There are so many things that are worth writing that I don’t know where to begin. I had wanted to take a bit longer to structure my thoughts but that kind of deadline may get this blog being struck off from KNO’s listing (kesian aku demam2 kena tulis blog)
But let’s start with the most important part (which usually is relegated to the bottom) – the thank you note.
This entry (which I suspect will be very long) is dedicated first and foremost to the beloved wives and children whose understanding had made it possible all along for a bunch of common people to touch people’s lives in ways that we could not even imagine when we conceived the idea about two years ago. For their empathy that the regular Joes (that is us, the Bapak Itiks) also need some fulfilment in our lives that goes beyond our immediate selfish interest to appreciate the greater meaning of life – to feel that we have made a difference albeit a very minute one.
The list shall be as follows:
To Ruby – for allowing Mpro to come all the way from Melaka (and punching a big hole in his lung along the way from the non-stop smoking so I was told) despite the difficulties
To Aily – for the understanding that it is a journey that Epit wants to be a part of (ha ha taichi balik kat Epit); and the offer to host the next MigDuck’s meeting
To Ayu – for the support (to the point that Idzam could leave for a tournament on your child’s birthday) and the sandwich to keep the Big Boys awake throughout the journey
To Rohaida – for all the attendance to the games (when possible) and for waking up to keep the Big Boys in company on the way to Manjung
To Red – for the obsession with the kids (maybe more than our own obsession) and the cupcakes that brought joy to the boys (both Big and small ha ha)
To all the wives and children who understand all along that this is an escape from the harsh reality of life that all of us need once in a while, to recharge and remember what innocence means when we were all young.
[Dengan dedikasi panjang lebar ini, saya sebagai Penyimpan Mohor Besar meminta kebenaran bagi pihak suami-suami sekalian untuk menyertai program perkhemahan/team building tahunan yang akan diadakan dalam bulan Januari 2009 ini. He he].
Secondly, the dedication goes to all the Bapak2 Itik for the journey. It was not the joke, not the food, not that everything was so well executed to the precise way we wanted it, nor the spontaneity of chemistry that reminds us what a wonderful 18 years it has been that made last weekend so special. It is the realisation that this journey has brought us so close together so much so that we just know there will be someone who will catch us when we fall. It’s the unconditional trust and openness which I cannot quantify or describe here. You just have to be a part of the Bapak2 Itik to understand how far we have come as friends through this journey – the mutual love and respect we develop for each other; through the mutual love we channel to a bunch of kids we picked up.
[Dengan dedikasi panjang lebar versi kedua ini, bolehlah kita mula bekerja kembali untuk program seterusnya. He he]
Now let’s get to the details.
We’ll start with the drama.
“… kalau tak de drama, bukan Mighty Ducks la tu namanya..”
Dramanya makin bertambah dari tahun ke tahun.
Thank God I was too busy with office that I missed some of the drama only to notice once I go through our mailing list – but by that time all had been solved so there was one less drama of my panicking unnecessarily.
Most of the drama started around 28/29 October (biasa la last minute planning).
Oct 29, 230 pm:
“aku tak mau sibuk urusan teknikal - tapi bola ada kah? takut terlupa yang paling penting.”
Oct 29, 545 pm:
“badut ko ada match ball tak ? saper ader weiiiii”
Oct 29, 546 pm:
“nanti aku beli....”
Tapi dalam sibuk-sibuk dok remind pasal bola, and walaupun Badut dah berjanji nak beli match ball – entah macam mana Janji Tinggal Janji. Bersusah payah lah team logistic mencari match ball di Manjung, nasib baik ada kedai ala-ala Sin Wah KK yang jual match ball and belum tutup untuk sembahyang Jumaat.
Episod seterusnya, juga melibatkan Badut.
Oct 30, 932 am:
“guys aku ada berita buruk......... first and foremost....
1) Piala aku tak jumpa....tak mana aku letak kat mana ....dah cari merata-rata but will keep on searching...ada back up plan tak?
2) Mana chibix?..dia pegi tak?”
Oct 30, 941 am:
“Sdr PTD hafiznizam, boleh usha kat Alamanda?”
Oct 30, 1046 am:
“kejap lagi aku pegi - aku belasah jugak badut ni karang...”
Maka kelam-kabutlah si Epit mencari cup yang baru dengan budget yang sangat terhad, kerana cup last year Badut dah hilangkan!
Malam tu team logistic (Epit, Mpro, Idzam, Pak Tuan and Chibiok, team technical yang menumpang) plan nak bertolak. Mpro bertolak dari Melaka around 8-ish and was supposed to pick Epit, Idzam, Chibiok and Pak Tuan along the way.
Little that they know somewhere in KLCC another drama was about to unfold.
Oct 30, 1916 SMS:
“Salam..Abg raf nie arip.. Abg raf siang td kitaowg anta list name lmbt sket kt ckg.. So ckg ckp maybe program nie xleh wat kt manjung n mayb bwat kt k.K.. Lg 1 kalo bley bwat kt manjung pown, mayb postp0ne coz nk mintak kt PPD dlm mase 2 arie nie dh xsempat k0t.. (-,-)”
As you can expect, I picked up the phone and made full use of the crappy weeks at the office to muster the worst and pugnacious outburst (so far) to the poor teacher, who was just a messenger. In no uncertain term – the message was clear. Since this was repeating a wee bit too frequently lately, I could no longer justify the purpose of the whole project to my colleagues. If the boys were not going to be in Manjung 9 am the next morning, consider it the last time my group will ever lend any assistance to any MCKK team.
It was a big decision (and threat) to make – because there was more at stake than the Mighty Ducks project. If the relationship sours with the school because of this, I will have to say goodbye to the debaters and some other programs I conduct annually at MCKK. The thought of making the decision without consulting others brought about some sense of guilt initially, yet I thought we had to put our foot down.
Oct 30, 1958 SMS:
“Well itu decision koleq. Aku dh ckp kat cikgu XXXX, kalau x jd or postpone kitorng semua give up ngn koleq. X de mighty ducks project dah lepas ni. Kitorng dh x balik. Tiap2 tahun mcm ni last year pun aku kena maki hamun jugak”
But we were saved by the act of one teacher, who was bold enough to go the extra mile to make sure that Mighty Ducks Cup did take place. When in normal circumstances, some other teachers (given the harsh words over the phone that I threw) would just leave it at that and dealt a death blow to the project, this one particular teacher took personal initiative to call the HM, explained the situation and in the wee hours arranged for a bus to take the boys to Manjung.
By 11+ pm I called him to receive the good news.
Meanwhile, unknown to me Badut (who was the first I updated at around 8+) had been calling everyone else to inform of the bad news (except Mpro who was already on the way from Melaka) and to ‘plot’. I guess Badut was not convinced that I would have the heart to quit on the boys when we gather to decide what to do if the program was cancelled, so he called everyone to “fix” the vote ha ha.
(Each time they want to do something drastic, they would gang up behind my back to present a unified stand when we take a vote. I wonder whether that was the case when we voted for “Most Handsome Player” the other day ha ha)
Fortunately we didn’t have to go through any of that because by 11 pm it was back to normal and all the threats came to nothing. But we were an inch from stopping the project last Thursday.
Idzam had a drama on his own. The banner was supposed to be ready by 6 pm on 30 October – but around 5 pm he received a call saying that it was impossible to get the banner done by then. After a series of curses and shouting, the shop finally reverted to the original delivery time ha ha.
By 12 midnight last Thursday, all went back to normal and Epit, Mpro, Idzam, Pak Tuan and Chibiok were having fun on the way to Manjung, while the rest of us were so looking forward to the weekend we could barely sleep.
MIGHTY DUCKS CUP
Everything was good in almost every way.
We went early to the stadium and unlike last year, there was no surprises. We had the big stadium all to ourselves. Everyone went quickly to do what was our job – putting the banner, kain rentang, PA system etc.
The boys arrived promptly as well – ha ha maybe to avoid another shouting match, I was told the bus was definitely above speed limit all the time.
Even the boys’ games were much better than what we previously had seen. Some of us had lost hope to win any competition in the next 2-3 years, but looking at the F1s and F2s they were really good. For once we saw players who have the natural flair as a hockey player. There was this one F1 player by the name of Afi who would definitely make it to the U18 team next year and he gave us the run for our money during the testimonial match (but that doesn’t say much about us in the first place, a bunch of fat people trying to run on the field). The old boys lost 1-0 this year, a reverse of last year’s result.
The boys behaved a lot better than last year and it was easier to control them. I guess they are much closer to us now as a result of the trust builtover the last 2 years. After all we had been with them for each of their game, stayed up at the hospital when they broke their arm and did all the things we thought we were never capable of. I can confidently say that from the boys’ perspective, there is nothing that we need to prove anymore.
The games got better after the lunch, thanks to quite a heavy lunch with KFC. Things proceeded smoothly all the way to the testimonial match, in fact we had the leisure of being ahead of schedule because the boys were so efficient for each game.
Every year, when all was over, we would adjourn to a restaurant hidden somewhere along the Manjung – Teluk Intan trunk road. One of the best seafood restaurants I have been to, so we make it a point to eat there each year. And take opportunity for a post mortem too, since it will be hard to gather everyone after that.
It was also the best AGM ever. We were focused, frank and less distracted compared to before (there were jokes, muqaddimah etc but everyone got back to the topic quickly). For the first time, the unison in the opinions made and decisions reached astounded me.
There was a lot of discussion about what we should concentrate for next year. All was in agreement that as the boys had delivered their part of the bargain i.e. to behave and accept us as a part of them, we can no longer hold their behaviour against them to put off any discussion on actual technical training (which they have been clamouring all this while). Next year will see some intensive efforts to coach them on the technical skills – as I think Epit’s and my job is done. There’s very little that we could do in terms of team building after this, apart from attending to their day to day teenage’s angst (e.g. jambu tak layan, fail exam, kena kejar dengan warden etc.)
But the biggest portion of the AGM was on succession planning.
Succession planning is one of the things that really haunts us, because we cannot see us doing this beyond 2010. We all have to move on to other things by then and if we do not line up people who can take over, it will be a shame that the love, sweat and toil poured in for the last 3-4 years (by then) will go to waste.
I will not share the nitty gritty of the discussion here. Only the principles of what was discussed – because that frank discussion, was the best part of the weekend. That all of us were on the same page on why we are doing this.
We agreed that we will not pass this to anyone unless we are sure those after us will mirror the values that we hold so dear, as it is these values that we strive so hard to inculcate in the boys. In someone’s words – “we brought up these boys up in our image”. Someone else gave an analogy – “it’s like even if we are desperate for a maid, we will not go and take just any maid because it is our kid that we are talking about”.
In the end, we all agreed that we shall enjoy the journey and take it one day at a time. We are doing something good, so despite the toll it takes on our time and money, we shall not underestimate God’s intervention. Help shall come when we least expect it, so we shall not be so hung up about drawing an exit strategy. The focus should be on the boys, not on the exit strategy.
With that understanding, we headed for KL at around midnight on 1st November, after what was certainly one of the best weekends of our life this year.
I have been to many places around the world, seen many things – but nothing beats the serenity of being around the people you cherish most, doing the simplest things in life. Many people will not understand why one would rush all the way back from Europe, or China for this one little tournament – but I wouldn’t have traded it with any paid trip to anywhere in the world.
Cupcakes – Red and Badut decided to make special cupcakes for the boys, with a hockey stick and a ball design on top of the cakes. It was very sweet (the act of giving the cupcakes, not the cupcakes itself), though the cupcakes inadvertently dented Badut’s reputation further after a series of mishaps this year.
(According to Badut, the cupcakes were a replacement for the cup that he lost. But I have it on record that the cupcakes were a replacement for the cake that we brought during their Annual Dinner, since the cake was too small to feed everyone).
Chibiok’s comment: “Badut lagi teruk – aku 10 cakap 11 tak leh percaya. Badut belum cakap lagi dah tak leh percaya”
In-flight entertainment – I really didn’t know what happened in the car for the logistic team, but the rest of us had to put up with one day long of recital of dialogues from Ayat-Ayat Cinta; followed by outbursts of laughter that the rest couldn’t understand. Antara perkataan-perkataan yang selalu digunakan termasuklah rapist dan techno.
Fixtures – cubaan menggunakan Excel spreadsheet oleh 3 akauntan untuk jadual pertandingan, yang menguji kesabaran mereka yang bukan akauntan. Akhirnya spreadsheet itu tidak digunakan langsung. Tidak ada cubaan untuk menggunakan random number generator pada kali ini.
Homestay – The Chief Logistic Officer (Pak Tuan) had decided that we stay at a homestay this year – a venue of many scenes that I cannot describe here for fear of jeopardising permissions to attend future programs.
Romance – Mpro and Chibix berpegang tangan melintas jalan.
Taste masa kini – We had a tough time deciding who was the most handsome player this year. Mpro staunchly lobbied for Manram (which we took as a joke initially), my attempt to put forward either Holland or Farid was in vain. Suddenly Badut (out of nowhere) proposed Asyif – which eventually received the majority votes that day (I had a feeling Badut fixed the voting before we started). When put to a vote among the boys, Mpro’s candidate won hands down (ha ha) validating that his penchant for the tanned and tainted seems to be in synch with the flavour nowadays – it’s chocolate not vanilla (sigh).
Budget – aku kena marah dengan Pak Tuan kerana tak mahu menggunakan botol2 air kosong untuk di refill di tepi jalan. Aku ingat nak beli je air mineral baru kat Giant, malangnya Pak Tuan kecewa dengan keborosan aku dan mengambil keputusan pergi isi air sendiri kat tepi jalan.
Prize fixing – I bought a souvenir for the captain in Paris, so we had decided to give him the Best Player Award even before the game began. Unfortunately the jury disagreed as he was quite temperamental during the games and his team ended at 4th placing. So it was too obvious if the best player award still goes to him – in the end, Idzam came up with one award reminiscent of the most ridiculous award ever given in MCKK during our time: “Anugerah Sahsiah Terpuji” (originally went to Champ on 14 November 1994).
To the best of team mates in the Mighty Ducks – what is written here is not as meaningful as what is invisibly written in our life of our regards for each other, for the boys and for the project. I wish that one day when we look back as we move along in life, we realise why MCKK is so important to us – because MCKK gives us this special meaning of what it is like to be in a company of like-minded people with a unison of purpose, who would have put ourselves in the line of fire for each other.
Dramatic and cliche – yet that is exactly what Mighty Ducks was all about so far. May the coming years will be as serene as this.
Mighty Ducks Cup 2008 are:
Ketua Pengarah (KP) – Mpro
Timbalan Ketua Pengarah (TKP) – Epit
Penolong Timbalan Ketua Pengarah (PTKP), T-Shirt, Banner dan Hadiah – Idzam (and Radin)
PTKP, Logistic – Pak Tuan
PTKP, Technical – mulanya Badut, tetapi ala2 dirampas kuasa oleh Chibiok
PTKP, Sijil dan Kejohanan – KNO
PTKP, Hubungan Luar – Ruff
Penolong2 Ketua Pengarah (PKP) – Joe, Chamat, Canoe, Wong
I wrote this at a time when I am re-evaluating my life and career priorities. Looking back, without Mighty Ducks and an array of other things we do outside the normal confine of our routine life, I would have lost the will to continue so many years back. But putting a smile on the face on innocent people who do not understand yet how mean the world can be to them when they grow up – reminds us how it was back then. Because you need to earn to continue to put a smile on these boys’ faces, we wake up the next day forgetting how we wish we were dead the day before.
Photos: Epit, KNO, Facebook, Other Blogs: KNO, Mpro & Epit (video will come later)