Sunday, August 31, 2008
Cerita Malam Tiga Puluh Satu
I can vividly remember how excited I was to celebrate Merdeka. There was no one to drive me around Dataran Merdeka to witness the anticipated countdown – reasons might include the fact that I had no driving license, no money or maybe because I was 12 years old where possessions is not worth mentioning. But save for Tamiya, Bumblebee Yo-yo, PSX (the big grey console) and Pokemon trading cards I once owned.

So there I was, watching the countdown live on national channel, traditionally followed by mesmerizing fireworks. I could only repeat the sacred Merdeka shout in front of the television, only to find myself green envy with a friend who told me that he was at the Dataran that night.

I would wake up early in the morning, again, not at Dataran Merdeka to witness the parade, but in front of television to watch the time-honored procession. But it was fun though, to watch the march past via a bird-aerial view, on the couch at home. Maybe the same ignorance Malaysia football fans have when asked why didn’t they watch football matches at the stadium. So I declared, I have to be there one day. Okay, at least during the countdown.

The highlight might be one of which a new national car (or prototype) was displayed on a well designed truck, usually with colorful flowers enfolded (I mean on the truck, not the prototype). And also the inch perfect march past by the armies, usually led by display of recently bought armored combat vehicles and air demonstration by fighter jets. Wow, terror nya!

It was during that time my school would put flags on sale at the school bookshop. I think it costs only thirty cents to wave the flag around – until one day it had been made compulsory for students to buy one, to be waved during the D-Day. Since 31st August is a school holiday, the D-Day usually took place one or two days earlier.

Keranamu Malaysia was a chart-topping hit song among my classmates, as we had been given the honor to sing the song as the main catch during the D-Day. I think we were among the earliest in the school to ever listen to the song, which was brilliantly composed by Pak Ngah and adroitly written by Siso, the guy from Kopratasa.

Buruh, nelayan dan juga petani,
Gaya hidup kini dah berubah..

The song was made the official national day song from 2000 to 2006. I am not sure why new songs (Malaysiaku Gemilang, and the latest Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan) need to be sound staged and aired as national day song when Keranamu Malaysia was catchy and simple enough to inculcate patriotism, at least to kids.

But time flies, and much to my dismay, so the spirit I long hold on to. I went to The Curve last night for the countdown. Other than the colorful fireworks, Negaraku, Ferhad and Murni SS2, I got all but sprayed with white, scented foam (obviously not like any of Shabeery Cheek’s) and went home wondering how fluctuated my Merdeka spirit has become.

So I decided to make up the hopeless night with something of use, and of course patriotic by attending an art exhibition at The Annexe, where images, archival materials and artifacts that portrays invented constructs of Malaya during the Colonial Era were put on display. There were also film screenings of movies about anything Malaysiana by talented indie directors.

A friend of mine bought a book by Hishamuddin Rais, and a nice abstract painting, maybe for his room. A minute later a fanzine, which grabbed my interest at the very first page with exceptional and fairly unconventional language usage and editorial masterpiece, InnerView.

On my way home as I was still searching for my long lost audacity of showing how I love the country, something crossed my mind – maybe an answer why this weird feeling came knocking on an important day of my country’s history.

Because an important day for my religion just well outshine Hari Kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu. Ramadhan, penghulu segala bulan. Bulan umat Islam, where patience and humility are put into test, regardless how hard your country gain independence.

It is the time to reflect and reconnect – not to judge. And above all, to develop undisputed love for The One.

Only then Merdeka can be well appreciated.

Selamat Hari Jadi Ke 51, Malaysia dan Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak, Muslimin dan Muslimat.

Moga Merdeka lah kita hendaknya.
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:25 pm | Permalink | 21 comments
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Seuntai Kata Untuk Dirasa
Impian memang menggila,
Tapi skill tidak seberapa,
Awang import datang nak tolong,
Tapi sayang kita bodoh sombong.
Wikipedia kata, pantun is a Malay poetic form - and the m
ost common theme is love.

Aku dah kata, ini bukan cinta biasa.

Ucapan ringkas buat awang-awang import, (gambar yang aku angan-angan nak jual di art exhibition)

Lokasi: Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Permata. Biar jasa jadi kenangan.
Camera: Nikon biasa. Yang pasti bukan single-lens reflex yang boleh gantung kat tengkuk.
Starting price: RM198,186,151 (equivalent to 32 juta British pound). Mungkin cukup untuk aku bawa Steven Gerrard ke Selangor.

New dawn for Malaysia!

Eh, New dawn for Malaysian football!

posted by Izham Ismail at 6:08 pm | Permalink | 6 comments
Monday, August 25, 2008
Segenap Hatiku Luluh Mengiringi Dukaku
I was the happiest man when Frank Seator took Selangor to the lead, before knowing that it took only 6 minutes for Kedah to make the Malaysia Cup to good to be true for Selangor. It would be a wonderful farewell for Seator, should his goal was the only goal netted that night – as he and the other two awang import will say goodbye to Malaysian football next season.

FAM remains optimistic the league will bring Malaysia out of the international
football wilderness not having international players in it? Oh well. Let’s talk about the final for now.

I hit the road a little early as I was expecting massive traffic congestion along MRRII leading to Kompleks Sukan Negara. So I bypassed via the new KL-Putrajaya highway to make an exit to Bukit Jalil to avoid the madness.

I was wrong, as heavy downpour and road accidents (a woman driver, no offense) were enough to hold me on the road. My friend was worried of not getting the ticket, as little did he knew that Stadium Bukit Jalil never had its seat sold-out, even during the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

I had to park my car roughly 1km away from the stadium, and it costs me RM2. Fans were seen wandering around, most of them in green and yellow outfit. A group of makcik were seen to don a very nice yellow tudung with green baju kurung, and a bunch of boys, maybe in their 20 something were busy painting each other’s face with green and yellow colour. And the speaking dialects confirmed that I parked at the wrong place. My car was seen sandwiched between two cars with initials of P and K.

Bugger – and the story of valiant Kedah fans was everywhere inside my head. I just have to walk faster, not to the extent of imitating funny professional race walkers.

I grabbed a ticket and quick to find any Selangor supporters just to make the numbers so that I wouldn’t look inferior and alone. And I followed a group into the stadium, only to find..

Half of the stadium already occupied by Kedah fans.

I was astounded of their commitment to come all the way to Bukit Jalil to cheer for the team and was a little furious to find that Kedah fans outnumbered Selangor’s.

Kedah was the better team, no doubt. Selangor had a few serious chances, but lack of sharpness and creativity sent them packing, and another cup wasted. Nelson San Martin was the star of the night, with dazzling performance, Zidane-like razor-sharp passes and the highlight second goal screamer – a deserved man of the match, and probably the best awang import ever played in Malaysia, well, after Mehmet Durakovic, of course.

It was easier for him when Razman Roslan did a Titus Bramble and Shukor Adan did a Shukor Adan along the game.

Something is wrong when Selangor fans were silenced when Kedah’s very own Biar Jasa Jadi Kenangan (a rendition with an effect similar to Liverpool’s You’ll Never Walk Alone) hit the chorus. I was humiliated. The team was humiliated. Selangor fans were humiliated.

But I guess we have no one but ourselves to blame – as the team were not treasured enough by the fans. We booed at our own player when he was substituted and jeered at Dollah Salleh each time his face appeared on the big screen. Well, I know they made a horrible chemistry and played a lousy game for Selangor, but they need us to support them for just 90 minutes of the game. I was particularly impressed by the way Kedah fans behaved towards their players. They cheered, clapped, waved and even sang a song for them.

And not walked away from the team when there was still 5 minutes left in the game.

How I wished people from Lembah Klang could learn from their northern arch-rival.

90 minutes. The title stays in Alor Star, and Kedah fans have another year to bitch about their prominence.

And another year for Selangor fans to ponder.

Anyway Kedah, I hope we will meet again next year. But this time, with no Nelson San Martin, Bernard Huggins and Marlon Alex James in hands.

Viva Red Giants.

P.S. Bitterness, please go away. I am sticking with this one, forever.

posted by Izham Ismail at 8:46 pm | Permalink | 10 comments
Friday, August 22, 2008
Walaupun realitinya aku sebut Bad-BIN-ton – sekali dengar macam nama seorang Muslim.

It’s a sport. Loved by Malaysians – only when the national team is in the final of a tournament.

Orang putih says,

Every cloud has a silver lining
Lee Chong Wei brought home an Olympic silver medal, and soon to be conferred Datukship.

Every cloud (Lin Dan) has a silver lining (Datuk Lee Chong Wei).

To be the first loser is not that bad anyway as I heard about the RM300k and monthly pension reward plan is on the way.

Congratulations anyway. We are all proud of you, except for your golden match dismal performance which saw you thrashed by Lin Dan until you have to settle for a silver medal.

Well, he’s the world number one right? He had the home advantage, right? He is Lin Dan right? Or maybe the racket was too heavy? Or maybe because the shuttlecock was made of goose feathers? Or the umpires have bad breath?

With all that, second place, no problem lah! In fact, not bad lah!

Okay lah Lee Chong Wei, it’s my turn.

Esok aku beli racket jenama Carlton. Jaga kau, Lin Dan, pemenang pingat emas pertama Malaysia baru habis tulis blog. Esok lepas dia beli racket, hidup kau bukan mimpi indah lagi.

Oh ya, jangan lupa datang Olimpik seterusnya. Aku dengar student Malaysia ramai di sana. Lepas menang emas aku janji belanja kau orang semua roti canai di NZ, sebiji macam Zahid buat lepas menang Akademi Fantasia 2. Tapi kali ini aku up milo ais secawan, gratis. Nak lagi menangkap nanti aku order band tempatan main dua tiga track.

Mesti meriah – mana taknya, silap silap lepas aku menang pingat emas, kerajaan kasi aku pangkat Tan Sri, RM1 billion, pencen RM1 juta sebulan dan seorang gadis desa yang tidak pandai melakukan maksiat supaya boleh mengawal tingkah laku dan peribadi aku bila bergelar orang kaya baru.

Mesej ringkas buat Lin Dan, jaga kau.

John Casablancas dah setuju nak jadi tutor aku. Next Olimpik, dengan gambar-gambar ini kau boleh bawa balik Fujian.

Mimpi buruk akan melanda, kerana semua yang berada di atas akan jatuh jua, kecuali Dia Yang Maha Esa. Bersediakah anda?

Aku cakap dengan Lin Dan lah.

posted by Izham Ismail at 9:15 pm | Permalink | 2 comments
Monday, August 18, 2008
Playlist Di-Raja
Aku ada satu rahsia yang champion nak kongsi. Moga boleh jadi inspirasi untuk memulakan hari kau, kau dan kau.

Kalau rasa malas nak mandi pagi, aku pasang track Know Your Role sambil berjalan masuk toilet – style jalan tak payah ceritalah, ala ala People’s Champ baru lepas layan Rock Bottom kat Triple H.

Untuk effect lebih ganas dan elegan, kening diangkat sebelah – menimbulkan pertikaian, kening siapa lebih menangkap, The Rock atau Ziana Zain.

Lebih champion kalau buat depan cermin yang bersaiz super.

Lepas mandi, lagu Exists biasanya akan mengambil alih, sengaja menimbulkan effect syahdu supaya effect The Rock dapat dineutralkan. Rahsia Pohon Cemara lah biasanya.

Dan hidup bermula bila LFO rampas waktu siaran. Alexi Murdoch pun kadang-kadang bikin haru biru Playlist Di-Raja. Bertumbuk dia dengan Liam Gallagher sebab rampas mikrofon. N’Sync cool je, tak mahu kacau orang tua bergaduh.

John Lennon perhati dari jauh. Paul, Ringo dengan George stand-by kat belakang dia, macam cerita Pendekar Bujang Lapok.

Masa tu aku cakap, hilang punca semua lari bertempiaran. Akon yang gangster pun goyang. Eminem lagi lah, sekali John petik terus demam.

Bila John dengan kawan-kawan tidur, Adam Levine rampas mikrofon. Lepas puas buat suara charming, Jason Mraz dengan Gavin DeGraw pula test market. Line-line ini memang gentleman, sebab lepas perform stage mesti kekal in order.

Tapi kalau Axl Rose dengan James Hetfield pegang mikrofon, siap lah aku nak mengemas stage. Si Mark pun sama, lagi lagi kalau Tom dengan Travis dah start buka baju.

Awie, Amy dengan Aris Ariwatan pun kadang-kadang try nak buat samseng, tapi selalu dia orang kemas balik stage. Sebab air mata penuh siapa nak lap. Aku kesian tengok line-line ini, struggle gila nak masuk playlist orang lain - tak market dan tak fashionable katanya. Menangis-nangis line-line ini merayu kat aku nak feature dalam Playlist Di-Raja.

Kesian dia orang jadi mangsa seni subjektif.

Tapi ada satu time Duta ikut Ahmad Dhani datang. Pasha dengan Ariel senyap-senyap ikut dari belakang. Dia orang ini memang steady, sampai Freddie Fernandez kucar kacir cari alasan kenapa dia orang tak boleh datang dah.

Dalam Playlist Di-Raja, orang jual Char Koay Teow pun boleh feature, asalkan suara boleh challenge Ebiet G. Ade. Nak diskriminasi pergi Palestine. Alah kat sini pun boleh, pandai-pandai lah cari port.

Dan baru tadi Pasha dah check in secara rasmi, bawa sekali dua tiga track. Tapi ada satu yang aku ingat, Kekasih Gelapku. Tercipta Untukku pun boleh tahan dia punya naik.

Pergh itu time, aku sure sudah tarik selimut.

Agak-agak mata aku pun dah nak padam, aku suruh dia orang semua balik. Boleh tengok dia orang tarik muka kat aku macam mana. Macam budak budak.

Basuh kaki, clear tekak, gosok mata, tarik selimut – lepas tu layan doa sebelum tidur. Tiga kul menyusul kalau sempat, mana lah tahu, esok dah tak tengok dunia.


Esok The Rock nak bangun sebab ada benda lagi tak settle dengan Triple H. Nasib baik dia ada Playlist Di-Raja, supaya The Rock lupa nak tarik muka dan benci membenci sesama umat.

Kadang-kadang aku try juga nak feature dalam Playlist Di-Raja, tapi skill tak cukup Satriani dan suara tak cukup Freddie lah. Roslan Aziz sure rasa nak tepuk je belakang aku sekali aku petik. Paula Abdul pun agak-agak boleh hilang sabar dengar aku cuba jadi V.E.

Petik pun sekadar tak nak bagi berhabuk. Tak apa, sedap telinga aku, sedap lah Playlist Di-Raja.

Playlist Di-Raja ada dimana mana, mungkin belakang window IE komputer kau ini pun ada. Cuba tekan minimize tengok, sebab kalau tekan close macam mana kau nak baca blog orang lain pula kan.

Tapi ego aku mengatakan Playlist Di-Raja aku yang paling champion. Habis emosi aku kena main dengan Playlist Di-Raja. Okaylah, at least Playlist Di-Raja sudi nak mainkan emosi aku.

You define your own Playlist Di-Raja. Jangan tarik muka kalau Raihan tiba-tiba buat comeback dalam Playlist Di-Raja aku.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Seni itu subjektif.

Aku ada satu rahsia yang champion nak kongsi. Moga boleh jadi inspirasi untuk memulakan hari kau, kau dan kau.

posted by Izham Ismail at 6:37 pm | Permalink | 6 comments
Friday, August 15, 2008
Hari Ismail
Lu apa pasal angkat kening.

I went to watch Ismail The Last Days last night. By right I wasn’t entitled for a student priced ticket, as my college days were over – and my ID was incised very neatly using a scissor when I was signing out from the college, a very ironic yet cumbersome way to end my days studying there, while chunking quite a hefty privilege I had of being a student when everything is quite cheaper when you have a student ID.

Malay College saved the day, as I used my Malay College ID instead – and for sure, with pictures of me sikat rambut belah tengah and yes, facial hair free.
And with RM20 and extra RM5 for nasi lemak Kelab Sultan Sulaiman Kg Baru, I’m in.

That is just another reason to hate my previous college.

Well the show was fine, except for some stretched out redundant storyline, with some flaw in the actors’ delivery and diction – where some real Malaysian essence I was looking for was nowhere to be found, missing.

Tiny little details on the accent and deep understanding about the relationship of the people of Malaya in 1940s should really be taken into account, just so to make it more real and authentic – not just another raw and experimental piece of musical.

Kudos to the musicians, for live music, and brilliant piece of arrangement, which was essential in building up the mood and was quick to draw my attention back to the play when I was computing about the depth of the lyric, and set me free on the flight of imagination, especially the part when Tun Dr Ismail was reluctant whether to take care of his wife and family or to commit himself to the country.

Though the play was not entirely a true account of once an acting Prime Minister of Malaysia, it was sufficient to tell quite a whole chunk of the live of a great hero of this country.

I think I’ve learnt so much from this doctor turned politician, whom Robert Kuok regards as the most non-racial Malay man in the history of the nation.

Thanks, Tun Dr Ismail.

What is more, he shares the same forename with my father, my ayah who celebrates his birthday today.

He is my ayah, a person credited to any of my greatness, and a person who is there to empower my limitations.

You can never be concise if you are writing about your dearest father, and I know to honor him in a blog post is never enough to show your respect and high regard to him. And all I can say is, he’s my man.
You are forever in my heart, not just in my blog's address.
Happy Birthday Ayah.

I am proud to be an Ismail.
Kasi turun lu punya kening sekarang.
posted by Izham Ismail at 6:44 pm | Permalink | 7 comments
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Red Giants No Blusher
Let me start this post by thanking Dino, who was there in the crowd with me – who spent RM29 to buy Selangor jersey few minutes before the kick-off. I was surprised to have a man born in Sarikei to do such feat, and he told me he did the same thing when he visited Stadium Alor Star. Hats off to you man.

The crowd has nothing to be compared when Malaysia took on Chelsea at Shah Alam. It was an easy ride along Federal Highway, and I got to park just a stone throw away from the ticket booth. Maybe to buy ‘The Dark Knight’ ticket would take longer time and que than last night’s match.

Just look at how cool the face I pulled while queuing with not much pressure mounted.

Final score, Selangor won 2-0 in what would have been an easy 5-0 run out.

Safee Sali had the worst jeer, albeit scoring the first goal for Red Giants. It should have been a hat trick for him, save for his two clear chances in front of the goal went begging.

With Shukor Adan being Shukor Adan, the central department was clumsy and hopeless. I just hope he will sign-out and work as a Char Koay Teow seller instead.

And we were lucky to have Evans Chisulo as the spine of the defence to deny Johor FC’s well executed yet lacked finishing moves of attack. No doubt, my man of the match.

Two goals is a fine deficit as Johor FC is monstrous in Pasir Gudang – when they thrashed Khairy Jamaluddin’s UPB MyTeam 5-1 before coming to Shah Alam. I just hope they will keep up the momentum, as the dream final is looking good to be true, as Kedah easily went the first hurdle by beating Terengganu 3-0.

Good luck in Pasir Gudang, lads.

Ah yes, thanks to Frank Seator for goals, Elie Aiboy for dazzling runs and crosses and Evans Chisulo for iron grip guards all this while. We will miss you guys just like how we miss Chris Kiwomya, David Mitchell, Mehmet Durakovic, Bambang Pamungkas and Brian Fuentes. You guys are no casualties but a living legend for us in Shah Alam. Thank you, awang import.

Gambar yang lagi best daripada poster Sure Heboh.

Bukit Jalil, here we come.

P.S. Khairy Jamaluddin just accepted my Facebook friend request. Boleh lah aku main poke-poke dengan dia.

posted by Izham Ismail at 8:12 am | Permalink | 4 comments
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Aku terkejut beruk bila dapat satu message ini daripada seorang member of the floor.
“Pergh, test market orang putih nampak”

Aku reply mudah,

Apa yg kau cakap ni? Taste awek melayu pun tak tercapai tangan dan poket aku.

“Gila apa awek. Gua layan google, jumpa artikel lu kat NST”

Dengan pantas aku bergegas ke NST, Jalan Riong untuk mendapatkan naskhah original. Tapi sayang, edisi lama dah hantar recycle, jadi hanya boleh difotostat yang original.

Tapi fotostat kat library NST bukan macam kat sekolah menengah. Lapan ringgit satu page. Boleh dengar wallet aku punya menjerit. Ah, tak kisahlah. Janji boleh cerita kat orang kampung.

Click sini untuk gambar besar gajah.

Apa la aku buat sampai miss benda ini. Oh dulu aku sibuk kat kolej apa ntah nama dia. Koyak yang ini, burn lapan ringgit aku.

Thanks editor, sebab betulkan grammar aku yang haru biru tu – barulah handsome sikit bila juta-juta rakyat Tanah Melayu baca.

P.S. The New Straits Times are believed to be serving as a propaganda tool for the Malaysia government and its proxy owner, UMNO, which is a right-wing Malay political party (Source: Wikipedia). What better way to reach them, after my letters to Khairy Jamaluddin and FAM people were not replied?

posted by Izham Ismail at 10:37 am | Permalink | 3 comments
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Big Week for Big Reds

Liverpool will kick off the optimistic off-Anfield at the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland this coming Sunday. Nothing against The Black Cats, but I am sure, as far as being a Kop is concerned, what we need is a strong jab of incentive by winning comfortably in the first game. The Reds are well-known of their sluggish season starters. And usually, they would bounce back late in the season, just in time The Kops were leaving the stadium and all too sensitive to bid adieu.

Its been a busy transfer market in English football lately – all too quick to bewilder me, upon knowing Deco is now a Blue, just the next day I knew Luka Modric is now heading to Spurs. I didn’t expect Giovani Dos Santos to leave Barcelona until a friend told me he is now joining Modric as well. What was he thinking when he decided to leave Bojan Krcic and Lionel Messi, just a split second after the trio were tipped to be the new ‘it’ power force. It was not all, after I learnt David Bentley was soon to sign for Juande Ramos regime, a month after Samir Nasri joined Arsene Wenger day nursery, to play alongside young football gems of Arsenal.

And so I thought how Rafa Benitez would fare the battle of transfer saga this season? I was on tenterhooks, hoping him to amaze me with some magic, just the way he did a year ago when he brought El Nino to Anfield – not to mention some 20 million pounds for more than 20 goals a season, making him the first Liverpool player to score 20 league goals in a season, since Robbie Fowler in the 95/96 season campaign, when I was still supporting the Red Devils.

I think he did, when he unveiled Robbie Keane as our new Number 7, a dreadfully big number to wear, previously worn by the great Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan – much to the contentment of Aliff Adha, taking pride of the two who had the honor of playing for Newcastle United.

Personally I like Robbie Keane, and seeing him donning the red shirt (and yes, the miserable away grey jersey) would be a nice fixture, provided that he will be playing alongside Torres up front. There are talks everywhere, agreeing that Torres-Keane partnership is looking to takeover the Premiership and looking good to grab at least one silverware back to Anfield this season. Let us pray that Robbie is not transforming as another form of Craig Bellamy and defying the odds of becoming Liverpool's best attacking alliance since John Aldridge and Peter Beardsley.

Other than that, I think we are at least as strong or better in some departments than we were last season, with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are back from injury to make a very big impact on the back four, where we don’t have to call on Jack Hobbs anymore.

Reina, Mascherano, Gerrard and Torres are establishing a very strong spine to the team, while Babel and Lucas, both a year older in the Premiership will hopefully come on leaps and bounds this season.

Jamie Carragher, well, is not actually my cup of tea. He might as well join Kewell and Crough somewhere, together with Itandje and Pennant whom are set to be listed and transferred out.

I thought I am going to miss John Arne Riise following his move to Roma, but the arrival of the 7 million pound Italian Andrea Dossena was quick to wipe my tears. His pre-season campaign was delightful and promising. He is no doubt the undisputed first choice on the left of the defence, and the rightful heir to Riise’s seven seasons spell as the left guardian of the back four. A wonderful bargain, I must say.

Ah the youngster N’Gog looks like a dangerous understudy. Even his name is a trivial one to pronounce – but he scored a goal earlier in the pre-season which had a touch of Henry in it. I hope will develop that way, not just by sharing the same physique with the King.
All in all, we now have the quality; we just need luck and the right mental approach. And yes, some fair referees when we are up against Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal.

We are a better team than last year. An improved league position is all I need. To win the premiership is a bonus and I don’t mind having any of FA or Carling Cup in the process. Lifting the Champions League is a dream.

We always said we had the best two teams in Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool
reserves. - Bill Shankly
Good luck Liverpool. Good luck The Reds.

And the other Reds will also wage the ultimate battle for supremacy. Red Giants, Selangor, will take on Johor FC in the first leg of Malaysia Cup semi-final tomorrow night at Stadium Shah Alam.

It will be the last chance to catch Frank Seator, Elie Aiboy and Evans Chisulo in action, as they have to surrender to FAM new policy of foreign players next season.

And another chance for you people to be at the stadium to watch local football, our own football scene.

Ticket prices in Shah Alam is fluctuated, but one thing for sure is you can get a ticket for not more than RM33, RM53, RM83, RM103 and RM303 – except for a week ago.

Good luck Selangor. Good luck Red Giants.

Let’s paint the world red this week, lads – because football is back.
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:26 pm | Permalink | 0 comments
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Stamford 'Seksyen 13' Bridge
Walaupun aku bukan makhluk tuhan paling seksi, tapi aku rasa handsome letak bendera Malaysia kat belakang aku - walaupun orang kulit sama warna dengan aku sendiri sudah pandang tajam sebab aku tak sokong team dari London tu. Oh lupa pula sekarang ni orang putih ada iras-iras Melayu.

Eleh, kalau Liverpool datang, berasaplah kau pula kena maki dengan blogger Chelsea.

Ya tak ya.

Eleh, tapi itu kalau.
posted by Izham Ismail at 4:47 am | Permalink | 4 comments
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Futsal 101
Some parents might not agree of having their kids to play futsal late at night. A basic rule of thumb, if you ask any football enthusiast is that futsal is contagious. The nature of futsal which is very simple to play – and the fact nowadays there are futsal centers built at about every corner of the city, makes us hard to resist the temptation of saying “yes, I’ll be there” upon answering a call from the night’s tokan (an organizer, the person in charge to call and gather players and the person who collects money at the end of the futsal session).

Being a tokan sounds like a very stringent and strenuous job to do – provided that you have to forgo your worthy mobile phone credit to make at least 9 calls or messages to get the ball rolling. But, it will be all worthwhile, because when there are surplus of money collected, in result of each of players have to pay equal amount of money – and the tokan will enjoy the extra money ‘incentive’. But being a considerable team player, we would not make a big fuss about it – for he had earned it. Now you can have a lesson on transparency and accountability by just playing futsal.

It would be a case of a competition, when there are more players than needed in the team. There would be a person or two, whom voluntarily or reluctantly have to make way for 5 players to play first. Every second on the bench is a misery, a torture, and silent agony, and an utmost woe to your dignity, when you are all set in your outfit; with a pair of shoe (we called it futsalor) made up chiefly of rubber resin with reinforced well-designed couture (if its an expensive newly-advertised Nike one, of course), but found sitting on the bench.

Don’t worry, there’s a way not to lose any of your well-groomed self-esteem.

I would pretend to check for my phone if it is ringing or walking back and forth to the counter as if I’m buying a Gatorade but forgot to bring my wallet. You have to look like you are not waiting to be in the court. That’s the trick.

It is all worth it when you step into the court and the ball is coming to you, allowing you to have short but enough time to show what you have, not just a cute little Nike shoe.

With smaller ball (but of the same size) than the traditional soccer ball, futsal lay down a clear emphasis on improvisation, creativity, technique and yes, like any sport, teamwork. I think it works well to make you more composed – hence you will be all fired up to want the ball more, so you can do something with it.

Dignity is very much an important deal to wage. Nutmeg, quick decision making, tricks and composure are all weapons of pride exploitation. Being able to do it is like winning a battle, and to be at the receiving end of it is devastating. I myself can get my whole day ruined just by having someone to do a nutmeg through my legs. But a signature rabona always thrive as a sweet payback for me. Ha ha, masuk bakul angkat sendiri. Shh.

Ah yes, tripping, jumping at, charging in dangerous manner, holding or pushing an opponent are not some of the way to show how muscular and manly you are, but a woe to you dignity as they reflect your short temper and lack of composure. We don’t need any shirt-pullers or any wrestlers around. Go home and watch WWE or any sick videos if you need your doze of brutality. Please, this is a game for gentlemen.

At the end of the day, friendship is strengthened, Malaysian football will benefit, and the love of football will be blossomed.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are not my favorite players, they both credit the skills-based game with making them the players they are now. It is no coincidence that the countries who do extremely well in futsal like Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Spain and Portugal – also do well in full-size pitch football and feature as prominent figures in the FIFA world rankings. Chances are - with widespread futsal centers and highly sensitive passion among Malaysian youth on the game – we could be somewhere in between the top-list.

Futsal is definitely here to stay in Malaysian culture. It is better to have our kids indulging themselves in inflicting chaos on the road, faking their ID to get into nightclubs, getting drunk when you have class to attend the next day and involving in any black organizations.

Aksi-aksi yang pernah dirakam setahun dua dahulu.

Aku sudah gian. Tolong lah.

posted by Izham Ismail at 5:47 am | Permalink | 4 comments
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Heroism Is Not A Joke
Sometimes it takes a bad character to convey the message we all could do with - a very simple note but with an immense weight of significance.

It would cleanly suggests that we can learn from just about anyone, be it a sought after felon, an astute and successful businessman, a bright student with full-ride (and mostly deserved) scholarship to study abroad, a well-liked politician, an out of favor rock band, a hopeless boy who have been dumped by his girlfriends for a record of 6 times, a blogger who sounds exceptionally genius and critical on the web but in reality a mute, an average football fan who thinks he is better than any player in the Premier League just by watching them play on live telecast, a hardworking Char Koay Teow seller, anyone you name it.

But us being us, we stick to the customary fixation of learn from only the best and brightest, until our mind made too one-dimensional to see the other side of the coin, the story, the cost that we fear to be one.

Our concept of heroism is indeed a pathetic one. A short example is about the fuss of the short tempered Hang Jebat and camaraderie turncoat in Hang Tuah who were raised as the epitome of Malay heroism (I can help of being with this unreasonable arrogance, but this is how I see this) – when we care more about the defenders of the throne, counterfeit loyalties rather than the focal point of the triumph of the throne itself, the embodiment, the idea that makes today as what it is in reality.

A hero is not what we really need. All we need is to have, or nurture the hero potential, the quality in our own self, and with our own line of ways.

Dignity, responsibility and passion should be the ingredients in nurturing the hero we all need, or want to be. You are a hero by just owning up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.

That would snap a clear photograph on why we don’t have many of those around – because we think failing is a failure, rather than a way to learn.

Thanks Joker for this one (although it came on screen only once albeit the movie’s stretched show time). No doubt, if not the decade, the year’s best movie catchphrase.

Why so serious?

P.S. I don’t think I sound political. Tak baik tuduh tuduh.
posted by Izham Ismail at 3:51 am | Permalink | 0 comments
Friday, August 01, 2008
Sabar Yang Berhormat
Kalau aku anak raja, tak payah susah susah lalu traffic jam. Tapi nak buat macam mana, aku orang kebanyakan – tak ada polis bermotor lead the way macam ambulans bawa orang nazak, tak ada nombor plat yang huruf sikit sikit.

Sabar lah, kereta depan dah nak jalan tu.


P.S. Kan aku dah kata, berfikiran positif satu ubat. Ah, leganya.
posted by Izham Ismail at 4:15 am | Permalink | 0 comments