But as a matter of records, it has to be done, so here it is.
The season for MCKK’s hockey team for 2009 began as early as November 2008 with the Mighty Ducks Cup (Closed MCKK Hockey Tournament in Manjung). We use the tournament to look out for good junior players and team planning for the next season.
3 WEEKS AGO: ANNUAL CAMPING
It has become customary that we start a season with a camping – the purpose of which can be argued until the cows go home.
We started the camping as a team building for the boys and us. We hardly know each other and spending a good weekend doing fun physical activities, cooking and fooling around can do the magic trick. Then you hit a snag – more often than not the kids annoy you with the little things that you thought were out of line or unbecoming of a Malay College boy that you picture in your mind.
So the camping evolves into a mini discipline camp – you began to lay down the ground rules and taught them the kind of stuff that we were subjected to. I will not say that I enjoyed many of the grilling and physical endurance that we were subjected to when we were 13 and 14 year olds – but I will not deny that it did build the character. It made us into the annoying particular people that we are, a perfectionist in many things that we want to do because we were disciplined to be a perfectionist.
Of course all did not turn out well instantly. The camping in 2008 was ended with a series of shouting and threats, with the boys standing in the middle of the rain soaking wet staring into the nothingness as we blurted out every complaint that we had of their behaviours. I would imagine that it must have been the most annoying treatment any boys at that age would have to go through.
By the 3rd instalment this year (16th – 18th January 2009) I thought it got better. The fondness that we have for the team is a lot stronger now (even if we do not have a fondness for any particular person, save Mpro with his obsession with anything dark and tanned!) so it’s a lot easier to approach the camping – it is like spending time with family, rather than a chore for a project that you have to deliver.
The planning was swift – apart from the uneasy feeling about the thriftiness that we wanted to inject into the camping (and the chicken/rabbit part), every other modules was concluded and agreed in one short meeting in Shah Alam (which we doubled as Ja’s reunion as well).
After 2 years, we can feel the financial strain already. At the last count, we are spending RM2,000 a month on the travelling alone. The basic equipments that we have to provide to the teams (pad, balls, jerseys etc.) go up beyond RM5,000 a year. Usually we spend at least RM3,000 per tournament on food, logistics and sometimes their accommodation too. With the economic recession setting in and one of us is already out of employment (ha ha by choice I may add!), the prospect of the financial commitment needed to sustain this is overwhelming given that we oruselves are struggling to make ends meet – not so much for the sheer size; but more of the guilt that we are spending way too much on a bunch of kids unrelated to us, when we count every cent for us and our family (sigh – somehow it’s very difficult to get rid of this guilty feeling).
So, given my reputation as a big spender (since I am still single and I “buy” the trust with the kids ha ha) – obviously the decision on what to spend this time around was taken away from me.
Unfortunately it was passed to Wong.
Wong prohibited cili boh because he considered it expensive (RM1.50 sebungkus maaaa!), so the boys were only given cili kering. Owh, and the rationing for nasi goreng Wong Fei Hong – only a few pieces of bawang, kicap no frills TESCO, garam, gula, a few ciling kering and sebijik telor. Sebijik telor for nasi goreng yang dimasak untuk 50 orang! Ha ha the funny thing was despite that, the boys actually finished that nasi goreng (boys will always be boys).
Throughout the camping, the boys were only allowed 30 eggs – so you can imagine Wong's whining when behind his back I allowed the boys to use 10 eggs for bihun ha ha. Chicken or any meat was banned throughout except for the performance night when the boys had a small scale BBQ (unlike last year’s).
The worst type of rationing was the breakfast on the last day – it was a simple porridge to finish whatever was left over (nothing much left over pun!) i.e. bubur nasi dengan kicap and bawang; and Wong had the audacity to call that bubur lambuk when he presented it to the boys. And yeap – they finished that one too!
The irony was, despite worse food than what they find in the Dining Hall, I felt the boys enjoyed it a lot more.
(Before the other Bapak Itiks claim credit for their cooking instruction, I must give this disclaimer).
I think by the third year we have gone beyond food and the leisure of things. To a certain extent, the senior boys already understand and appreciate the trials and tribulations that we have to go through, that we are not rich old boys who can give them money and buy them luxury. It is like as you grow up, you understand your parents’ hardship to raise you and you appreciate the little things a lot more.
Wong was also adamant about teaching the boys to slaughter chickens. All of us were very sceptical especially with his initial idea of giving a chicken to each group to look after, then to sneak at night to try to steal the chicken and to punish the teams that lose their pet chickens, then on the next day to ask the boys to slaughter their pet chickens that they have looked after for weekend for the BBQ! (Idea-idea bernas Wan Azman Wan Mahmud!).
We tried many things to dissuade him, including to convince him that we would not find chickens given the time. I am reminded of Awie’s advice when it comes to arguing with Wong – “jangan argue dengan dia, lagi kau argue lagi dia rasa dia betul”.
“Kalu kite tak jumpa ayam kampung, kita pakai arnab laaaaa….”
So we had to back down there, the choice of the lesser of two evils (sembelih pet ayam kampung and sembelih pet rabbit), I’ll go for the former anytime.
In the early parts of the weekend, there were moments that Wong suddenly went missing. I didn’t notice until Epit came whispering “kau perasan tak Wong tak de? Dia pi cari ayam la tu….”
And so, on Saturday afternoon, suddenly he came back grinning and announced to all of us there – “aku juppe doh ayang……”
On this note, I was once enquired by an old boy from the Class of 2000 on why we still hold on to this supposedly “archaic” way of disciplining boys, which in his opinion did more harm than good.
I guess it was that “archaic” way drilled on us when we were young that made us return to MCKK without fail fortnightly – so it must have been quite effective. If it takes that “archaic” way to make sure that the present boys will one day honour their debt to the school and return to do what we are doing today – I’ll be more than glad to do it every year.
All in all, the camping for 2009 was the most effective, enriching and fun – for us and the kids. We managed to cramp in a performance night – although I was not there as I had to shuttle between training the debaters and the hockey boys, I was told that the boys put up a splendid performance given the time constraint that they had. We managed to have a post mortem after the 2nd day from 2 am – 4 am (sapa lah punya idea buat post mortem macam ni); we even discussed the financial planning for the team with the boys on the last day.
But I guess the best part for all was the pertandingan kuda air (ni Wong and Epit’s idea, aku tak tahu nak panggil apa) – first between the boys; then between Bapak and Anak Itik. I was told that Anak Itik won the fight because the unemployed referee (Joe) was bought over (long before BN bought over the 3 ADUNs ha ha) – as much as I missed the fun, I was glad I wasn’t there because there were many who would have liked to “meng-kuda-kan aku” on that day.
Anyway the video (for the boys’ match) should say it all (be grateful that you are spared a wet t-shirt show by the really flabby and fat people)!
We parted on good terms, the boys looked so happy and couldn’t stop waving good bye when the old boys were leaving. One of the best camps we had ever organised, no doubt.
Bapak2 Itiks who joined: Badut, Chamat, Epit, Mpro, Wong, Idzam, Joe, KNO, Chibiok and Jita (itik import).
Ha ha the team was on the verge of breaking apart - because of the simple issue of whether we had gone too far to pamper the boys. There were 2 school of thoughts (obviously): one who felt that we must retract a bit; the other who felt that we must maintain a certain standard regardless of the budget cut (you can guess which camp I belong to – perhaps the only one in the camp ha ha!)
In the heat of the moments, there were things said and done that if we had not put the interest of the kids first and foremost, it could have been that the whole endeavour would have collapsed.
The excerpts of some of the emails (edited) that were flying around shall serve as a reminder, in all its fondness, of how close Mighty Ducks has been to our hearts, when we reflect in future years. You do not argue this much unless it is for something so important to you:
"joe said that in jest kot.
beginilah, let i be honest. aku paham benar apa yg ko tulih ni. cumanya when we discussed in kat Tapah itu hari, we (I?) felt that u are/will be spending way too much on this. like the rest of us, you also have other matter to attend to. ko pun ada life juga kan - rumah, kereta, marriage one day, etc. walaupun admittedly, financially u r doing better than most of us, one fact that we are certain is that your pocket is not a bottomless pit. kami takut due to your degree of attachment to the kids, your objectivity is lost in the process (tapi bukanla nak kata u r not objective at all).
so we decided as friends we need to higlight that to you. but having said that, it's your rezeki anyway. it will always be your call.”
“i am not in the habit of writing long emails
but since the silence is deafening
and i do not like matters unresolved
so i will start
i am not questioning anyone's objectivity
and neither am i abt to start doing so
when we started, we all had the same objectives
and i think the objectives have remained the same
thus the intent of everyone contributing in his way, i believe, is aligned with the objectives and we all contribute in whatever way we can
if we cant get past something like this, then perhaps we are done
we do jerry springer for the kids
but the truth is we prolly need one ourselves (and i do not mean this in jest)
i am not one for drama, and i am not one for threats
if we decide we dont want to go forward, then we dont
and no XXX, i wont take your rm5(spacebar)k to buy stuff we dont collectively agree to"
“Aku jolok buah kelapa ker…???”
“fine, let's have our own jerry springer..
here's my beef..
i know XXXXXX has contributed a lot, monetarily, emotionally, and what-nots..i won't deny that..
yet at the same time, some of us (could be just aku and epit je, I don't know.. i can't talk for the others) are concerned with the kind of money being spent on the kids.. sure, it's a project that needed copious amount of money.. travelling, equipment, food etc.. there are times when i feel that we're over pampering the kids.. especially on the jerseys, hockey sticks and most probably the new goalie pads..
we may want to equate with wanting to give the best there is for the kids, serupa macam orang lain cuba buat untuk anak masing2.. i won't deny that.. aku pun kalau ikut hati, nak je bagi anak aku macam2 benda, as long as they're happy... but to what extent? sampai anak2 aku jadi manja and lemau? there are times aku reward them, and at other times, ada masa perlu aku punish diorang..
but just because i proposed a different idea on the jerseys or the brand and used/new type of goalie padding, that doesn't mean aku memperlekehkan effort.. i wanted the kids to be instilled with the value of money, similar to what i'm trying to do with my kids.. good stuff doesn't have to be expensive, brands are relative, nak2 bila ada someone else yg mulia hati and ikhlas nak provide duit in the first place.. kot kalau pakai duit sendiri, lantak pi la nak beli brand apa pun.. kot nak pakai prada or LG t-shirt buat main masa game, it's not for me to stop anyone of you from doing so..
“Have spoken to Epit and clarified many things; as the emails were coming from Joe and Wong.
1) I apologized for the outburst – I think it was due to misunderstanding and Epit’s email with the word “objectivity”. I consider it as a protest against my objectivity and therefore against my judgment (which being a dictator as I am, will find it difficult to accept), while on your part it’s purely a concern on the amount of money spent on the kids. Noted and I apologise for the misunderstanding.
2) From the discussion with Epit, we concluded that I read too much between the lines and deduce too many things. On the other hand, Epit should never have used the word “attachment” and “objectivity” – that’s a very lethal combination.
3) I have also clarified why I wanted to maintain a certain standard – as much as we have to be frugal, we need to maintain a certain standard lest we undo all the work we do during the camping etc. I also agree with Joe that brand is relative and it doesn’t have to be a certain brand to maintain a certain standard.
4) Being an accountant, I see everything in relative cost-benefit – yes, buying a more expensive brand costs more, yet if the additional amount is equivalent to the spending for one lunch for the boys (one lunch is about RM200, I think the saving by downgrading the jersey is only around RM400 – RM500 so it’s about 2 lunches for the kids); I thought we should consider investing the extra RM400 – RM500.
5) Having said that, I totally agree that we should buy XXXX at a cheaper cost.
6) On the jerseys that have gone missing all this while, yes I was frustrated and I appreciate your concern. But being an accountant too (no wonder TNB hates Che Khalib), it is an investment write off because I made the mistake of trusting the boys too much. We have learnt from that mistake and from the ruling that the boys will not keep the jerseys, hopefully it will not be repeated.
7) I was slighted because I got the impression that you think I cannot think straight when it comes to the boys. I do what I do because someone has got to do that work. But I have clarified this with Epit – I will conclude that I am just being paranoid, so we’ll leave this at that.
8) It’s not that I want to spend money on the kids – I myself lead a very frugal life. But we don’t have a choice, it’s either we spend or we go with a begging bowl. I never expected any one of you to fork out that money; so if you are in my position, what choice do I have? I will be utterly irresponsible if I just leave it hanging and expect everything to sort things out by itself. Yes it’s a lot of money – that means we just have to work harder to get the money back. Along the way I hope the boys will learn a thing or two about value of money, the way we want them to be. I thought it was unfair that on one hand none of you offered any financial solution, on the other hand it was implied that I cannot make good judgment about spending. But as Epit said – it was a misunderstanding.
9) I did not mean to threaten – it was a fundamental issue of trust (so I thought). From my perspective, if people can no longer trust my judgment because I was not objective, then I cannot work for the team anymore. My understanding was you guys will go ahead and carry on, someone has to take over my role.
10) I appreciate everyone’s fondness and commitment – I think I have thanked anyone enough where possible. I also never compared anyone’s commitment because to each is our own, and we’ll do whatever is in our means.
11) All in all, it has been a misunderstanding and let’s leave it where it should be – misunderstood.
12) We shall move on after this – but please be sensitive with your comments. I am particular to the dots and lines, I may read between the lines and I pay a lot of attention to body language etc. And I am temperamental – all traits are explosive when they come together.
This is what will happen afterwards:
1) I will transfer money to Idzam for the keeper’s pad
2) I hope Chamat had ordered the jerseys, once you receive it please pass to me to do the stitching and printing
3) I will get Cikgu Safaliza to re-book the turf date
4) I still need the confirmation of hockey coaches of who will go on what date
5) Someone should forward all this to Mpro.
So all is good – put it this way, it’s the necessary DRAMA that we need since the last camping didn’t have any drama.
We can talk about SPACE BAR again now.”
And so, with that issue resolved, we moved on to the first proper training of the 2009 season.
LAST WEEKEND: SPANKING NEW TURF AND FRIENDLY MATCH WITH MCOBA TEAM
All went well (of course I had an earful of lectures from Chibiok and Joe until 4 am about how the boys need to be straightened up). We started at 2 pm on Saturday – it was a deal we made with the boys i.e. we sacrificed our weekends and they would their Saturday outing. On Sunday from 3 pm – 6 pm, the training was done at the new hockey turf in Bukit Chandan (within the compound of the newly opened Kolej Islam Darul Ridzwan).
MCOBA Team came all the way from KL – thanks to Boyot 87 (am I correct?), KE 92, Athen 96, Opeq 96 and many other juniors I did not recognise.
More touching was the fact that Thorsten Hiedelberg, the German hockey coach who had wanted to coach the boys all along; came on his own to see the boys. We did not have the heart to bring him before, despite his repeated request and persuasion, because we thought that there were so many things need fixing that the boys wouldn’t have been ready for him.
The boys defeated MCOBA Team 3-2, leading all the way at 3-0 until the final quarter. Not bad, at least they scored (remember, they were once dubbed Raja Seri for their inability to score!).
There will be a fortnightly training, with a fitness training spaced every other week (when Chamat or Wong can make it). All in all, they will be seeing us almost each week between now and May 2009.
Whether they will win or not, improve or not – it’s in their hands now. We have given our best and there’s nothing more that we can offer them.
I just hope they will make full use of this opportunity – and one day people will remember that the hockey boys are always the decent bunch of kids who remember the due they owe to the people after them. Long after we have called it a day.
ps: Ni bila tak de apa nak blog ni, kalau banyak nak blog buat thesis la.... [pesanan dari Awie]