It was the 1998 commonwealth games.
#Malaysia played host to the games that year which coincidentally took place very near to where i lived.
While all the euphoria was happening. One of the greatest achievements of our Malaysian athletes was unfolding before us. Our mens hockey team was advancing ahead.
On 17 September 1998, Malaysia beat Canada 2-1 to top Pool B and head into the quarter finals. Malaysians started flooding every single game thereafter and it was entirely impossible to get tickets.
We had been trying to get tickets but couldn't get a single one.
And then on 19 September, Malaysia beat one of the top favourites that year India 1-0, in the Semi Finals to advance to the Finals. the country erupted with euphoria.
And somehow we finally got tickets to the final match on Sunday, 20th September 1998 where Malaysia was to meet Australia. And we were a big group of Indians, friends of friends, i think about 20 of us.
All of us were carrying the Malaysian flag and were one boisterous bunch. Somehow we ended up sitting right behind the Australian teams side bench and there we were waving our Malaysian flag and chanting Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia non stop!!!
We were so loud, the Australian team kept looking at us on and off while waiting for the game to start, and we sheepishly smiled and waved back.
The stadium was flooded with hysterical fans, with groups sporting the kompang* and playing their hearts out, riling us fans even further. We were there to support our team, our Malaysians who had done the unimaginable to reach the finals of the coveted Commenwealth games. The whole stadium was filled with Malaysians that day.
Alas the gold was not ours to be. We actually got thrashed by Australia 4 - 0.
I remember the first time Australia scored, we were all still hopeful, cheering the team on. We were thinking its ok just one goal. When the second goal went in, some of us were still hopeful. But by the time the third goal entered, the stadium was eerie and we were slumped in our chairs. most of the spectators started leaving. Our group continued to stay on. By the time the fourth goal went in, most spectators had left. we decided to stay on and cheer them on during the medal giveaway.
Our boys had come far, they were not even on our list of hopeful medal tallys. How could we abandon them now just for losing the final game? THEY still won us the SILVER!!!!
But of course spectators will be just that. We on the other hand were fans.
When the Malaysia team took the podium to receive the silver medal. We loudly cheered them on, standing on our feet and clapping as hard as possible as we were the few remaining people in the stadium. And our voices reached them and all the teams turned to look back at us.
Of course there's always one crazy guy in the group. That was when one guy decided to scream at the top of his lungs - "I love you (a players name, can't remember who) can I have your shirt, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
We practically scrambled to sit down at that point from embarrassment. Anyway to the 1998 Commenwealth games Malaysian Hockey Team - that was us.
The reason I'm writing this today is coz this morning we woke up to the amazing news that our Mixed badminton doubles team just advanced to the Olympics finals after Chan Peng Soon - Goh Yiu Ling beat the team from China.
They will face Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir in Wednesdays final.
This is a historic moment for us as they have already won us a confirmed first medal in the mixed doubles category in badminton. To me THEY are already winners and we can only get further from here. All you need to do is give them your undying support no matter what happens on Wednesday.
Whether Malaysian wins its first ever Olympic gold doesn't matter, what we as MALAYSIANS do matters.
Don't walk away, don't boo them, don't put them down with words anywhere. Give them your support. Stand up and clap, raise the Jalur Gemilang and wave it proudly.
Regardless of what happens, Chan Peng Soon - Goh Yiu Ling are already our winning heroes.
I have no doubt we will celebrate this together somewhere, in a mamak or at wherever they show this game. But i need you to not leave the arena, no matter what happens.
Be FANS and not SPECTATORS.
So tell me Malaysians, are you FANS or SPECTATORS?
kompang - malay drum
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