Ola Bola! Ola Malaysia?

– TF Lee
The Malaysian Insider
21 February 2016

I watched Ola Bola and true to its reviews, it was heart warming.

I would recommend it to all Malaysians (including overseas Malaysians).

This film has set the standard for future local films with a message of unity and patriotism.

Sports does have that special effect to galvanise a nation and whether it is for 90 minutes in a football match, 70 minutes on the hockey pitch or any Thomas Cup encounters, we do stop what we are doing (or bickering) and simply support the national team.

That is the beauty of sports and probably why national sporting icons like Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David are held in such high regard.

We weep tears of joy and anguish, both in equal measure when they win or lose.

Let’s pause and think for a moment. These characters in Ola Bola depicting our real life national heroes like Soh Chin Aun, Hassan Sani, R. Arumugam and James Wong were elite national football players.

All of them would have come from different states in Malaysia and put together for centralised training for the national team.

I am pretty sure (like as shown in the movie) that they must have gone through many ups and downs before eventually securing Malaysia’s spot in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

My point here is this. Not many of us will have the opportunity to be that good in any sports to represent the national team.

The 1980 national football team had shed sweat, blood and tears to achieve such camaraderie. If unity and loyalty is our goal, all of us must start to live and play together.

And sports is the best medium to achieve this. And by saying this, our children and next generation must start to go to schools together.

I spent 11 years in a La Sallian missionary school and we had everyone from different religious backgrounds, socio-economic levels etc.

But, we played football together, we studied together and we got punished together by the teachers when we made mistakes. Such experience can never be bought my money.

Similarly during my varsity days where I got involved with the varsity tennis team, the bond and camaraderie between us still holds until today.

A single message on WhatsApp will trigger probably a day of lively and interesting conversations.

The beautiful part of it is that we comprise Malays, Chinese, Indians and also Sabahans and Sarawakians.

As I have said, these are our national legends at the top of their game and the vast majority of Malaysians will never get the chance to represent the country.

But, we can “upscale” this initiative by just doing things together as Malaysians, and what’s the best place to cultivate this culture of not in schools?

We already have Ola Bola in the cinemas. Do you think we can have Ola Malaysia one day? – February 21, 2016.

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