Monday, April 5, 2010


April is in the air. Haven't posted anything for years (at least it seems that way to me)

So...what's next?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Journey Continues...

It all started when Malik inadvertently put forward a request I couldn’t refuse… a chance to play in the forthcoming SUKAD tournament. This time, SUKAD will be making its round in Kelantan, the land of my ancestors. The last time SUKAD was being played in the main campus, my team was being eliminated in the preliminary stage.

Since that disappointing outing, I hanged up my racquet in despair. It was a poorly assembled squad. Having been ripped off the services of Ah Yong and Zamri that brought us to the quarter final feat a year earlier, I trained my close friends Fahmi and Firdaus with the aim of taking part in the tournament.

It was a horrible venture…we ended up having more laugh than the determination to win. But it was a good display from them…no hard and bitter feeling…because they just wanted to have fun. It was such a pleasure to have them as my friends.

Of course Malik’s sudden invitation provides a mix of adventure and excitement to me. It was squash that brought me to Kelantan for the first time in 2004. It was always my desire to observe the psyche and nature of Kelantan’s people…their state often regarded as the Malay heartland and their people, the real Malay.

My great-great grandfather and his family fled Kelantan's palace many generations ago…in search of a greener pasture. They were a servant to Kelantan’s monarch, until they came into that fateful decision. They crossed the deadly jungle separating the eastern and the western part of peninsula Malaysia before setting foot in a prosperous land of Kedah.

They settled down and started making a living out of a strange environment. A few generations passed…and I was born.

It was poverty that forced my ancestors to flee and explore the new world, but it was squash that did the same to me. If the hunger for food and basic needs were the driving force behind their quest for migration, for me it was the hunger for success and the insatiable thirst for experience. Indeed, the squash odyssey has taken me to a multitude of places…the deserted land of Ujong Pasir, the sprawling city of Bandar Hilir, that haven of serenity in Kulim, and into a deep remote area in Londang.

Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure to meet the kings of squash…namely Kenny and abang Nik. Kenny, dubbed the king of Malacca at that time, bewildered me with his string of beautifully executed shots. Together with Fahmi, they were the bedrock of the Malaccan team in the MSSM. Abang Nik, former national player who once trained with the likes of Azlan Iskandar and Ong Beng Hee, was in the class of his own. A complete player with a fleet of amazing strokes, he led by example and was considered a legend among my peers.

The prince…such as Fahmi of Seri Mahkota. A young boy who didn’t quite grasp my thick accent of Kedah at the said time, showed how a kampong boy could be turned into a class player. He formed a great friendship with Kenny. I could still remember they playfully lit up a firecracker together outside the Ujong Pasir court, in the middle of an important match.

The queen…Sahar. My classmate and former national under 18 champion. She was so well known inside the squash community and competed on the international scene on a regular basis. There was one moment when a Chinese woman rushed towards us during a tournament, asking with bated breath “which one is Sahar?”

They’ve heard about her long before they’ve even knew how she looked like. It’s true that words travel faster than light at times.

The princess…in the name of Vanessa. I’ve touched on her before, so I won’t elaborate much here.

And, last but not least, the show-off pony like Azim.

Hi. I am Rambut Pacak. The greatest, bestest ever squash player in the world. Beat me if you can.

We were kept apart in the final last year because I wanted to play against abang Nik, who was in his last appearance for SUKAD. I am looking forward to meeting him this year, but to my despair, he is scheduled to feature in the MASUM circuit in UTM.

Maybe luck was on his side. Good riddance to him.

A nuisance of legendary proportion, he’s too smug for the beautiful game of squash. Never in my adventure of squash have I met a character that matched him. Squash is never a battlefield for me, it’s a beautiful game of techniques and skills. You win matches by striking a delicate combination of ball control, fitness and movement on the court. If you play squash for the affection of the crowds, the game will lose its charm.

It’s hard to draw an early conclusion from the freshly released schedule. We were grouped together alongside Tekun, Bakti Permai and PETAS. By far, we are the strongest and the most well balanced team on paper. But anything could happen…nothing could be taken for granted.

The crux of the Tekun’s team lies on their two front man, Amar and Shimie. Amar is a dangerous player…and he plays dangerously as well. He’s a fast player, and the fact that he’s a left-handed further complicated the matter. Shimie is unpredictable. A greenhorn player who first picked up the squash racquet less than a year ago, he has shown much progress throughout the year. Nizam, a novice who is still learning the trade, is vastly improving with the passage of time. So we could expect a heated opening match ahead.

Bakti Permai and PETAS were still a big mystery. But I didn’t expect a miracle of Shakespearean proportion from them. Maybe they were just a bunch of beginners trying to gain some experience. But, if Hanif’s joke were to become a reality (Azlan Iskandar is going to play for Bakti!) then we are doomed for sure.

But, fret not…we have two of the most outstanding players on our side. Malik is physically the fittest player around. If his mounting work didn’t distract him, we could expect a good showing from him. He plays with brain, and he seemed all fired up to face his opponents. Farid is the most underrated player ever. There are little variations in his game, but he’s unbelievably an effective player. He gets the work done…the true objective of playing a team game.

With a fairly competent Hanif waiting in the pecking order, we have a quartet of highly exciting players at our disposal. If we remain true to our game plan, a birth in the final for a second successive years isn’t that far from our reach.

Farid and Malik. The lynchpin of Aman’s success last year. Seen here celebrating our success at KFC.

So roll on SUKAD! If I won this damn thing this time around, I’ll retire peacefully from squash for good.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm angry. Angry. ANGRY!

So I'll go and have supper at Kaleel now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Connection

I'm at a loss.

I'm still surfing the internet!

No cut. No hassle. No problem.

The Internet is on and connecting flawlessly.

Maybe Izam heard my prayer and decided NOT to terminate the subscription?

Yes lah. Can lose sleep and surf until the wee hours in the morning.

Better go and play badminton now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Rare Gem...

After a manic couple of days, I'm normal again.

I steadied the ship, took a good control of my life, and tried to contain myself from doing anything stupid.

So far, I succeeded.

I'm back to my former self.

Long may it continue.

So I went to Penang Squash Academy Centre. A classy prodigy was strutting her stuff there...she was no other than a certain Vanessa Raj. I wrote about her in great length some years ago. Then, she was a lovely 11 years old girl. Her fickle emotion led her to cry on a tiniest fact, she almost cried whenever she failed to return my shot.

I missed that little Vanessa.

But that was then. Now, she is thirteen...standing taller than me now. Although her biological age is somewhat young, now she displays a matured attitude comparable to a fully grown up girl. Her childish act was long she possesses a rare composure and calm, on and off the court.

Up against an equally young player in the final, she was made to sweat...for the first time ever.

I saw her the other day in the preliminary round...she defeated her opponent without dropping a single set. A walk in the park. But this time around, he was a tricky opponent. Equally skillful and boasted an ego beyond his age, he trapped Vanessa with his cunning shots and techniques over and over again.

Vanessa fell for his tricks on a number of occasions. But she fought back, never to give him much time to breath. Vanessa executed some breathtaking drops...I feared she may fail in her attempts and broke down as her former self, but it was not to be. She has somewhat mastered her emotion and skills comparably.

Their control of the court was amazing. The pace of the game was somewhat slower, maybe due to their relatively young age. But their performance was worthy of a praise.

After dropping the first set, she walked out of the court, sitting quietly besides me. I set my sight on her...but she didn't utter a single word. Maybe she was thinking about the match.I thought of offering her some words of encouragement...but I refrained myself from doing so. She knew what she was doing.

The problem with her first game was that she hasn't force her opponent far enough from the T zone. The T is like a throne in squash...whomever conquered it is the king. You control the T, you'll control the court and you'll control your opponent's movement. Stray from the T long enough, you'll be dead meat not long afterward.

In her second game, she changed her game plan. Now, she played more cross-courts to throw her opponent off balance. She varied her shots...attacking more on the left side of the court. In other words, to the back hand of her opponent.

Her strategy worked...she won the second game.

But he didn't give Vanessa any favour in the succeeding set. He cut and dropped the ball to disrupt Vanessa's game plan...much to her dismay. If she can improve on her smash, the tide would surely turn in her favour. Her drop shot was just excellent. A beauty that makes the game sparkle.

She fought the tie to the fifth set...before eventually losing in the deciding set. Even though she lost the game, I was proud of her attitude, her fighting spirit. Her calmness and her composure were exemplary...worthy of an emulation.

She is one of a kind...a rare gem. It's strange for a significantly older person to admire a younger protege, but she filled me with enthusiasm to play and compete with my full potential. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose a match, as long as you are giving your best.

Thank you, Vanessa. Your attitude and personality gave me something to ponder about.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Off Connection

After less than a month, I am going to be disconnected again from the world of internet.

Izam told Sabri that she would no longer be paying for our connection (They are a sweet couple. Sabri, by the way, is my housemate)

Izam...RM68 only...why cannot? Your salary is more than enough...I and Sabri can afford, but we need to think about the future. Hafiz isn't coming back...he didn't even reply my message. If he were to stay in KL, the house-rent would be on our shoulders to bear.

And if Sabri succeeded in his appeal, it would be down to only two of and Wan. Mati la. How can I survive?

So what should I do next? Cut off from the internet is like being isolated in a big, dark cave. And my ongoing studies. Money isn't everything but everything revolves around money nowadays.

This headache is killing me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I know it's kind of late, but we are now in a brand new year. 2010. A year of hope, dream and ambition.

Thanks to Sabri, now I have a fully connected computer in my house. My last published article written in the comfort of my room was around May or June last year. Since then, the postings were either done in the cyber cafe or by using my friend's laptop.

This is the year of great hope. I hope to achieve something this year. To get my life back on track. That's the priority.

Less personal life, more on ideas and thinking. I hope 2010 will make a big difference. To me and to the others.

"Takut Gagal Adalah Gagal Sejati" (Fear Of Failure Is The Real Failure) - HAMKA

I'll bounce back. 2010, just you wait...