serious threat to the ambition of Lin Dan in spite of a serious injury he had sustained just a few months back. Just think of what discipline, resolve, commitment and diligence he must have summoned to be able to do so.

This is such a fitting tribute and model of the 2012 Olympic Games’ motto to “INSPIRE A GENERATION”. No doubt many young Malaysians will be the beneficiaries of such good sportsmen!

Yet despite these facts and realities, one elected representative of the people in our midst must see fit to embarass himself, his political colleagues, the high office he holds in the state legislature and, not least, his constituents by making some deplorable and ill-conceived remarks about the country’s foremost sportsman even by making a play on his name. What is even more alarming to Malaysians is that this particular occurrence is not an isolated one. By no means. Quite a few others behave and speak somewhat in this careless, disrespectful fashion too. Be they sexist, racist, religious innuendos, all have been disrespectful, offensive and unwarranted of the highest order. And in very high places at that. There was even a case where a clearly sexist comment was made by a very high ranking officer of the corridors of government when a women’s delegation met him! Even the most sincere apologies made publicly will seem lame when compared to the deed or statements made.

And for concerned Malaysians already much peeved and certainly not amused by the antics of quite a few Malaysian politicians, this is living proof that not all who have seats in our august state assemblies and federal parliament ought to be there. Not unless they undergo discipline, training in etiquette and good manners and earn the respect of others because they have demonstrably learned to respect others.

The conduct and words of our elected representatives must also be of the standard whereby they inspire a generation of Malaysians. This goes for others of us too who are neither sportsmen/women nor politicians but voters. Spectators of sports events and voters of governments alike are subjected to the same high standards we require of our sportsmen/women and elected representatives of the people.

The badminton match is over and the two players gave a very good account of themselves and fully deserved accolades from fans and pundits alike in their own countries and the world over.

Unfortunately, the big contest which our nation is now facing is not yet done. Even the date of the big MATCH is yet to be ascertained. But come the time we get to make decisions even more consequential than winning sports medals, when we voters prepare ourselves to decide who our state and parliamentary representatives should be, and which team should form our next government, which will have stewardship of the nation’s security, economy, resources and destiny, let us be sure to elect reps and a government who can INSPIRE A GENERATION of Malaysians in the right way. Not those who will only inspire our despair, shame and loss. For a period of five years- one more than the Olympics.

Posted in: Leadership