Sunday, November 30, 2008
Kisah Stadium Tepi Sungai

Riverside saw its first goalless draw for over two years as it ended all-square in 113th league meeting between the Boro and Newcastle United, thanks to Afonso Alves' Shukor Adan performance. I don't think he is a Brazilian - maybe some Filipino who speaks Portuguese. Tuncay Sanli was my man of the match, not because he is the number 17, but his flair was too good for Boro. He should have asked Rafa Benitez to sign him. 

Newcastle were hopeless as ever, and Michael Owen is now paying the price for leaving The Kop few years ago. I can never forgive him.

However, it was the best performance I've watched so far in a stadium. Razor sharp passes, slick movements and smooth technical display are almost non-existent if Shukor Adan is on the pitch. Thanks to Tuncay Sanli and Stewart Downing for this new experience.

I think there are only two persons in the world who never bother to support Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. 

One is Fahim Idrus, whom I know was a bit emotional when I texted him that Boro is playing this week - after long quietly supporting Middlesbrough while others were rooting for the Big Four - and got him a ticket to sit together with other 42,160 Boro fans, and one Liverpool fan.

And the other one is Aliff Adha, who thinks Newcastle United is the best team in the world. I wished he was there with me. 

Such a coincidence how both teams collided in my first ever Barclays Premier League match.

I walked home missing swearing in Bahasa Melayu. I bet Afonso Alves is now looking up a dictionary for the word 'pundek' - and so do few other Mat Salleh around me.

I walked home missing cheering with the rest of SSFCs and SelangorFCs - whom I knew their names in stadium not Facebook.

I walked home missing the people who stood as company when I was all alone watching football.

I walked home missing Stadium Shah Alam, the home of my football.
posted by Izham Ismail at 4:10 am | Permalink | 4 comments
Monday, November 24, 2008
Mimpi Merah
Jangan percaya, sebab aku sendiri tak percaya.
posted by Izham Ismail at 5:56 am | Permalink | 12 comments
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Hindustan Bukan Sekadar Stunt

I never really like Hindi movies - and it has nothing to do with its hardcore schmaltzy song-and-dance stereotype. Though I quite enjoy the beauty of its language and cultural grace, I never see myself as an avid follower of Hindi movies. 

I was surprised, and even now am, to know how Bollywood movies stretched its rage across the globe and grossed  an astonishing US$1.3 billion total revenues in 2002. I suppose quite a number of it comes from Malaysians, who seem to enjoy Hindi movies, 'Certa Hindustan' as we called it, very very much. 

Housewives stop cooking, sisters share pillow, siblings fight for space in front of telly, mothers abandon their children, children stop playing Pokemon cards, fathers camouflage under newspapers, and women for once stop to hate men - because its Saturday and Cerita Hindustan is on TV3.

I failed to catch all that hype. I don't even know whether Malaysians do that to watch Cerita Hindustan. 

True or not, I don't know. I never watched any of it. How bad or good could this socially-diminishing movies do to me? 

I don't know. I never watched any of it.

And so I downloaded one two days ago.


He is nothing like that of psychotic Dark Knight's foe - but he taught me something as brilliant as the Harlequin of Hate did.

He must always make people laugh and be happy, no matter how unhappy he is within. He loves and loses, but must always keep a smile on his face because his manager said, "The show must go on."

Who is he? Ask him and he would answer, "Mera Naam Joker." 


Member: Ah, apa cerita layan Cerita Hindustan? Budget lu faham lah. Tak samseng lah layan Amitabh Bachan. Sekarang zaman Johnny Depp tahu tak, Johnny Depp. 

sanza136: Alah lu tengok cerita orang putih pun ketagih subtitle, faham sangat lah tu.

M: Haha, cibai lu. Lu pun sama.

s: Nak malu apa. Lahir-lahir bapak gua azan se-pam, bukan kasi presidential winning speech.

M: Haha. So lepas ini apa? Dil To Pagal Hai? Chalte Chalte? Baadshah?

s: Hah lu layan juga rupanya ya.

M: Apa lu ingat gua samseng sangat ke.

s: Haha.

Sekitar perbualan dengan seorang member tengahari tadi di Yahoo! Messenger - semestinya tiada teh tarik, tumbuk meja dan acah-acah puji agak-agak dapat minum free.


I have no idea how other Hindi movies fare with Mera Naam Joker, but I guess it tells a lot about the quality of ideas these people have in making a movie, and I know there are Malaysian movie-makers out there who need not to be told what to produce, but to be supported to turn the ideas into films. Good luck guys.

Anyway, Thanks Joker. No, not you, Joker. You, Joker. Okay, you both. But this time, it's you, Joker. No, not you. You.

posted by Izham Ismail at 12:59 am | Permalink | 7 comments
Thursday, November 13, 2008
(Notting Hill bukan di Nottingham, baru aku tahu - baru ingat nak usya Julia Roberts)

Football is a game with few certainties or definitive answers. 

That is why no one can explain how highly rated Brazil slumped in the recent World Cup. The same thing happened to France in 2002 when they didn’t even score and knocked out in the group stage after winning the previous cup.

I, myself, enjoy the glorious subjectivity – even if I am at the receiving end of it.


I traveled south to Nottingham last week. I have heard so much about the hype of Nottingham Games, even before I came. They say it is the biggest sporting event for Malaysians, some say bigger than Sukma.

Since 1985, the event brings Malaysians together, to uphold the Malaysia Boleh spirit, to make friends, to enjoy the authentic Malaysian culture and to feed hungry Malaysians with scrumptious traditional food.

I was there just to play football.


It takes about 4 hours to get there, so I had to make tracks at 4 in the morning. I couldn’t sightsee much from the bus, as it is obvious I should be sleeping at 4 in the morning. It was still dark to snap any pictures anyway, and I have to play football in 4 hours.

I played again for a team full of strangers, except for Syahmi who happens to be my team-mate back in the days when I played for Kolej MARA sorry I forgot the name. He was the one who pulled the string to squeeze me in the team, many thanks to him.

I am a bit sluggish and slow in developing relationship, so I was a bit quiet off the field all day. They speak in different frequency as mine, as none of them study Medicine and they have spent few years knowing each other in college. So it was quite hard to fit in. I didn’t know what type of joke would make them laugh.

When we played, I failed to remember that these people were strangers. We developed chemistry on the field and it seemed that I have known them for years. Unifying force in football just overwhelms me.

As the team consists of first-years, we were unknown to many. But among ourselves, we knew that we have the chance for at least a medal. I cannot agree more. I could see their passion for the game, and the passion to win the tournament. They have amazing talent and they know what they are doing – which makes me honored to be in the team.


Football is a game with few certainties or definitive answers. That is why no one can explain how highly rated Brazil slumped in the recent World Cup. The same thing happened to France in 2002 when they didn’t even score and knocked out in the group stage after winning the previous cup.

That is why we didn’t go through the second round and came home empty-handed although we were undefeated.

I never let myself drowned in self-pity ness when such things happened, but I feel bad for not playing a little more better, enough not to disappoint my highly passionate team-mates. I am so sorry, guys – I should have done better.

But they are all a fervent lot – as they have vowed to come back next year with renewed hope and better performance. They told each other about it, I don’t care if they don’t mean it, but I know they don’t want to feel bad about themselves and not just want to come back, but to win next year.

I, myself, would be happy to help.

Helmi, Ben, Azli, Hari, Surien, Deco and Syahmi – thanks for your time.


I am also glad to see some of my best friends who turned up and also glad to make some new ones. Sorry if I couldn’t spend much time with you guys as I had to catch a bus for that 4 hour trip back home. Okay, you guys don’t even care, but if you do, sorry.

Medal tak dapat, number phone member baru pun okay lah.

Football and friends, one hell of an ingredient.

posted by Izham Ismail at 10:50 pm | Permalink | 7 comments
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Cerita Katil

Semalam aku mimpi something, something lagi best dari mimpi basah.


Thaksin kejut aku pagi Sabtu, ajak beli nasi lemak di koop. Senang pula aku bangun meninggalkan comforter di-Raja menuju ke toilet. Aku sebat sabun dan ubat gigi Thaksin, macam biasa. Thaksin usya panas tapi aku tahu, kalau dia tak bagi, lagi kukuh alasan aku tak mandi.

Air kat toilet semacam punya sejuk. Dua tiga kali aku ulang alik, usya line, cari peluang basuh muka, basah rambut dan gosok gigi sahaja. Thaksin memang cekap, belum sempat aku capai tuala konon-konon dah settle, dia tarik telinga aku, bersepah aku masuk shower.

Bila dah mandi baru datang confident lihat dunia. Bila dah mandi baru boleh berlagak pada kawan-kawan yang selalu permain polisi jimat air dan orientasi mandi bila perlu aku.

Aku kejut Mior, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Nazha, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Adi, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Mukhlis, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Tot, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Abu, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Apek, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Wan, dia tak bangun.

Aku kejut Bal, dia tak bangun.

Semalam dia orang tengok movie sampai pukul berapa? Haram jadah tak ajak aku.

“Bukan tengok movie lah, kita orang layan Gossip Girl, cerita baru tu, terbaik. Lagi best dari porn.” jawab Thaksin kasual.

Apa hal tak ajak aku? Thaksin cakap aku tidur awal, sebab aku baru balik Pantai Morib, penat mandi laut.

Aku suruh Thaksin call Majin, sebab aku tahu Thaksin punya kredit tak pernah habis macam air zamzam.

Dan aku tahu, Majin punya wallet tebal untung-untung boleh makan free.

Lepas itu time aku dan Thaksin jalan Lorong Midaq Dedust join from Blok C. Kita orang beli nasi lemak kat koop pastu makan kat wakaf sebelah cafe.

Yang pelik time itu semua orang tak ada, macam KMB milik Ismail, Mohd Nor dan Abdullah Sani.

Macam biasa, balik dari makan, semua yang aku kejut salahkan aku tak kejut dia orang. Dah macam rusuhan kat bilik aku.

Apa cerita aku lupa kejut Cucam? Aku cari-cari Cucam tak jumpa.

Tengah sibuk merusuh, Cucam buat comeback macam hero filem. Semua orang berhenti merusuh. Cucam bawa balik dua plastik besar nasi lemak. Semua happy dan bilik aku dah jadi macam pusat pemindahan mangsa banjir.

Aku minta sikit semua orang tak bagi. Aku geram dan capai comforter di-Raja  landing katil Thaksin. Katil Thaksin bersepah macam setan, siap ada majalah Ujang. Aku layan dua tiga muka.


Sampai situ sahaja aku ingat. Aku bangun tidur straight type post ini, takut lupa. Aku miss kelas pagi ini.

Oh ya, Thaksin di Czech Republic, bukan sebelah bilik macam dulu nak kejut aku.

Dia orang pun merata-rata, macam mana nak merusuh kat bilik aku.

Aku rindu dia orang agaknya. Harap-harap dia orang sihat dan tidak berubah perangai. 


posted by Izham Ismail at 7:38 pm | Permalink | 13 comments
Wednesday, November 05, 2008

(Title - How one of my flatmate pronounces Dublin)

I still feel overwhelmed.

It was certainly one of the best moment of my life – and only now I could write about it, because it is very hard to write when you were constantly making sure that the medal is still there, grinning from ear to ear and your hands were shaking in disbelief.

It was just a bronze medal anyway – but it is more than enough for me.

I went to Dublin two weeks ago. Since I am not a Superman and son of Roman Abramovich, I have to make sure I get the cheapest flight available. Then I thought what about my accommodation, as I do need my beauty sleep as well. So I started to imagine myself drooling in my sleeping bag somewhere in Dublin Airport, with the consent that I will be chased away by tall-Irish security guards.

And not being the son of Roman Abramovich, I will only have some money just enough for me to live for few more days and my passport just in case people think I am from Italy. With that, I was thinking what I am going to eat in the 4th most expensive city in Europe? 

That left me with one last choice, stay home.


I have no idea who this guy is other than some random creeper who added me on Facebook. Just to make sure Facebook is there for a purpose, I took a while rambling through his page (and normally I’ll go through pictures first, as the saying ‘picture paints a thousand word’ has it) and saw something familiar.

Green, dull and old. Oh yeah, that’s him when he was in KMB. I think I know the place. He is my KMB super-senior, and he too is not a Superman.


I was startling when someone called me on one fine day. Where the hell he/she get my number from? Maybe he/she is drunk and thought anything he/she dialed would make her speak to a cab driver.



Oy ini Ang!

Oy ini Izham! Ang? (My crazy mind went in tune to Doraemon’s ang ang ang lyric)

Ya la, Ang! Facebook Facebook! Gua KMB dulu. Sekarang Edinburgh.

Oh okay okay, Ang!

Haa, lu main bola?

Main kadang-kadang.

Mau main team aku for Dublin Games?

Okay, boleh. (grabbed my wallet and put aside some cash, just in case)

Okay, contact kau later.


Now I don’t have a choice. It is football, so I am all for it.

So that was why I went to Dublin – to play football with strangers and try to win the tournament without training.

Hello, Ang.


Han Boon.




Aku Izham.

I didn’t know any one of them - they were from different universities, different courses and different year (I was the youngest, just for the record), and some of them are of different race and speak different language as well. Other than being Malaysian, we shared one thing in common – passion for football.

So we played.

And we nearly made it to the final, as the opponent did a Liverpool when we were three goals leading in the semi-final. It was awkward and also a familiar fixture for me as my former captain and team-mate when I was playing for KMB, Amirul Hakim and Hariz were wearing the same jersey for the opponent team and I was not.

But we battled our way to secure the bronze medal in the 3rd/4th placing match, first ever medal for Ang The Captain after 4 years of playing football thousand miles away from Penang.

Without doubt, the win was for him, the same creeper who added me on Facebook and stalked for my phone number.

At least lah, at least lah, kau orang kasi lah aku benda keras boleh gigit tu untuk aku bawa balik. - Ang Choon Seong

He was talking about winning medal, lah.


Life is good when you have people who care enough to cook you a dinner and provide you place to sleep. Thanks Marshitah for the delightful Nasi Lemak Ayam and Ridhu for the bed and the PS3. Oh yes, Alya for nice chat and banter. You guys made 2% my day! (obviously football is the other 98%, sorry).

A boost for my accommodation and eating budget, and it was fun catching up with classmates and friends (makan free lepak free mana tak fun).

I flew back the next day; only to find out clock had gone back by an hour thanks to the end of British Summer Time and I had an hour extra of sleep – and definitely more hours to remember the fun I had in Dublin - certainly the best moment of my life.

I still feel overwhelmed - maybe more now.

No, now.

posted by Izham Ismail at 2:28 am | Permalink | 9 comments
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Harun Rivelino

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Aku suka makan popiah. Hari aku tak ngam kalau tak makan popiah. Pernah sekali kawan-kawan aku panggil aku Harun Popiah. Aku gertak bunuh keluarga dia orang kalau panggil aku Harun Popiah. Biasalah budak sekolah rendah, gertak sikit dah kecut telur.

Biasalah budak sekolah rendah, bunuh keluarga pun boleh buat main.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Aku nak jadi pembuat popiah terkemuka dunia. Aku mahu seni pembuatan popiah di abadikan. Kalau boleh, aku mahu popiah jadi warisan dunia. Pernah aku senyap-senyap kumpul duit supaya boleh beli tiket ke Fujian, tempat popiah dilahirkan. Aku ikat perut, RM1.50 yang Abah bagi tiap-tiap hari aku simpan elok-elok dalam kotak videotape. Aku label ‘Misi Fujian’.

Belum sampai lima ringgit, Farhan goda aku. Berlagak sungguh dengan kad-kad Pokemon baru dia. Paling aku tak tahan, dia siap beli topi merah-putih dan half-glove macam Ash Ketchum. Farhan selalu buat aku jealous. Nama abah dia Datuk Yunus Ahmad, anak kepada Tan Sri Ahmad Hashim yang terkenal dengan perniagaan rempah dan buah-buahan di Gombak. Abah aku Encik Zakaria Zain.

Aku tegas, aku ada misi perlu diselesaikan. Jadi aku buat-buat buta bila Farhan lalu depan aku masa main rounders petang-petang.

Hasilnya, dengan RM94.50, aku yakin aku akan ke Fujian. Aku hampa. Tiket ke Fujian sangat mahal – dan aku memerlukan passport untuk ke sana.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Ini semua salah Abah. Abah memang hati batu, sampai bergaduh dengan Atuk sebab nama aku. Atuk tegas dengan nama Harun Idris, dengan harapan bila aku besar nanti, aku jadi macam Harun Idris, tokoh politik kegemarannya itu. Abah cerita Atuk pengikut setia Harun Idris walaupun seinci tanah pun dia tak pernah dapat.

Atuk kagum dengan semangat Harun Idris - pemuda Melayu contoh, katanya. Atuk sedih Harun Idris dipecat dari UMNO. Orang kata dia salahguna kuasa dan duit rakyat, Atuk tak pernah percaya. Pak Ngah selalu gaduh dengan Atuk sebab benda ini. Mungkin sebab itu Pak Ngah selalu tak balik kampung masa Hari Raya. Rugi lah, anak Pak Ngah si Hayati tu cun melecun, terlepas peluang mengendap dia tukar baju raya.

Abah pula memang minat Roberto Rivelino. Hero bolasepak Brazil yang terkenal dengan skill dan rembatan pisang yang sampai sekarang Abah tak boleh buat. Abah simpan misai sebiji macam Roberto Rivelino. Dia mahu tiru rambut sekali, tapi Mummy tak bagi, it’s too much katanya. Farhan selalu ejek aku sebab rumah aku penuh poster Roberto Rivelino, tak macam rumah dia yang penuh arca dan lukisan-lukisan pra-Renaissance yang dibeli ketika keluarganya melancong di Itali.

Paling aku ingat, Abah perdaya aku, katanya nak bawa aku tengok Power Rangers on Ice, sekali dia paksa aku main bola, supaya aku boleh main macam Roberto Rivelino. Aku mengadu pada Mummy. Mummy dan Abah bertengkar di meja makan. Abah tak mahu bertengkar depan aku. Dia ajak Mummy masuk bilik. Masalah selesai. Aku respect Abah, dia kata dia ada ‘magic’ untuk settlekan masalah dia dengan Mummy.

Atuk dan Abah bertengkar setiap kali nama aku dipanggil.

Rivelino! Idris! Rivelino! Idris!

Atuk ugut Abah guna tanah pusaka. Abah tersentak. Passion dia pada Roberto Rivelino diuji dan dipermainkan. Abah kata tidak. Namaku tetap Harun Rivelino, bakal pengganti Mokhtar Dahari. Aku akan membesar dengan skill rembatan pisang, seperti yang dibuat Roberto Rivelino pada Piala Dunia 1970 menentang Mexico, yang membawa Brazil ke final.

Atuk kesal Harun Idris tiada pewaris. Atuk kesal tiada siapa yang akan memperjuangkan ketuanan Melayu. Atuk kesal semangat Harun Idris akan lenyap. Atuk kesal masa depan bangsanya akan terus dipermainkan. Atuk kesal.

Aku membesar dan Abah tiada seekar pun tanah pusaka. Aku membesar dan Atuk ada lebihan tanah pusaka.

Dewasa aku bagi Abah ialah Roberto Rivelino. Dewasa aku bagi Atuk ialah Harun Idris.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Aku baru pulang dari Fujian. Membawa rempah dan resipi asli untuk di-revolusikan. Aku mahu dunia tahu aku akan bawa pembaharuan pada popiah.

Ketumbar, timun, udang halus, bawang putih, lobak, kacang, telur, sos cili dan lada sulah ditemukan dan dibungkus dengan tepung gandum. Sos istimewa disapukan dan kacang yang ditumbuk halus diratakan. Magic.

Goi Seng Hui terpaku bila dia mencuba popiah aku. Ditanya bagaimana aku buat popiah sesedap ini, aku menjawab kasual, aku ada magic. Dua minggu kemudian, dia bayar tiket aku ke Singapura untuk tandatangan surat perlantikan aku sebagai pemegang saham Tee Yih Jia, syarikat pembuat popiah terbesar dunia.

Esoknya sepasukan wartawan dari kolum perniagaan akhbar Guardian terbang dari Farringdon Road, London untuk menebual aku, dan tak semena-mena, aku kini bergelar The Next Popiah King.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Hari ini Hari Raya. Hayati kini seorang model, anggun mengenakan baju kebaya. Lebih manis bila dia menuangkan teh dan menghidangkan kuih dan popiahku pada tetamu. Farhan kini seorang arkitek, dan sedang cuba masuk line dengan Hayati. Dia ada BMW Z4 M Roadster untuk memikat. Pasti tiada masalah. Pak Ngah excited bakal dapat menantu kaya-raya.

Atuk dan Abah juga sudah berbaik-baik dan tidak bercakaran lagi.

Semua orang gembira di Hari Raya. Popiah magic karyaku jadi saksi.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

Aku mahu minta maaf pada Abah kerana aku tidak cukup skill untuk jadi Roberto Rivelino.

Aku mahu minta maaf pada Atuk kerana aku tidak cukup berani untuk jadi Harun Idris.

Aku harap mereka suka popiah magic aku. Kerana aku hanya tahu membuat popiah, dan popiah sahaja yang mampu aku tinggalkan.

Selamat tinggal Abah. Selamat tinggal Atuk. Moga ketemu di lain alam.

Nama aku Harun. Harun Rivelino.

posted by Izham Ismail at 10:14 pm | Permalink | 15 comments