Ha ha I am not displaying symptoms of metamorphosis here. After all, I was proud of my kapal layar track record, proud that I earned points for my house in cross country manning the check points (don’t have to run, get points AND got to watch all the jambus sweat their guts out to qualify ha ha) or taking the cab home when I was far behind walking.
However I do think about the question of sports once in a while – or how pitiful our sporting achievements have been. While walking with Fazurin up and down Bukit Antarabangsa (ha ha expect me to get back to that topic repeatedly), the sad state of Malaysia’s sporting achievement featured prominently in our conversation (maybe to make me believe that I was beginning to lead a healthy and sporty life style after all ha ha). To quote Fazurin – “Trinidad and Tobaga is hardly a nation, made up of two tiny islands compared to the 26 million people of Malaysia”.
(before I send people packing to the mosque yet again for fear of tanda-tanda kecil Kiamat – first the exercising routine, now talking about sports – I better get straight to the points)
I wonder whether Azalina the Minister, or her officers and advisors, see the potential of sports to tackle the no. 1 problem of the country (and the Malays) – drug. One can argue that the problem can be solved at source i.e. cut the supply of drugs into the country through strict laws. Unfortunately we do have one of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world (if not the strictest), but each year enrolment into Pusat Serenti keeps increasing.
On the other hand, we invest billions in sporting facilities but until now cannot produce any sporting achievement that we can be proud of AND sustainable.
Why can’t we merge the strategies for both and kill two birds with one stone?
I was going through my correspondence with the kids we coach in MCKK and their correspondence to me – it strikes me of how easy for us to influence and change them over the years. I was astonished at the change in character of some of the debaters, when initially they resisted fiercely our attempts to establish our roles as coaches.
But that’s where the beauty of that age (adolescence) is – they are innocent and open minded. Give them a purpose, make them single-minded about that purpose and prove to them that you care; you can push them to the limits and sometimes even breach that limits.
This is where, in my opinion, sports has the huge potential to counter the influence of drugs among our youths. Why can’t we invest in comprehensive sporting programs at the grass root level, to provide a focus and direction for the kids through sports? Those who have good future to begin with (clever ones or those from middle class families) are unlikely to get involved in drugs; it is those working class Malays who are most exposed.
I don’t have research data to back my belief but it is very likely that a lack of direction – of sense of moving forward, of belief in having a future – plays significant role in luring these youths to get involved with drugs.
But if you keep their mind to something they can relate to, something that builds their confidence that there are areas which they can excel in life (even if they can’t go far academically) – and let a devoted professional carry this job whole-heartedly, maybe we can save a few thousands Malay youths each year.
Of course we need bigger budget to roll out district level sporting clubs for youths, to pay for full time qualified coaches to nurture these kids, determination on the policy makers etc. – but surely the lives of a few thousands kids that may have been involved in drugs are worth every penny?
But then again, too much idealism and romanticism is not a good combination.
It’s worth a thought though, don’t you think?