REBAS IX

We always reminisce of time gone by. I always tell my kids that life in the olden days were difficult, we were poor, and Malaysian football was better. Two items recently jolted me into thinking, one was a letter in the NST regarding the current state of Malaysian soccer, which is currently ranked below Togo, Palestine or even Lesotho. We always said team of yonder years were better. Mansor Puteh, who had a penchant for writing ascerbic letters, said, Our soccer team was never good in the first place. We are always jaguh kampung only. The only two spikes were the Olympic qualifications in 72 and 80. Even then we were beaten 7-0 by Morrocco in the first round of the 72 Olympiad. We never performed really good aoutside South East Asia. Remember the days when Iran, Iraq and Morroco joint the Merdeka Cup, they always ended up champions. We think our team of yonder years were good because we are feeling nostalgic. In nostalgic reminiscing, we always think of the good things, the struggled that ended succesfully, the sweet moments etc. In actual fact the reality maybe different. That was what Mansor wrote. The other thing was what my son was saying when I told him about how difficult were my childhood years. I have to walk barefoot 5 km to school using laterite road which turn into red stream when it rained. We hardly study at night because it would be too dark and we have to conserve the kerosene. After isyak we were already snuggled under the shared blanket. There was no TV. I am lucky if I can get 10 sen as belanja sekolah. As I was babling along on our so called struggled, my son asked me a simple question, “In your school, were they students who go to school by any form of transport? I said “hardly anybody, maybe sons and daughters of the cikgus.” So my son said, “Putting things in perspective, that was the environment at that time, every body is almost the same. Only the elite ones can afford luxuries”. “Just like today”. Suddenly it struck me the point he was trying to make. Richness and poorness are relative to the environment we are living. Compared to now maybe we seemed to be poor then, but we still have roof over our head, we still have the bendang to toil, we still have the stream to catch fish, and water for drinking (not to mention as open air bathroom and toilet), we still have chickens to slaughter for any kenduri, and almost every familiy in the kampung were like that. In a sense we are quite better off! My dad is working as jaga in the village estate, my mum tap rubber and till the sawah for padi and plant all kinds vegetables, my sister rear chicken and ducks, myself and my brothers look after the goats. How glorious actually life was in those days. Comparatively we were not that poor!! So, these days if we read stories of successful people and they said they really struggled to get to where they were, we have to do a reality check – my son taught me that. We cannot really compare the difficulties of those yonder years with the struggle of today. Conversely we cannot compare the luxuries of yesteryears with luxuries of today. What seemed to be luxury last time are necessity today. Come to think of it, my father are a lot richer than me, despite his monthly income was a meagre RM90 with seven children and mine run into a few thousands with only five kids. At least my father do not have to worry about car payments, house installments, petrol, toll, electricity bills, water bills, Indah water bill, Astro, Internet bills, post paid, mounting credit card debts and on top of that school fees, tuition fees, numerous school uniforms etc… The moral of the story, comparing yesterdays difficult life with today is not a fair comparison.

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