Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mother’s Day Greetings

This could be a perfect addition to that cringe-inducing arsenal of indoor halloween décor.

What happened was that I recently discovered the following Mother’s Day greetings written by my son on a piece of paper.

Cuteness factor aside, that atrocious spelling was swiftly dealt with – but as you can see, I could not resist taking a photo for remembrance’s sake. Maybe 20 years from now he’d look at it and laugh heartily.

Malaysia’s best ever performance at the FIFA World Cup

Update 22 December 2012

Iraq topped the group, Jordan second, with Singapore dead last, losing all their matches, and a goal difference of minus 18.

Iraq & Jordan qualified for the fourth round, the round that truly mattered, for the top 2 of any of the 2 groups would make it to Brazil 2014, while the 3rd placed team would go to round 5.

As at the time of writing, Jordan is last, including a thrashing 0-6 away by Japan, while Iraq lie third behind Australia and leaders Japan.

Update 16 November 2011

As of today, Singapore has played 5 times (out of a total of 6 games), and have lost all 5.

2 Sep: 1-2 China (A)
6 Sep: 0-2 Iraq (H)
11 Oct: 0-3 Jordan (H)
11 Nov: 0-2 Jordan (A)
15 Nov: 0-4 China (H); China’s last 2 goals came when one of their players was sent off
29 Feb 2012: 1-7 Iraq (A)

If we had beaten Singapore in the 2nd round and advanced to this round, how would we have done?

In the other groups, Thailand and Indonesia also lie at the bottom of their group, with Indonesia having lost all 5 of their games, including a 1-4 thrashing at home by Iran.

Surely these exposes the huge gulf in class between South East Asian football and elsewhere.

Update 31 July 2011

In the 3rd round, Singapore was drawn with China, Jordan and Iraq. The top two from each group will go to the 4th round. Singapore’s first match will be away to China on 2nd September.

Update 29 July 2011

Malaysia were held 1-1 by Stretcherapore, oops Singapore, hence Singapore won 6-4 on aggregate and advanced to the 3rd round.

Some twitter comments:

Khairykj: Good atmosphere at Bee Jay. Bola itu bulat & all that jazz. Cheating, play-acting Singapore keeper & all that jazz. Don’t stop believing.

ShaolinTiger: Malaysia may not have won but I give them max respect for having a local team, coach & manager & playing like good sports.

amuse_gueule: Singapore is wearing their home colours, Malaysia is wearing their away jerseys. Halloooo!

elizabethwong: Someone should grab those laser-shooters by the ears and chuck them out of the Stadium!

zhukl: Khairul Fahmi vs singapore XI

__earth: Malaysia: shitty offense, shitty defense, great keeper.

Singapore is joined by Lebanon, China, Indonesia, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, Uzbekistan, UAE and Jordan in the next round. Good luck all.

28 July 2011

On 3rd July 2011 Malaysia created history by making it into the second round of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification, holding Taiwan 4-4 on aggregate and winning on the away goals rule.

Yes, not even during the heydays of the 1970s did we ever made it past the first hurdle.

It had been a long 38-year wait.

On 28th July 2011, another opportunity for greatness beckons. At 8.45pm the whole country will come to a standstill as Malaysia meet Singapore at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. All 85,000 tickets have been sold out. The Prime Minister will watch the football match on a giant screen in Kedah with 10,000 people.

If we pass that hurdle, we’ll make it to the 3rd round, where there will be 20 teams: 5 automatic qualifiers (Japan, Australia, South Korea, Bahrain & North Korea) and 15 winners from the second round. These 20 will be drawn into 5 groups of 4 teams – the draw will be done in Brazil on 30th July 2011. The top two from each group will go to the 4th round.

In the 4th round, group winners and runners-up from the 3rd round will play in 2 groups of 5 teams. The top 2 teams from each group will be in the 2014 World Cup finals. The 2 3rd-placed teams will go to a 5th round.

In the 5th round, these 2 3rd-placed teams will play each other (2 legs of course).

The winner will go to the inter-confederation play-off, where the winner of the 5th round will play either (in 2 legs of course):
- CONCACAF’s 4th-placed team
- CONMEBOL’s 5th-placed team, or
- OFC’s 1st-placed team (determined in a draw)

The winner will be in the 2014 World Cup finals.

It’s a very long road indeed.

Ultraman in Kuala Lumpur

I was walking around Sungei Wang Plaza, Kuala Lumpur sometime in June 2011 when I spotted that familiar figure I see on TV so often.

My initial thought was that: if only my son – an Ultraman fanatic – were here.

Now I am not sure how many times the suited one has made official appearances on our shores, especially in Kota Kinabalu, but initially I could not believe that I was finally face to face with the superman of the east after all this while, never mind that he looked like he was on a perpetual oxycodone percocet addiction detox regime.

But on second thought: scrap that, the queue to meet and greet him was frighteningly long.

Heavy metal / hard rock Dusun songs

Last week, I first heard the song Koposion by Sokid, which was recorded in May 2010 at a studio in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. The group mentioned that they planned to release an album in July that year.

YouTube Preview Image

Rather interesting to hear a Dusun song in a different genre.

Piqued, I wondered if it is the first Dusun song in heavy metal or hard rock.

Then there’s Kristo Umok’s Tulang Bosi Turat Dawai which was mentioned in dBOS-fm’s blog in March 2010, so it must have been recorded earlier than the above song:

Singing in this kind of style might not be many Dusuns’ idea of a good time, at least perhaps not yet. Sometimes the words could be lost in all that racket, they could be singing about mothers rings while an expletive starting with the word “mother” could be heard instead.

Bornean rainbow toad photographed for first time ever

It was reported on 14th July 2011 that the Sambas stream toad, or Bornean rainbow toad was last seen in 1924 and was never photographed, its only representation being drawings. Apparently only 3 people had ever seen it then.

87 years later, this most elusive amphibian was rediscovered and colour photographed for the first time ever by scientists inspired by Conservation International’s (CI) “global search for lost amphibians”. Dr Robin Moore, CI’s amphibian specialist launched the global search. The effort in Sarawak was supported by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and the team was led by Dr Indraneil Das of Unimas.

Searching forests deep inside Sarawak day and night, they were months into it, then while doing the ridges of the Gunung Penrissen mountain range one night, they looked up a tree and hey presto – saw a beauty. They found another 2 toads on separate trees. The animals were up to 5.1cm long. As an added bonus, what they found seemed like a nuclear family: an adult male, an adult female and a young one.

Understandably, the exact location of the find is a closely guarded secret, lest people would stumble over themselves to get there and try to catch their own rainbow toad.

While finding something which has not been seen for long is definitely thrilling, the more important reason for the effort is recognising the critical importance of amphibians to ecosystems. They are indicators of environmental health, with direct implications for human health.


From Rangalau Baru to Felsted in 6 years

It never ceases to amaze me that from a primary school in a rural area in Sabah I somehow ended up at a prestigious public school in the United Kingdom in the space of 6 years.

SK Rangalau Baru (nearer Tamparuli than Kiulu), I was at that school between 1976 and 1981; apparently this satellite image was taken in 2003:

Yes, that single dirt field at the bottom was where we played football every day. No track, no rafters, not even a proper grass field. More than 20 years after I left the school, it basically never changed.

After that, I spent time at the following schools:
- SMK Tamparuli
- Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Sabah (now known as SMESH – Sekolah Menengah Sains Sabah), a fully residential school
- Kolej Pengajian Persediaan (KPP) Institut Teknologi Mara, Section 6, Shah Alam
- somewhere in Damansara Utama for about 2 months

Then I was off to Felsted School, Essex, United Kingdom; I was at that school between 1987 and 1989:

As you can see, there’s definitely more than one grass field.

A photo of the most-well known part of the school overlooking the cricket pitch:

To get a general idea of the difference in size, the dirt field at SK Rangalau Baru measures about 75m (top to bottom) and that field in the middle of Felsted School measures about 150m (left to right).

Both places hold fond memories. Felsted was like a dream, and has probably everything a school should have, but Rangalau Baru will always have the most natural composters ever, if you know what I mean.

Satellite photos courtesy of Google earth.

Worst performance by a Malaysian national team in an international tournament

The women’s football (soccer) tournament at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Laos was a truly forgettable moment for Malaysia women’s national football team, and perhaps Malaysian sports in general.

Only 5 teams participated, so everybody was put in a mini league to play 4 matches.

What happened next was truly extraordinary:

Malaysia 0-14 Thailand
Malaysia 0-8 Vietnam
Malaysia 0-5 Laos
Malaysia 1-7 Myanmar

Our ladies should take heed of what Japan achieved at the 2011 Women’s World Cup yesterday. Japan knocked out hosts and 2-time defending champion Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinals, thus advancing to the semifinals for the first time.

In the 108th minute midfielder Homare Sawa’s pass found Karina Maruyama, who beat goalie Nadine Angerer to silence the sellout crowd.

It was mighty Germany’s first loss in the tournament in 12 years.

Germany, with Birgit Prinz, one of the women’s game’s greatest ever players in their ranks, frantically threw everything forward in the the last 12 minutes, yet the Japanese defence held firm.

In a group match, Japan had lost to England, yet recovered from the setback.

Then Japan created history by being the first Asian team to make a football World Cup Final, by defeating Sweden 3-1 in the semis, despite the fact that most, if not all, members of team being shorter than 170cm, the Swedish team the opposite of that!