The Rio Olympics has finally ended.
It has become another year where many legends and history was created.
I believe that Malaysia is one of the nation that has created history. The Malaysian athletes has performed way better compared to the previous years.
Malaysia won its first medal in cycling.
Malaysia won it first silver medal in diving.
For the first time Malaysia won more than one silver medal in badminton.
And in this Rio Olympics, Malaysian athletes won the most ever medals. The medals that they have brought home to the nation are almost half of the total medals that Malaysian athletes have won since the nation participated Olympics in 1964.
We may not have won the first in the Games, but we have achieved many ‘firsts’ in our own nation’s history.
Despite the major improvements that we witness of our Malaysian sportspeople, there are many who still criticizes them. For not winning a gold medal. For losing out to their competitors. The worst is there are Malaysians that hope our athlete doesn’t win a gold medal so that the current Government wouldn’t be able to claim credit for it.
These people who have criticized the Malaysian athletes so much are definitely against the spirit of sportsmanship.
Many forgot or didn’t even know that Olympics aren’t only about winning the gold medal. If one understands the Olympic motto, ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’; Latin words that means “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. The founder of International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin has expressed his ideals that: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
It basically means that the athletes have to compete with the spirit of Olympics which is to keep improving themselves, scoring better results. Just as many motivational speakers or writers that has kept on focusing on focusing on self improvement rather than comparing oneself to others.
After all, the Olympic motto does not mean “Gold, Silver, Bronze”.
Again, this Olympics and I am pretty sure it is probably one of the most united periods for all Malaysians. I was having a meeting during the Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong played in the badminton men’s doubles final. When Datuk Lee Chong Wei played against Lin Dan, I was in the middle of a discussion and during the final, I was in an official dinner. In the meeting and discussion, we stopped what we were doing and watched the game before we continue. In the dinner, the emcee kept updating the results to the crowd.
Whether it is public live screenings, mamak stalls, restaurants or just simply watching at home; there are so many Malaysians who stopped what they were doing and cheered for the Malaysian team.
At that moment of time, true Malaysians don’t care whether the athlete is Malay, Chinese, Indian or any other race. We don’t care which state are they from. All that we care is Malaysia to perform in the Olympics.
There are even people that don’t know about the sport, joined to cheer for Malaysia.
It is sad though that some irresponsible politicians tried to politicize sports in this precious time when we could have used it to keep on uniting Malaysians.
One Member of Parliament from Penang complaining how RTM have didn’t screen the live game of the badminton mixed doubles finals; when little that he know that as a matter of fact the game was delayed in Rio. And one of his comrades has tried to play the racial issue of the Malaysian athletes.
Putting aside all these irresponsible people, I believe all Malaysians are proud of our athletes. Despite not winning a gold medal, they have proved that they lived up with the Olympic motto, ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ by improving their performance.
To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” As long as we move ourselves forward, I believe one day, the Olympic gold medal will become a reality.
Film festival is a very celebrated festival in many parts of the world, where we celebrate good filmmaking, actors and actresses through many different categories.
Malaysia, ourselves, has our very own film festival as well, which is the Malaysia Film Festival or more popularly known as the FFM (Festival Filem Malaysia).
I believe the awards, other than recognizing quality work of films by the whole production crew, is also to encourage them to keep on working harder in order to be able to compete in the international arena one day.
For the past one year, without a doubt, there are many improvements in our local film industry. It is certainly obvious with the movie Ola Bola and Jagat.
As many knows, Ola Bola is inspired by the multi-racial Malaysia football team that has qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics while Jagat is about the plight of Malaysian Indians set in the early 1990s.
Ola Bola alone has been an inspiring movie to many, stirring and touching the hearts of Malaysians at a time when many racial slurs were thrown in the public. Praises were given to the movie and its production crew by people across the board.
Watched by all races in Malaysia, breaking box office, it is probably one of the best film ever made in Malaysia as within just 18 days of its release in cinemas, the movie made more than RM12 million. It is undoubtedly a Malaysian favourite this year!
Unfortunately, the organisers of the FFM stroke a new controversy when it disqualifies Ola Bola for the Best Picture category. Instead the movie and the other popular movie, Jagat is placed under the non-Bahasa Malaysia category.
Finas explained that there is a rule that 70% of the movie script has to be in Bahasa Malaysia, to be eligible for the nominations.
They should have been more flexible and probably think of amending the rules. Language shouldn’t have been main criteria to judge the quality of a film.
If we were to look at Ola Bola itself, many Malaysians would have a true reflection of their lives as the movie speaks how we speak in real life. The mixture of Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil, especially the broken slang of Bahasa Malaysia by the non-Malays in the movie is how we speak every day, perhaps during that era. Imagine if everyone in the movie speaks perfect Bahasa Malaysia, it just makes no sense.
That is the beauty of our diversity. We may not speak each other’s languages perfectly, but we are still able to communicate and make good friends with each other.
Sarcastically, if the organisers insists that it should be divided into Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa Malaysia category, maybe the FFM should be led by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka the next round to ensure the usage of good Bahasa Malaysia.
A movie about Malaysia and Malaysians, produced and acted by Malaysians, are deemed not Malaysian enough?
Malaysians are tired of politics and religion that has been used to divide ourselves. Arts, movie and sports are probably one of the few things left to unite us.
The whole nation cheered together when our nation’s football team competes in the tournaments. There’s never only a single race that cheered for Dato’ Lee Chong Wei in badminton competitions, all races cheered for him.
Every single Chinese in Malaysia cheered and is so proud of Shila Amzah, the Malay singer who made it big in China by singing Mandarin songs and winning a competition in Shanghai. I bet when the Malaysian Chinese meets Chinese from other countries, we would have trashed talk them.
Ola Bola is a truly Malaysian art, a movie about sports that has united Malaysians. Instead of leveraging it to keep us united even more, the FFM is trying to divide?
When we were so hunger of unity, when we were so in need of unity; then the film industry tries to segregates us even more?
I remember and have loved a quote in the Ola Bola movie, “Kita menang sama-sama, kita kalah pun sama-sama”. The quote has inspired and gives me hope of a seeing a really united Malaysia. Let us, Malaysians keep hanging on the quote and make it a life reminder. I hope the FFM would make changes so that we can really see hope of unity.
This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 12th August 2016.
众所皆知，《Ola Bola》 的灵感来自踢入1980年莫斯科奥运会的马来西亚多元种族足球队 ，而《Jagat》 是马来西亚印度人在1990年代初所面对的困境。