Before I begin this one, I would just like to express that it sucks really bad to write without the proper materials. I left my old pictures and my jerseys in Kuala Lumpur. Psh.
1997, the economic recession hit the nation. The Piala Perdana Menteri competition was canceled. I was upset and frustrated because Cikgu Yusuf promised to bring maybe 2-3 players from the junior team as an exposure. A lot of state level events were canceled too. There was no competition for us to compete in. It was not like I didn’t represent the school in any other events, it was just that basketball took that special place in my heart amongst many other special things. Of course there is a hierarchy between these things but when it comes to sports, basketball, it is the numero uno. The year went by without any ‘special’ events. I was not sure what should I call special because I had always strive to be involved in a lot of things so what seemed a norm to me might be special to others.
1998, PMR, my school/my batch was the 9th best school amongst the SBP in Malaysia. There were like 38+ at that time. I’m not sure how we would rank if they included all the secondary schools and the MARA colleges. Time kept on passing with all the studying, playing, representing. It was a boring year to be honest.
The headmaster was amongst the most influential figure during my stint there (well if he wasn’t, then something was wrong), our beloved En Khalid Bin Dan. He would poke fun at himself by saying, “Khalid yang tak dan” because there was so much that he wanted to do. “Makan sungguh-sungguh, Tidur sungguh-sungguh, Belajar sungguh-sungguh, dan Main sungguh-sungguh”. He would repeat that everytime he was given the chance to give a speech. He succeeded in embedding that message in my brain. Up until now, I hold firmly to it.
1999, we received a few new students. They were a fun bunch. They mixed in with us with no problem at all. As for me, I was nominated to be one of the new school prefects. Blazers again! This time, maroon in colour with maroon pants.No bicycyles 😛 .
During this year, I was hoping for the PPM to be held again but no luck, the country was still recovering, students overseas were still being called back to continue their studies in Malaysia. Then I read about an Open Non-Chinese 3 on 3 Adidas Streetball Challenge in the newspaper. I took the ad to Cikgu Yusuf. He was hesitant at first but as usual, like a father, he understood our desire. We sent 3 teams. I was a happy camper. The training was intensified, I couldn’t wait to go to Bukit Jambul Pulau Pinang. I wanted to show how we played basketball. We had no proper coach. Our only coach was video recordings, a bunch of random chinese guys from the nearby Sekolah Menengah Pokok Sena team, and the Slam Dunk comic. I am serious. The Slam Dunk comics, with Sakuragi Hanamichi, Akagi, Rokawa, Miyagi and grrrrrr I forgot the name of the last player of the first 5. Cikgu Yusuf never gave up on us, he was pushing us in training and making sure we were sticking to our motto. Oh I forgot to tell you that our basketball team was called the Saina Scorpions. It was an idea from the first senior team. Cool wasn’t it? Not sure what they are called now.
The day. We went there in a rented coaster. It was held at Kompleks Bukit Jambul. After registration, we put on the Adidas attire they gave us. This was it. Then I saw the teams that we had to beat. My God. They were big. Turned out they were students from USM. So be it. To make it short, my team took the first place in our group and with that, made it to the quarter final during which the gap of experience saw us beaten to the ground. I was helpless against a very tactical team. We scored, but we didn’t score enough to win. We were outplayed and outclassed. But we were happy because they were university students and we were 16 year olds. The experience gained was priceless. We went back to the school feeling refreshed and more determined than ever.
In school the only entertainment we had comprised only of television during the weekends, newspapers, books, and comics (which were bought during our weekend outings). Wow, now when I typed that, the realization of the magnitude of the boredom that I/we had to endure presented itself in the form of a very big sledgehammer dropped on top of our heads. How did I do that? Must be the awesome company I had from friends, seniors and teachers. Ohh, by the way, this is another….to be continued. Man I typed too much.
Nsync was very very popular at this time. My sister introduced them to me when I was 14 years old. I was a rebellious teenager listening to Offspring, Metallica, and a bunch of other grunge, rock, metal groups. I gave them a chance, and I got hooked on to JC’s voice. Like I mentioned before, personally I am of the view that credit should be given where credit is due irregardless of ideology, favourites etc. Eventually I became a fanatic fan. I even memorized the choreography for this music video. Cute? Hmmm, hahahahaha.