Monday, August 6, 2012

Silver Medal but Golden Heart - Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and the heart of Malaysia

Not Olympic champion, but our champion.
Last night, at about 9.30pm I left my house to pick up Mikhail. The road was empty with only a few cars making their way through the overcast Malaysian night. I knew where everyone were... they were at home in front of their television, recovering from (watching) an epic battle between David and Goliath, between our Lee Chong Wei vs the People's Republic of China's Lin Dan in the finals of the men's badminton competition in London.

After winning the first set and trouncing Lin Dan at 21-15, Chong Wei faced a resurgent Lin Dan who won the 2nd set with a confidence-boosting 21-10. In the nail-biting see-saw battle of the final set, the PRC player, seen by many badminton pundits as one the most talented and dominant player in the sport's history finally overcame our Chong Wei at 21-19. The scores barely hint at the drama that was being played on court and in the homes of millions of Malaysians as once again, our champion lost to the amazing Lin Dan.

Because truth be told, I suspect many Malaysians, when they knew that Chong Wei was to face Lin Dan in the finals, kinda sighed a mute resignation, "Oh, well... silver is already an achievement." That is the level of awe inspired by the unquestionable ability of Lin Dan.

Lin Dan. Simply amazing. 

I was close to tears watching the last few minutes of the 79-minute ordeal because my gut feeling was that Chong Wei was not going to make it. And alas, the hopes of millions of my countrymen perished after Chong Wei lost the battle of nerves with only 2 points away from our country's first gold medal. 5 minutes later I was on the road to pick up my son.

Don't fret, my friend. For you have won your place
in the hearts of milions of us back home.
But during the drive I recalled the British female commentator when she exclaimed that Lin Dan had once again broken the hearts of millions of Malaysians rooting for our champion, and it got me thinking... Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), that we as Malaysians had a heart to be broken. And for that thrilling 79 minutes, we forgot our communal and religious differences, our political agendas and historical baggage, our gripes and complaints... to find a common cause and a common hope in the heart of that thin lanky young man standing alone in the centre court of Wembley Arena, London.

Yes, I am right. Alhamdulillah that we had a heart to be broken. For it is a precious thing in this strange and often troubling times that we live in.

Thank you for sharing our sadness and happiness this morning, sunshine. God bless you.

Postscript 10.46am - And after the match the fella actually went and tweeted an apology to the 28 million Malaysians that were rooting for him to defeat Lin Dan... How can you not but love this guy? *smiling through tears...*

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way


Denise Emanuel Clemen said...

I have not been following the Olympics much. Thanks for this report.

Milky Tea said...

Very much my pleasure, Denise! THank you for commenting!