Monday, June 16, 2008
Melayu Boleh
Anak raja memikul kayu,
Mari dibuat batang titian,
Malang nasib anak melayu,
Pemimpin ramai dengki-dengkian.

I just can't disagree.

posted by Izham Ismail at 7:26 pm | Permalink | 13 comments
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Pendapat Mu Usia Tak Material

I swear it was all accidental when I stumble upon this video, when actually I was looking for something else. Since I’m a bad typist, it was most probably due to my ham-fisted penchant for typo. But five minutes later, this is how I went,

Lupakan Westlife! Lupakan Backstreet Boys! Lupakan N’Sync! Lupakan Boyzone! Lupakan 5ive!


KRU - Old-timer in Malaysian entertainment business, nice voice, nice dance moves and devoted fans of Selangor as well. Ah, sweet.

Awas gerak langkahmu oo!

P.S. Or maybe I was purposely looking for it. Anyway, thanks YouTube – lepas ni kau boleh kerja Jejak Kasih.

posted by Izham Ismail at 11:49 pm | Permalink | 2 comments
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Bukan Cinta Biasa
1996 is one of the best years of my life. Not only it was the year when I first met my first love, it was also the year when I attended Malaysia Cup final for the first time to see how Selangor clinched the ultimate title right in front of my kiddy eye. Astro was only for the privileged few, and we were so loyal to RTM during that time, hence Malaysian football scene was so alive back then.

I can still remember how Federal Highway was clogged with flagged cars and wild jubilant motorists leading their way to the once-celebrated Shah Alam Stadium. I couldn’t remember how my brother (who just got his driving license) dealt with the traffic situation – as I was busy looking on the madness on the road. Even modified lorries with kompang brigade was at hand joining the procession, and polis trafik could only smile to see us ran wild – its Malaysia Cup Final, the biggest night of the year! (after Hari Raya Eve, of course)

Anyway, Selangor was up against on-form Sabah, with Khairul Azman set to be the stronghold guardian and free-scoring Australian-born Scott Ollerenshaw was there to spoil our night. It was a fairly entertaining final and it is still fresh in my mind how balance the game was, and the ball was played everywhere across the pitch and both teams hold on to their winners card until the final minute. I was nervous. Everyone was nervous. The game went on to penalty shoot-out after an entertaining nil-nil end result. My man of the match was Mehmet Durakovic, a very glittering defender who spoils Scott Ollerenshaw’s night of fame. He is my favorite player in the team, and still is. How I wish to meet him one day.

But the name, Talib Sulaiman, is still fresh in my memory - he slotted in the last penalty to mark another glorious day in Selangor football history. Selangor, 1996 Malaysia Cup champion.

I screamed and hugged my brother as if he was my friend. The crowd stood up and cheered as our starlets climbed onto the stage to lift the undisputed Malaysian Cup crown.

For almost a week, I was overwhelmed. I would read anything about Selangor on the news. As usual, things like how proud and happy the Sultan was and promised land and rewards for the players was everywhere across Utusan Malaysia (the only broadsheet I accept as true then). It was crazy.

(Coffee break)

And just a year after, Selangor did it again. And this time, they were pitting for the title against Pahang in the final. Almost in a much familiar fashion, the game ended nil-nil inside 90 minutes. But came Christopher Kiwomya, the RM5mil man, to score a wonderful sudden-death goal to keep the title at Shah Alam. It was a deja-vu.

But the night doesn’t end that ordinary way for me. This is what you get when the Vice-President of Selangor FA is your dad bestfriend.

Exclusive post-match changing room tour – where the hero Christopher Kiwomya, fresh after being chased by the media, was only inches away from me.

CK: What is your name?
II: Izham, call me Am.
CK: You play goalie?
II: No, I play midfield.

Apa apa lah Kiwomya oi. Aku nak ambil gambar je.

Straight after, my dream comes true. Picture speaks louder than words.

Yes, he is Mehmet Durakovic, my Selangor all-time favorite player. Obviously, he is the white one.

Very nice to meet you.

I should have said that. Biasalah kecik-kecik dulu, lagi lagi nak sembang dengan Orang Puteh. Cuwak woi!

Oh yes, on the left is current Pahang FA head coach and perhaps one of the best Malaysian footballer, Zainal Abidin Hassan – and one of the reason why I dress in the number 17.

But then again, it was 12 years ago, and that is how I celebrated the marvelous Malaysia Cup fiesta.

So Malaysia Cup will kick off tonight, with Selangor set to entertain Terengganu in the first match. Though the quality would make it unthinkable to compare with overrated EURO 2008, Malaysia Cup is a romantic fixture for me. So don’t blame me if I don’t have a clue what is happening in the so called biggest football tournament in Europe (which I think is an overstatement, as it is actually Champions League).

I hope this time around, I can relive the moment Selangor gave to me 12 years ago. I am looking forward to see them in the final, yet again. All the best, Merah Kuning.

1st January 2008 - with the people I spent my new year. Unfortunately, Selangor lost to Perlis. Ah peduli apa.

Anyway, click
here for complete schedule and check your birth certificate if you don’t know which team to cheer. I am sure Holland, Italy, France or Germany etc is nowhere written in it.

posted by Izham Ismail at 5:18 pm | Permalink | 3 comments
Monday, June 09, 2008
So my article ‘Fiddling Malaysians, Reaping Neighbour’ has now become famous. It just secured a place in theCICAK, an online socio-political youth magazine, as they describe themselves as – but with a new title, 'Kick the operspending, underachieving habit, Malaysia'.

And with just a day published, the article already gets a hold of 4 comments – which I don’t generously get here.

To read the edited-and-published article on theCICAK, click here. If not, just browse through my archive for the original one.

And the ever trivial part of becoming a featured writer - the description,

IZHAM ISMAIL is a contributing writer for theCICAK.Izham is a devoted Malay who takes pleasure in football and reading. He has just finished two years at Kolej MARA Banting, where he was captain of the football team. Visit his site.

Tak pasal pasal KMB dapat nama.

Anyway, million thanks to theCICAK for the opportunity.
posted by Izham Ismail at 5:14 pm | Permalink | 4 comments
Euro cash in to overtake Dollar
I am talking about the European football championship played by 16 countries, not the currency used in 15 European countries. Ha ha lame, nak buat macam mana, aku bukan Raja Lawak.

So the much anticipated and soon-to-be overrated Euro 2008 kicks off last night – in which I missed the opening ceremony and first few minutes. I thought I was to catch it at NZ Curry House, so I called Ayie for company. We went out early to get nice-view seat, right in front of the screen. And so the downpour – which was earlier than us. It was not the most profitable night for NZ Curry House; as the famous open space proved to be futile when it went mushy. And they lost their two loyal customers as well, all because of geographical drawback, climate surprise and mismanagement – of my time and NZ tactical objective.

So we headed for Deen instead, few kilometers away. Being near to the Taman Melawati Police Station, the place is near empty – and so we got the VIP seat for a good football we anticipate for. Right in front of the humble little TV and close to the cash counter, and the waiters as well. Much to our misery, after the adventure we had (going places now is considered to be an adventure, given the shocking revelation of the new oil price), the opening match was also dreadful. Not because my second choice fantasy team striker in Alexander Frei went off as substitute due to injury, but because of the lack of color, or drama in the game, except for Switzerland twice denied penalty following typical Ujfalusi’s ineptness. Maybe I was there only to see goals and finishing capacity, in which both teams be deficient in edge. One cannot blame Fernando Torres for not being born in Switzerland or Czech Republic. That’s why Peter Cech was my man of the match.

Anyhow, Sverkos goal separate the two teams and all three points went to Czech Republic. What a boring game. But a delicious Nasi Goreng Paprik made up the dull night, as Sverkos goal was not the point of scream of people in Deen Restaurant. I wonder how crazy it was in NZ when Sverkos netted the goal, or even when Frei sobbed after being ruled out of the tournament.

Ah boring ah Euro this time.

Roger Federer main tennis lah. So mimpi lah korang nak menang

Maybe I am too sentimental - because England didn’t make it this time around.

Or maybe it is too early to judge.

Anyway my bet is on Spain. You know why.

posted by Izham Ismail at 1:07 am | Permalink | 1 comments
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Seroja Masih Di Kolam
Aku sebenarnya fasih berbasa Melayu. Sebenarnya anda juga.

Semalam aku ke Borders mencari bahan bacaan. Kerusi disediakan tidak cukup menarik untuk aku duduk. Kerusi di rumah lebih baik. Tapi Borders dan rumahku bukan seinci dua. Aku capai kunci kereta.

Lapar aku makan nasi, lapar kereta makan minyak. Berderau darah Melayu aku bila teringat harga minyak yang baru diumumkan. Makin berderau bila meter aras minyak kereta tidak menyebelahi aku.

Harga minyak naik menggila. Collective conciousness biasanya akan buat rakyat tidak ke mana-mana. Aku tidak. Isi minyak pun ya, berbelanja pun ya. Aku buat semua bila orang kata itu ini tidak perlu. Aku mahu rasa sendiri, walaupun duit sendiri boleh dikira dengan jari. Ah takut apa, orang bergaji lima angka pun goyang bila kerajaan umum harga minyak naik. Mungkin sebab itu juga mereka kaya, mereka suka berjimat. Oh.

Mencabar juga rupanya untuk jadi diri sendiri. Pemimpin suruh aku ubah gaya hidup. Degil aku memecut dari Wangsa Maju ke Damansara. Patutlah mereka kata aku tak patriotik – sebab aku tak ikut cakap pemimpin. Tapi aku seorang sahaja kah yang perlu ikut cakap pemimpin? Mereka? Pemimpin juga perlu juga ikut cakap aku. Reciprocity itu perlu. Masakan aku mencarut seorang diri bila keretaku menjerit kesakitan akibat kualiti rendah jalan raya yang ku lalui. Lubang sana sini. Lopak merata rata. Nasib baik setia menemani aku, mendengar rintihan aku. Mungkin boleh bertanding pada pilihanraya nanti.

Hon dan maki hamun ibarat teh tarik dan roti canai di pagi hari. Saling memerlukan. Ini sikap tipikal pemandu di tanah tumpah darahku ini. Agresif itu perlu dalam membentuk bangsa cemerlang, aku tak nafikan. Tapi Hang Tuah masih bersopan santun walaupun sudah lali membunuh. Mungkin kerana harga keretaku hanya satu persepuluh harga kereta mereka, walaupun minyak diisi pada harga yang sama. Atau mungkin mereka ada urusan penting. Mungkin isteri mereka sedang sakit melahirkan anak. Mungkin. Kita mesti bersangka baik.

Mudah saja aku mendapat petak parking. Aku sendiri hairan. Mungkin nasibku baik hari ini.

Pilihan buku luas. Tapi belanjawanku tidak mesra rakyat. Aku memilih mana yang mampu. Hard cover hanya mimpi.

Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Aku biasanya ambil sedikit masa untuk jatuh cinta dengan pilihanku. Biasanya aku bercangkung, kalau tidak berdiri membelek buku pilihanku. Pada ketika itu juga biasanya mataku merayap ke sekeliling, memerhati gelagat rakyat sepertiku. Tapi semalam aku sedih. Sedih kerana Borders bukan destinasi pilihan bangsaku. Mungkin ini kesimpulan rambang, kataku. Aku bergerak dari shelf ke shelf untuk kepastian. Ya, boleh dikira dengan jari, sama seperti wang dalam dompetku. Ah, mungkin ini kawasan orang Cina agaknya, aku bingkas memberi alasan.

Aku membuang resit belian buku yang kini menjadi milikku. Aku lapar. Restoran makanan segera dan restoran-restoran elit lain memanggil-manggil namaku. Begitu juga kedai mamak tempatku menonton siaran langsung bolasepak. Aku memilih the latter, walaupun ia berpuluh-puluh kilometer jauhnya. Jangan tanya kenapa. Aku hanya mahu menjadi diri sendiri.

Hujan turun sebaik sahaja aku hirup titisan terakhir teh tarik yang dipesan. Mee goreng mamak juga hanya tinggal limau nipis yang telah diperah. Aku bergerak pulang ke rumah, dengan beg plastik berisi bahan bacaan di tangan.

Masyarakat sekeliling mungkin tertanya-tanya mengapa aku duduk keseorangan bila remaja sebayaku bergelak ketawa di meja sebelah. Mungkin mereka patut tertanya-tanya kenapa mereka tertanya-tanya. Jangan salahkan takdir aku tidak seperti mereka - dan mereka tidak sepertiku.

Aku tau hidupku bukan fairy tale, tapi aku mahu bebas buat apa yang aku suka. Sebab apa? Sebab aku mahu jadi diri sendiri.

Aku tau aku tak sempurna. Tapi at least aku tau aku tak sempurna.

Aku percaya, ketaksempurnaan aku mungkin akan menyempurnakan bangsaku satu hari nanti. Insya Allah.

Aku ada buku perlu dibaca.
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:51 am | Permalink | 5 comments
Friday, June 06, 2008

It costs me MCOBA Futsal – which my batch team ran ragged winning the grand title, our first time and against all odds, including Erare surprisingly grow to be the top scorer.

Yes, I just got back from the compulsory 5-days camp, a Kursus Kenegaraan as the penghulu would say, organized by Biro Tatanegara. It is made compulsory for all open minded Malaysian students who are going to spend taxpayers money to attend – to be brainwashed as a way to instill instant patriotism and to infuse the pro-government ideology in the minds of a group of people whom probably smarter than them.

As a way to prepare myself from any unexpected clutter and confusing mess during the course, I guided myself through the BTN website to find out what the course is all about, few days beforehand. I was particularly dumbfounded in the bureau aptitude in designing the module, which I described as holistic, provided every area of how to be a good Malaysian is clearly pointed out in the arrangement of agenda. It’s long winded (as always) objectives noticeably call every attention to advocate development efforts by the government, as well as to understand the intricacy of utilitarian principle and social ethical conduct. I was excited actually, knowing how elaborated this course would be, albeit many negative impressions surround it even before I received the course letter.

I was lucky to be placed at Kem Bina Negara Lipis, obviously not because the place homes the birthplace of Najib Tun Razak and Siti Nurhaliza. It is new and I was privileged to be among the first to use the camp, and surely not the last to complain about the quality of the place. Simply put, while it may sound cliché for a camp to have water problems, I can never tolerate electric connection problem – when I woke up as early as 5 in the morning only to find myself in confusion whether I just got back from a futsal session or something, provided the amount of sweat formed.

Alah manja la kau. Peluh sikit pun tak

Sikit kepala bapak kau. Anyway, the food was superb. I was served as much as 6 times a day, to which I was anticipating a weight gain. As always, metabolism said no. In addition, thanks to Amir Tan’s strict diet policy and my group mates’ kesederhanaan dalam pemakanan, I was blessed with bigger portion. Terbaik.

I was told that it is precisely the same module used even if your camp is located in Suria KLCC or St. Jakob Park, Switzerland.

Four speakers were invited to cover four sessions of 8 hours lecture – and 8 group activities were carried out before 4 books were given to be read within the space of 3 nights as preparing ourselves for the exam. The thickness is equivalent to height of rice I scooped every meal session.

Being naïve (failing the course means shattering the whole studying overseas dream), the speakers, as well as the selected line of facilitators were given undisputed autonomy to insult and malign the idea of human rights, especially among the non-bumiputera. The take home message is simply put as breathing the air in this country necessitate a huge dispensation from the Malays. The idea is simple, shut up and put up, or get lost, which mean failing the course. So along the way, we have to spare our thoughts and agree of any provocations imposed.

The highlight of the course, as least for me, was not the lousy and easy peasy physiological test, but the group activities covering on the issue of politics and racial issue in this country. We were told by the facilitators to speak up, even though the matter is considered as taboo to be discussed explicitly. And it was my time to shine as well – especially the issue of social contract, racial discrimination and bloggers credibility were brought up. All this wild, blind shooting by them, together with nasty provocation has not been backed by evidence – maybe because it has been an accepted practice in our country not to question any claim, no matter how unintelligent or far-fetched, as long as it is done on behalf of bangsa, agama dan negara.

Personally, I have nothing against any facilitators or any people in the bureau, as they are designed to be like that and I just hope they can step out of the comfort zone and speak up for themselves, and not because of the module said so.

Enough said.

But there are things that I just could not disagree, in fact, I feel more proud of being a Malaysian when matters like the achievements and sovereignty of the country were put on the table. While I built up nice close relationships with other course-mates, the course actually did help me in refreshing my understanding about this country. Am I becoming more patriotic? The answer is definitely yes.

Menara Bangsa Akan Kita Bina,
Perkasa Tiada Rebah Lagi.

All in all, the mind boggling nature of the course which put my stand and judgment on the line was indeed another lesson for me to find truth – and not just good food as consolation.

Anyway, though the personal feedback from the facilitators was not that convincing, I hope I’ll pass the course – and no phone calls from my sponsor as well.

P.S. Thanks Mior, for the picture. And for the delay as well.
posted by Izham Ismail at 7:58 pm | Permalink | 4 comments