Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I never thought I would step my foot in Cardiff. 

Yes, that city in the southern part of Wales. I used to know lot of things about Cardiff - the city, the people, and all those statistics. I even picked up few Welsh words and phrases, and secretly had a live Cardiff digital time watch in my laptop - sit right next to Kuala Lumpur, my first home. 

Welsh football, inside out. I read everything I could about Welsh football and even tried to support a team (as you can guess, Cardiff City) and dreamed of watching them play in Ninian Park one day. I even talked to myself into renouncing my allegiance in Premier League to support Championship instead.

And so I moved on.


Team Edinburgh is back, with new additions to the concoction; two new players and whole new spirit after a wonderful outing to Dublin few months ago. But this time, we call ourselves Team Glasgow.

It gave me chills when Ang said next up on schedule is Cardiff European Games. I googled for it right away only to find some familiar places like Talybont Sports Centre and some Welsh words I used to know.


And so together we embarked the 12-hours journey on the move to Cardiff. The journey started in Glasgow (one of the reason why we called ourselves Team Glasgow for all that difference in where we came from) and from there, the car traveled to Edinburgh, my place, Leeds and Nottingham before the fleet reached full number to continue our journey to Cardiff. 

I had a little concern about my condition. I have been feeling a disturbing twinge around my knee for a while now that I had to literally drag myself to play all these while. I'd do anything to get over this and not to let this hitch a nasty reason for me to stop playing. That is the last thing in my mind. So I convinced myself to stick on.

Ang said this would be the last tournament he'd joined, the same thing he said to me when we played in Dublin. His passion in football is admirable, having playing actively for 4 years in UK and organized a few along the way. 

He formed an adept team consists of again, a group of guys who share same passion and respectable skills in football. To be honest, I felt inferior playing alongside them. They are the players I would never want to go against in a competitive football match. 

Salim, Fairuz, Afizi, Boon, Khai, Arai and Ang - there are no words to say how privileged I am to be able to play with you guys.

Everything happened so quickly. We scored for fun and the team went all the way to the final before lost in penalty shootout after a stalemate against a team from ironically, Dublin. To lose in final is indeed disheartening if you ask any footballer - but for me, I try to dictate the rational minds that it was a good result. After all, we had fun.

Hence, my second medal after 5 months playing.  I can't believe that I have played in seven football tournaments in 5 months. 

One without the other is the eyes without ears for football is the reason I am alive, my oxygen, my love and my everything. Thanks guys, for this another wonderful opportunity.

Till we play again.


Ah Cardiff, so many stories.

That was then and Cat Stevens reassured me day and night that 'you may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not'.

Till we meet again. 

posted by Izham Ismail at 7:06 am | Permalink | 4 comments
Monday, March 30, 2009

Remember the year 1996?

Selangor won another Malaysia Cup, and Izham Ismail met Muhammad Zuhaili Mat Rani. Little they knew that they will spend the rest of their life knowing each other inside out. In doing so, they

Lepak mamak first time with two ringgit in pocket,

Walk to kedai mamak and order teh ais and roti canai banjir,

Count money first before order for teh ais and roti canai banjir,

Naik LRT dan jalan kaki dalam bandar tanpa penat lelah,

Usha perempuan Melayu seksi,

Usha perempuan Melayu seksi wannabe,

Berpeluh dan basah ketiak tetapi still control charm lelaki Melayu.

Sembang bola Malaysia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Japan, Holland dan semua negara merdeka,

Sembang kualiti player itu ini guna gaya bahasa coach Malaysia seperti Wan Jamak Wan Hassan,

Sembang berita bola baru keluar seperti transfer player Europe dan predict harga perpindahan,

Sembang statistik perlawanan tak guna Matematik tetapi Bahasa Malaysia.

Main Playstation zaman playstation warna kelabu berat seratus kilo,

Main game manager zaman Premier Manager dan Championship Manager,

Main line 600 guna telefon rumah dan buat-buat tak tahu bila bil telefon sampai,

Main bola dalam rumah sampai pecah lampu living room.

Kutuk musuh bola dekat sekolah,

Plan strategi bola dan kumpul team,

Beli but Adidas predator sama-sama sebab main striker sama-sama,

Beli jersey Adidas hijau sama-sama sebab main striker sama-sama,

Training bola hari Ahad dekat padang yang haram tak ada goal post tetapi ada buaian dan jongkang-jongket,

Angkat trofi sama-sama dan senyum puas dekat musuh sama-sama.

Jadi pengawas corrupt datang lambat lepak gate buat-buat on-duty,

Ponteng sekolah agama sama-sama,

Quit sekolah agama sama-sama,

Ponteng sembahyang tarawih dan kadang-kadang Jumaat sama-sama.

Kutuk musuh tackle awek dekat sekolah,

Control handsome dekat awek-awek sekolah,

Usha awek sekolah yang itu time buah dada belum fully-developed,

Curi number awek yang itu time buah dada belum fully-developed,

Kacau awek yang itu time buah dada belum fully-developed guna telefon rumah,

Buat-buat tak tahu lagi bila bil telefon sampai.

Kutuk mamat-mamat hip hop sebab pakai baju londeh dan tak faham lirik,

Menjadikan boy band sebagai agama dan kepercayaan,

Nyanyi lagu boy band off key tetapi muka budget sedap.

Cerita fantasi seksual dan wanita idaman,

Sembang masa depan - dua-dua komited mahu jadi pemain Selangor,

Takut-takut kantoi dengan ustaz bila lepak dekat Giant pakai seluar pendek.

Cerita tips untuk dapat awek dengan effort minimum dan untung maximum,

Tips untuk buang awek dengan effort minimal dan untung maximum,

Sembang apa cerita best dekat tv sebab tak ada Youtube,

Sembang cerita, cerita dan cerita.

Cerita cinta, sukan, suka, tak suka, apa lancau semua ada, kecuali cerita hantu,

Sebab dua-dua takut hantu dan hanya berani kalau ada gadis skirt pendek muka mix.

It was 1996 and they were eight. The story is still running with new plot, new lines, new characters and new settings - but the same touch and mojo remains. They learned two things: friendship and brotherhood are natural things - you just have to go with the flow and let it take its course; and childhood friendship can last forever.

Now it is 2009 and they are thousand miles apart. But still and all, they believe that it is the thought that counts.

So to Muhammad Zuhaili Mat Rani, or Ayie - the guy who would secretly help Izham Ismail to pick the pieces up when Izham Ismail is down and one of very few people Izham Ismail doesn't feel geli at all when he calls Izham Ismail 'bro',

Izham Ismail wishes him Happy Birthday,


P.S. He took that picture when Izham Ismail lepak mamak with him. Yes, that picture just below the 'Pengarang Dan Kepengarangan' one. Using Izham Ismail's cheap Nokia baling-muka-ex-girlfriend-boleh-puas-hati phone.

P.P.S. A year before that, Izham Ismail met Ahmad Kamal Zafrullah. Kamal who? I'll tell the story in May.

posted by Izham Ismail at 7:39 am | Permalink | 7 comments
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Sajak Meletup-Lah Dunia

Tua, muda, kacak dan vile,

Kaya, miskin, kurus dan fleshy,

Pandai, bodoh dan di antaranya,

'Well Hello' untuk kesemuanya.

Mari dengar cerita 'Aku',

Cerita 'Dulu, Kini Dan Esok'.

Aku juga mahu 'Bicara',

Aku juga mahu ada 'My Say',

Cerita tauladan kepada semua 'Hoi Orang Kampung',

Walau bahasaku sampah dan ayatku kapal kepecahan.

'All Hail The White Green Yonder',

For my 'Driving Thoughts' are all but intelligent,

'The Sea Inside' is too deep for me to swim,

And 'Pelangi Hitam Putih' is too beautiful for me to score.

Sesaat 'Aku Terbang' aku melihat,

Aku lihat 'Wisdom, Mankind, Surpass' di segenap 'Kelibat'.

'Bila Hati Bersuara', mulut bisu miskin kata,

Di sebalik 'Lucah Lucahan' dan sinar 'Lampu Neon',

Aku biarkan 'Getaran Pena Yang Mengeja',

Mengeja 'My Two Cents' untuk semua.

Sesaat 'Graeconally' membuka langkah,

Langkahnya memukau buat aku 'Dare To Live',

Buat hidup aku jadi lebih 'Purely Dramatic',

Jadi 'Never Alone' untuk selamanya.

'Catch Me If You Can' my dearly dear,

For not even 'Little Miss-At-Large' could understand what seems to be clear,

'Whattablog' is never a question but an idea,

But as human we do what we call err.

Di 'Koffieshop' aku minum dan bergambar,

Kopinya manis dan gambarnya tragis,

Biar aku petik gitar dan tanya semua dunia, 

'Please Tell Me, How Did You Love My Picture, Huh?'.

Biarlah aku hanyut dalam ceritera 'Cerah Kelam Siang',

Kerana aku tiada apa, hanya cerita.

Tiada wang untuk belanja,

Tiada rupa untuk persona,

Tiada tenaga untuk upaya,

Tapi aku ada ini,

'Dalam Kepalaku Ada Ini'.

Hanya ini.

Ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha.

posted by Izham Ismail at 12:20 am | Permalink | 13 comments
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Xie Xie

Let me be romantic for a minute by thanking all readers for reading 'Dalam Kepalaku Ada Ini'. For all your love and support, a million words would be too short.

Fair enough, I better stop before I grab a knife and kill myself ha ha.

posted by Izham Ismail at 4:31 am | Permalink | 5 comments
Friday, March 20, 2009
Easter, Estadio and Me
So I kissed another term goodbye. Like the previous one, the term has been eventful and ended in a most horrific way imaginable - two assignments due on the very last day of the term. Total up a staggering 5000 words, my medically challenged mind were dragged to write until the last bit. Few clicks then confirmed that I won't see any of them again, at least for this year. 

No, never complain when you live the life you asked for. You will be damned by promises made before you even started, and the money you ran off with from Malaysian people to continue your study.

Both Selangor and Liverpool are doing well, one leading the league and the other running about cutting big clubs down to size. 

Suddenly, some people are back to fill the empty seats of Stadium Shah Alam. I have to agree that Stadium Shah Alam is not the best as far as the attendance is concerned, though in capacity, it is bigger than all Premier League big four's. 

Our very own 'Wembley' in Stadium Bukit Jalil is wiped out before the battle of the stadiums even started. 

Top of my list is the humble Stadium Darul Aman, smoked out on the northern soil, few hundred miles away from the debt-laden ninth biggest stadium in the world of Bukit Jalil National Stadium. 

Packed with people who speaks beautiful northern-accent whom would make it a point to be there at the stadium rain or shine,  Stadium Darul Aman effortlessly pride itself as Anfield equivalent in my book. 

'Biar Jasa Jadi Kenangan' makes it more obvious that lively football tradition should be unearthed to create a sense of belonging that will keep people coming back to cheer at the stadium. Though I am in no way entitled to sing the song, although some parts of me have Kedah as its origin, I secretly know the song by heart - and was closed to sing the song together with zealous Kedah supporters when Fadly Baharum sealed the FA Cup deal for Kedah in Bukit Jalil.

Did I say Bukit Jalil? It was more like Alor Setar to me, looking at how poor Selangor fans fared. We were outnumbered easily that night. Even at kedai mamak when me and my friends had the ritual post-match tea.

People has to literally elbow their way to get a seat in Stadium Darul Aman and the belief that every seat in the stadium is a privilege really moves me. Stadium Darul Aman could be known as the only stadium where players can see people watching football if they go around in 360 degree.

I suppose the choice is entirely up to the fans to decide where their stadiums stand, and certainly, Kedah supporters made a brilliant job in raising Stadium Darul Aman's profile. And certainly, their efforts paid well, as the players thanked loyal supporters by winning three trophies in two consecutive seasons few years ago.

Malaysian football fans, not only Selangor fans, have to learn this lesson people up north has laid on the table.

This is what Malaysian football supporters have to have in mind, before pointing out what is the problem with our football scene. Often we are quick to put the blame on the management, as if we have no role to play and the future is entirely up to those in charge.

If Malaysian football is a family, the players are forgotten sons who put efforts day and out trying to impress the parents, but to no avail, they are hated by their parents for being underachievers. Do you hate your son for being stupid? 

I am just glad those people are back in Shah Alam, but a little bitter that it took ages for them to come back. Welcome back, anyway. The players need you. They need us.

Liverpool draw Chelsea in the quarter-final of UEFA Champions League, canceling Spanish Prime Minister's hope to see Liverpool battle Barcelona in the final. I'd settle for Liverpool-Manchester United final, to stretch football's biggest rivalry in the world's most prestigious club tournament.

The Premier League is rather an impossible task to catch, I have to admit, so Champions League will be enough to put smiles back on hungry Kops. Good luck, lads.

I'll be sitting my final exam this May, and expecting to see myself juggling books and notes every now and then for this two months. And yes, more football tournament interwoven. 

I am going to Cardiff, finally - if you know what I mean.

Books, more books, football and more football - what a way to spend my holiday.

posted by Izham Ismail at 8:53 pm | Permalink | 5 comments
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Orange Oh-No Sky

I've been writing long streak of post about my love in football. Blog readers find ways to label me and quick to point out the obvious that I am a football blogger. I am in no way trying to disagree with that. In fact, I feel flattered by such recognition with such a little amount of football knowledge I have.

Then I started to experiment with another interest I have in literary writing, blog readers started to think differently on the way I write that they have problems adjusting to the tune and the sometimes peculiar style of writing. 

Sometimes, I took an easy way out to write a new post by jotting down a few words and expand it into lines and into stanzas and hence a poem is made. It is easier when you know that you have to only think about a word to begin with and then let your mind freely swim through the sea of punctuation, connectors and prepositions.

I like it very much to find that way of expressing myself, that I never run dry of materials to be posted as it is so easy to write it into a blog post. 

Some people find it too schmaltzy and disappointed that I have turned myself into a blogger they don't want me to be.

Most of the time, people don't have any idea what I write about and start to get confused with my way of writing and the easiest way to get out of the doubt is to discard my blog from their reading list. That is for them the only way to show resentment and disappointment for my failure to deliver what they want in my blog post. 

Some of them even said my blog is just another piece of internet rubbish and my writings are gibberish and not worth reading.

How do I know about this? 

A truthful reader told me - between the lines of a very long e-mail - who stated to be representing not only him/herself, but a group of people. I can only think he/she has a group of friends he/she knows who happen to read my blog, not some group of people with extreme political or religious ideology who'd sworn to mug me when I wrote something offensive to them.

If I got the quote right, the e-mail said that I've lost my charm as a writer and need to do something if I don't want my readership to suffer in number.

Fair enough, my doors are open to any comments, critics or feedback alike, and I am more than happy to listen and I've said millions of times that things should be reciprocal - so I should have my say as well.

Let me first start by laughing off the fact that I have writer's charm. Ha ha that is schmaltzy, mentioning it even in a slam letter that is.

I like to write, maybe it is just my nature who love to teach and tell stories. I always find ways to make things clear to other people.

Because all the time, I am stupid and eager to know what I do not know, and often disappoint myself to find no one to guide me. 

As a human being, I hold responsibility (or I choose) not only to live my life, but to guide other people's life as well - hence my jottings and opinions are my hope of lessons to be learned not just by myself, but people reading it as well.

Most importantly, it is for my own satisfaction - my own dick, as I used to coin it.

And number two, if no one bothers to read my blog, I don't feel sorry at all for it is their choice, and as much as they have the right not to read mine, I reserve my rights to keep on doing what I am passionate in.

I strongly belief that in whatever you do, things will go wrong if you do it to impress others but yourself. 

Usually, if you write to impress, you will get knackered in the middle of doing it and will leave your blog un-updated if you find your plan is not going your way. This is just an assertation based on my observation, surely no empirical data to support this.

But at the end of the day, the ball is in your court, you make the deal - the same thing I told my friends who wants to do something in their life, not just in writing.

I am sorry to say this but jikalau penulisan aku nampak bodoh, jangan ingat aku pura-pura menjadi bodoh. Mungkin aku memang bodoh.

I just want to respect the context of the discourse, hence the abrupt Malay phrase.

I am sorry if I disappoint any of you. Maybe I am not the guy you think I am.

But it is good to know that there are people who care about where I stand and seek for ways to make me a better person, and more subtly to make me think on ways to be a better person. Therefore, many thanks for that, mate.

I bet the reader is reading my e-mail and the post I think I wrote when the reader used to like me. 

posted by Izham Ismail at 1:50 am | Permalink | 11 comments
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Banter With Nicola Hayton

So, you've got yourself pissed off. 

Without knowing it, you are already playing the game they know you won't win, but they love to see you how you play it. 

They just love to see you lose.

Within minutes, your dictionary of profanities dries up. 

Now you struggle to be creative, you struggle to come up with something intelligent.

They just love to see you struggle.

Your creativity is a bane - they want you to believe that.

You start to get more upset, you retaliate in the way they want you to react.

You think you have won the battle.

They are laughing now, for you are the biggest loser of all.

Punch harder, the thing you wish you did.

Witholdeth from anger, the thing you couldn't.

Now He abandons you, 

Because you got yourself pissed off.

Poor you. Poor you. Poor you.

This is what you get when you chose them over Him.

posted by Izham Ismail at 12:08 am | Permalink | 2 comments
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Rahmat Bahagia, Tuhan Kurniakan
Seberang-menyeberang rumah habis rata,
Apinya cemerlang, tiada membuka mata,
Bunyinya gempar terlalulah gempita,
Lemahlah tulang sendi anggota.

- Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir.

The week before last, I did something big for my country. No, I didn’t win any gold medal No, I didn’t break any sporting records or any stupid records; but I did something that enough to make me smile all week.

I told my friends a story.

‘Friends’ might be an overstatement, they are more of colleague that is. You see, being one of few people who are not white and speak different accent need me to work harder if I want to survive socially.

And if I even managed to deal with that, I have to work on my bizarre sense of humor and offbeat personality to hook for some more. Maybe that is why I have many friends, but few good and closed ones.

It is worth noted that Facebook is certainly not a way to see how well I am doing socially, while it boast itself as the number one social-networking site. If my calculation is right, Facebook is a no exception to fit in and resign in the nasty social-networking site short product life cycle.

We’ll talk about it later. I promise.

Little we knew that our group assignment would be so unexciting that we literally had to drag ourselves in putting our medically trained mind on those monotonous medical papers. Don’t get me wrong, we still love what we are doing, but as the saying has it, too much of things will fuck you up big time.

Your body will manifest in assortment and multiplicity of ways to say that you’ve had enough of doing work. It will start with the most obvious, you will get tired and your mind will divert itself automatically to think to non-educational stuff and starts to reject any exam materials.

You will think on things that will make you feel more satisfying.

A guy across the table started to think about boozing himself up after we are done with acute liver disease. Another started to whine on how hungry he is. A girl next to me just couldn’t be bothered with whatever on the table and started to think which route to take and what snack to buy from which shop on her way back. A guy on my right was half asleep and was spinning my pencil. Another girl was playing with her hair and asked me to have sex with her. You should know whether I was joking or not about the last bit.

They just love to think out loud. That is why I know.

That is when I kicked in, and they were all alive again.

I taught them Bahasa Melayu.

The story? 'Girlfriend Gua'.


And just yesteday, one of them greeted me with something to remind me of home –

Apa cer?

posted by Izham Ismail at 7:33 pm | Permalink | 2 comments