Trials and tribulations of the 2nd ASEAN school games

This year Malaysia was given the honour (or is it the onerous task) of hosting the second ASEAN School Games, running from the 12 – 21 July 2010. The country had prepared for this since January. My team was tasked with the onerous task of covering the various events at the ten preset venues ranging from the Saujana golf Club in Kajang to MSN Stadium in Bukit Jalil to Aquatic Centre in Shah Alam. Not to mention the opening and closing ceremonies in KLFA Stadium as well as the visiting and official high-tea in PICC. Logistically it is quite a nightmare trying to cover every event at every venue, Almost impossible with the set of crews that we have. Under the circumstances we decided to cover as much as we could but definitely not every event. I must salute my chief producer Azman and his able organising producer, Bob. With the help of teams from BTPN WPKL and BTPN Selangor, we managed to assemble five teams to do the ENG plus a full MCP team covering the opening and closing ceremonies.
The opening was officiated by the Deputy PM with the Youth and Culture Minister in attendance. We were told to bring in our equipment on Sunday 11th July and participate in the rehearsal the next day. We were also made to believe that we would just provide the video feed to the stadium scoreboard as the stadium authorities would be handling the actual operations of the scoreboard. Little that we know that, the day before, the scoreboard operator’s contractor had somehow quit the job and leaving the stadium authority and the organising committee in a lurch. On top of that, the full dress rehearsal was on the 11th – the day we moved in our equipment. Apparently only us and the stadium authority were not aware (either we were not aware or were not told, I have to find out) of the full dress rehearsal was supposed to be held on that day. As a result confusion reigned. The bosses came at 830am to check on the progress of the rehearsal only to find the stadium gates were still locked. And our team was still loading our equipment into the ageing OB van at 9am. After many frantic phone calls, the rehearsal started only around 9.30am. The team had to stay well past 4pm to set up everything. Even then we were still not given the chance to look at the score board system. Well, why worry we have done it before and after all we would just provide the live video feed and the liason team would ensure the stadium contractor would be around to guide us.
The second rehearsal was done on the 12th, we had everything in place only to be told, the contractor for the scoreboard had absconded. Nobody seemed to know how to switch on that bleeding thing, let alone to operate it. Another set of frantic phone calls and harassed conversations, the scoreboard was switched at 12noon and after much trial and errors we managed to feed the video to the system by 4pm. Apparently the system is still stuck in the stone age – using 21/2″ floppy disk to boot up the system! And here we are shoving our thumb drive at every crevice that we can think of on the PC trying to test our images. On hindsight it was hillarious. Really reminded of a scene not so many years ago when a few students visiting our pilot smart school shoving their flash drives into the PCs in the school only to discover that the computer cannot accept flash drives. That was in 2006 and the PCs in the schools were procured in 1999, the days when a 1GB thumb drive still cost RM112. Not so smart eh…
As I was saying, unfortunately I was not able to be at the stadium during the actual opening ceremony. A more pressing assignment had me stuck in parliament during the period of the opening. Alhamdulillah everything went well. My team and I are praying that everything would go smoothly untill the whole thing is over by the 21st. In the meantime, tomorrow we shall be reloading our equipment again into the antique OB van for the closing ceremony on Monday 20th. And the SCP teams still shuttling between the stadia to capture the various finals. I may snatch a few events at the MSN Stadium or the Aquatic Centre. Actually it is things like this that make the job perky and bloody interesting. You have to be huffing and puffing all the time not quite knowing what to expect. Quoting my old friend Barnard, “There is no rest for the wicked” and “Berkhidmat untuk negara, Khazanah di syurga”. Fortunately the world cup is over!


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