It's always great to see the odd time a fellow Malaysian does well and is internationally recognised for their achievements. I was even pleasantly surprised when I read that Malaysia's Under-23 football team was in the final of the XXV SEA Games recently. The first thing that came to mind was, what happened to Thailand, Singapore or even Indonesia?
After a bit more digging, it turned out that Thailand were actually knocked-out by Malaysia enroute to the final and surprise, surprise, Malaysia ended up winning the final (albeit via an own-goal). A gold medal nevertheless. An achievement.
When you look at the bigger picture though, things don't look so rosy. Malaysia ended-up winning a tournament that at its best, had FIFA's 105th ranked country (Thailand) as well as footballing giants such as Timor-Leste and Brunei Darussalam. Then again, achievements are all relative anyway and this one in particular is made even more amazing when you take into account that the Malaysian football team was almost extinct altogether.
This was a team that was reduced to playing matches against the Manchester United Reserves (yes, Reserves no matter what way the marketing people try to spin it) and a Westlife XI. Westlife for heaven's sake!
On the other hand, we have the likes of Anson Wong who has single-handedly put Malaysia on the world map although, for all the wrong reasons. Bryan Christy's report on Asia's Wildlife Trade was revealing and shocking but what made it worse was the stance taken by the government officials. It was a real, if you can't beat them, join them type of attitude.
There's a Malay saying, harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi. This is exactly the case with the Perhilitan officials involved with Anson Wong's activities. Hopefully, the more people know about this the better. Malaysia Boleh!