Sunday, January 29, 2006

Long Holidays...

Aiyoo... I am so bored right now. Don't exactly know what to do cos most of my plans are pretty much down the drain. Sherie was supposed to be around but she had to follow her parents back to Kedah and only coming back this Tuesday. Now, I am basically left here with no clue what to do for another 3 more days.

The only thing that I am looking forward today is the FA Cup match between United and Wolves. But before that, I basically trying to figure out the best things to do to burn my time. Adding my DVD collection would not be an option now cos most..well..all DVD shops are closed. Watching a movie? Hmm...a good idea but promised Sherie that we watch Jet Li's Fearless together. Maybe Buli Balik cos she watched it with her parents so I can go and watched it alone...maybe tomorrow but after 3pm cos I got a karaoke session with a few friends...hmmm, come to think of it...I got my plans worked out for tomorrow.

Yeah..Karaoke. The best past time for me. Crazy fun u know. Belting out songs u always wanted to sing and don't even care if u suck. I have to think of my song lists for tomorrow. I think I will go with the boy band songs..maybe a bit of Westlife, BSB, N'Sync and I'll throw in a few of Mawi World songs too...hahahahaha.

I was also planning to go to the zoo. Yeah...the zoo. Never been to one so I am thinking of going. Sherie's coming along and she said she wanted to bring her nephew along. Don't ask why I have never been to a zoo before. Thinking of doing it next Wednesday. Is it open on a public holiday...hmm...I am not sure, does anyone else knows? Was thinking of going to the Muzium Negara and also Balai Seni Lukis Negara...weird, I know but I always wanted to go and I think this long holidays are the best time to go....but then again, are the places open on public holidays? what else should I do or go for the long holidays....any suggestions folks???

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Dangerous Affair

15 years is a long time and saying goodbye is the hardest thing. Looking back through the years that we have spent together, the good and bad times, I can’t imagine myself going through life without this old friend of mine. But I know, no matter how I tried to deny it, I have to say goodbye and end this dangerous affair. 2006 will be the beginning of the end of my long courtship with the loyal but a dangerous friend, the cigarette.

I was introduced to the cigarette by a friend of mine and also out of my own curiosity I guess. Everyone else were doing it and the people on TV looked very cool when they are smoking…. that was what I thought at that time. Just try once, just wanted to know how it tastes and feels like. I came home feeling sick, sweating as if I am a human water tap and my head feels like splitting into half. My mom thought I was having a fever. I didn’t tell her of course. I slept all through the night and swore I would not take another puff of that terrible thing. Well, my resolution went out the window the next day.

I have always wanted to stop but my will were not strong enough and saying ‘Tak Nak’ was a problem. I always succumbed no matter how hard I try. 3 months without smoking were the longest time I had gone without a ciggie but all the effort went down the drain with “Alaa….just a little puff . Trust me, u won’t go back to smoking”……and I went home with a box of Dunhill I bought on the way home.

Some people tried stopping when the girlfriend asked them and yes, I am one of those but I end ed up lying to her. I did not smoke in front of her but I was like a locomotive behind her. I was actually having a secret affair with my cigarettes. After every date, I would stop by at one of the kedai kopi and bought the loose cigarettes sold for about 25 cents each. The first puff felt liked peeing after an hour of holding it. Well, she found out later about my “affair” and lectured me about lying and being honest to each other which I totally agreed. So I start ed smoking in front of her after that.

My dad is not a smoker and he hates smokers but the funny thing is my two other brothers and I are. He knows that we smoke but we have never ever smoked in front of him. My dad ha s this amazing nose and he would know immediately if someone has been smoking in the toilet or outside the house. He might not know who but he would lecture and membebel about the danger of smoking, the diseases and a whole lot of other things until he was sure all of us heard it. But as we grew older and one of my brothers is married with a son now, he cut down on the lecture but he will always slip in a few more if he got the chance. The most frequent would be “Cuba simpan duit pake ngisap rokok for benda lain. Apa faedah nya merokok…sama cam nunok (membakar) duit jak”...

I know that smoking is dangerous for my health. Lung cancer is the most famous and common disease among smokers but the sensation that I get from smoking just can’t be substituted. It started with trying to be cool and part of the group and it turn to be an important part of me. And every time I tr ied to stop, my weight will go up which obviously something I don’t want to happen. I am not conscious about my weight but I constantly have to nibble on something just to not think about smoking. Arghhh… I start ed smoking again for that reason…I don’t want to gain weight. Aiyoo…the things I do just to smoke again.

This time around though, I am going to try my best to stop. It is not because Sherie wants me to, although she would love it, if she knew . It is just because I want to stop and the fact that the price of cigarettes is killing me. When I started smoking, it was about RM3.20 per box but now it is RM7.00. I smoke about 4 boxes per week which means I have to fork out RM28.00 per week and RM112.00 per month. That is a lot of money, don’t you think? To me it is…….dang…it is like an Air Asia ticket flight from KL to Kuching to KL. So I decided to stop because of that particular reason….use the money to see my love ones back home or kill myself with it? I think any fool can think of the best option kan?

No more standing on the apartment balcony looking outside and wondering about my future with a cigarette between my mouth. No more smoking when I am sleepy. No more that must-smoke after meal rules and of course… more company when I am doing the “big business”. It has been almost a month now and I am still going strong though I suddenly found out that my sleeping problem came up at almost the same time I stop smoking. I don’t know if there is any connection….hmmmm. Anyways, I just hope it will be successful this time around and stay away from that delightful, mesmerizing…..snap out of it…..that foul smelling, killing machine….oh how I miss…..arghh…..good for nothing, making holes in my shirt and baju melayu (kretek Gudang Garam done a lot of that to me before)……cigarettes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My He(Rio

I was still recuperating from last week lost to City and as expected, I wouldn’t get any sympathy from anyone….even from Sherie. It was a tough week to endure…..well it has been a tough 2006 to be honest with United struggling with form since the New Year. Trying to erase the lost from your memory was kinda hard as sms and e-mails were sent from all my “caring” friends. One sms stuck on my mind though…….” Don’t worry pok….u won’t have to be sad for too long about this…ur losing to Liverpool next and u will definitely forget about this week ..hahahaha”. Cruel…but I accepted it like a man…. By thinking of a better and crueler comeback later.

Yeah…Liverpool is coming to town. And from the looks of it, Liverpool is the overwhelming favorite to win the game. How dare….predicting a Liverpool win at Old Trafford. It hurts a lot watching pundits were favoring Liverpool and United looked too shaky and not at par with Liverpool. Even the papers were predicting United will loose the game. Liverpool performances of late where they have collected 34 points out of a possible 36 were highlighted and Liverpool’s qualities in the midfield marshaled by Stevie G are a class above United’s current midfield. The poor performance so far by United since the turn of the year also contributed to the odds of a Liverpool win. I feel gutted cos to be honest and fair, if we are to base our prediction on team and individual performance it does seems like a United win would be unlikely. But then again, team performance will go out of the window in a Liverpool-United clash….

I would have loved to watch the game outside with bigger crowd and a livelier ambience but considering the next day is a working day, I went to watch the game at Sherie’s house with her dad. Usually before I come over, I would ask first if there were anything that they wanted and that night was Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion Chips which I happily obliged. Sherie made me a nice cup of sarsi syrup drink and then she went upstairs. Watching Marcus Bent head that goal to deny Chelsea another win was ecstasy and how I just wished Ambrose’s shot ended in the net and watched the Blues turn red for the day…but 2 points dropped at The Bridge is always good news.

As expected in games between the big four, plays will be mostly in the midfield and this one was no exception. It was obvious that Liverpool were controlling the game and winning the midfield battle while the patched up United midfield looked to struggle and keep losing the ball. Despite of all the possession Liverpool had in the first half, there were no decent shot at goal and Van der Saar was merely a spectator picking up occasional long shots by the Liverpool forward spearheaded by Cisse and Crouch. On the United front, Rooney and Ruud were non existence for the entire half as not even a decent opportunity was presented to them. When the whistle were blown for half time, Liverpool looked like a more likely winner.

Liverpool started the 2nd half like they ended the 1st half. United have brought in Saha for O’Shea who joined Scholes, Smith and Park on the injured list with Ronaldo still serving his 3 match ban. Saha moved upfront to partner Ruud while Rooney dropped back behind the two. Somehow, the changes made had a great impact on United as they played better and started to create chances. Rooney was getting more of the ball and United’s engine room looked more of a threat with Giggs defence tearing runs. But It was still a 0-0 game and Liverpool almost claimed that all important goal if not for the heroic clearance by Rio. The ball was on the way in from a Sissoko shot, who was celebrating his birthday, if not for Rio’s determine and accurate clearance although the danger was not over yet. Kewell’s shot from Rio’s Ferdinand was saved brilliantly by Van der Sar but the shot was parried to Cisse. With goal opened wide for him to just tapped in the ball, he kick the ball over the bar and the chance was gone. I was holding my breath for that one minute sequence of almost a goal situation and luckily Cisse decided to make a fool of himself. Maybe the hair had something to do with his bearing that night. Whatever is the reason……it is still 0-0. United created a few more chances with a Giggs’s crossed turn to shot that almost dismantle the goal post and Rooney’s shot from outside the box that miss the far post by inches although I think Reina would have dealt with it.

The match was going for a draw when United new addition to the squad, Frenchman Patrice Evra was brought down by Finnan just outside the box in the 90th minute of the match. Giggs took the free kick responsibility and floated in a perfect ball into the box. To the surprise of all watching the game, Ferdinand was left unchallenged with a powerful header which Reina could only helped into the net. The stadium erupted, the United players were all over the hero of the night and I was up on my feet and screaming in front of my future father in law…but I didn’t care cos he was actually doing the same exact thing. All the pressure and nerves were release with that scream…….while Liverpool players were hanging their head and Liverpool fans cursing Cisse for not scoring from close range.

United were lucky to win….. United fans all over the world can walk with pride with their heads held high for another season. A lucky goal, a disputed free kick, a bias referee and all sorts of reasons were given by Liverpool fans…..but a win is a win and another season of Liverpool having their tails between the legs. Maybe there is a transition of power in English football but that night belong to United and it showed everyone that United will not give in that easy. You want my place, come show and fight for it…..

As for the friend who sent me the sms……. I sms him immediately after the match…….“ You were right…I forgot totally about last week match…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

Review :

Hero of The Match : Rio Ferdinand. Not because of the goal he scored but also his defending was top class that night. If Sven has any doubt or still thinks he’s lazy, I think Mr. Sven needs a new pair of glasses

Zero of the Match : Cisse no doubt. Liverpool could have won the match but he screwed the chance. And also for that ridiculous hairstyle.

Moment of the Match : Rio’s clearing the ball just before it crossed the line. Determination and also skill and a bit of luck I guess.

Team Performance : Manchester United 6/10

Liverpool 7/10

Although United won, I do have to admit that Liverpool controlled the game and United only came into the game in the last 25 minutes.

What If : Sissoko’s shot was not cleared?

1. Papers the next day will print “Birthday Boy Scored”, “United blown by Birthday Boy”

2. Cisse would not be practicing to score from 6 yards out now as ordered by Benitez

3. I will be the one receiving sms and e-mails kutuking me till next season match

4. Aida will be replying e-mails with more enthusiast, Jac will be having a better day and Hood would have love to talk about last nite game with the significant other……

Friday, January 20, 2006

The End of A Fairy Tale

It was The Theatre of Dreams and to the part timers of Burton Albion it was a dream they never thought will come true. After that famous draw at The Pirelli Stadium that can only accommodate about 6,000 fans a fort night ago, playing against one of the best team in the land at Old Trafford that can accommodate about 67,000 plus fans must have caused sleepless nights for the Burton players. Although the fairy tale ending that the players and fans might have wished before the game alongside the neutrals of the match did not materialize, it will always be the highlight of their football career…and oh……also the souvenir jerseys they got from their famous opponent.

Five goals were scored and watching that game, we have to be delighted with the future and prospect for the young players on show for United. Giuseppe Rossi is only 18 years old but the future look bright for the young Italian. His name actually have been on United fans’ lips since he can’t stop scoring goals with the reserves team and to be honest, Sir Alex must had seen something special about the boy that persuaded him to sign Rossi from Parma when he was only 16 years old. The game turn to a Rossi show when he scored two goals and created two others. His first goal was a beautifully headed goal from Silvestre pint point cross and the other one a sweet strike outside the box at the last minute of the game. His delightful flick for Richardson to race on and scored and also that beautifully place chip to release Giggs had everyone forgetting the absence of one named Rooney for the night. His was the star of the night and with Saha looking more disappointing and frustrating in front of the goal, Rossi had pushed himself up the pecking order. We can bet we will see more of him in the second half of the season after his performance last night that left Burton’s defence without any answers to contain him.

Gerard Pique was signed from Barcelona when he was also 16 years old and for the record, he is actually a day younger from Rossi. Although he has not yet got his chance to make his debut in the league with United, it wouldn’t be long before he breaks through. For a young defender, his ability to read the game and also the confidence he showed with the ball I am very sure Silvestre will have to make way for him soon. Bardsley again showed why Sir Alex was prepared to let Phillip Neville go to Everton when he have a liable and talented player on the right back to deputize the older Neville when he needs a rest. The overall verdict, United future look a bit brighter after last night FA Cup game.

The only missing element about last night game was an Ole goal. Every fans in the world were hoping he would and somehow the United players were also pushing for it too seeing from the constant distribution of the ball to the right late in the game. He was pushed to the front after to accompany Saha when Fergie brought in Guggs, Neville and Rio who actually played as a midfield player when United were 3 goals ahead. It was a pity not seeing Ole score but I am sure he will score again in the near future. Ole played a full 90 minutes and played on the right and his crossing was superb. A beautiful cross late in the first half was missed by Saha and Rossi but with that we can actually welcome our babyface assassin back. With Ronaldo being banned for 3 games after that red card at City, maybe Ole will get his chance although I don’t think he will be in the starting eleven in this weekend huge and important clash against the Scousers. He might be on the bench and maybe will be thrown into action later in the match.

With the convincing win against Burton and almost half of the first team are rested for this weekend match against Liverpool, we will expect nothing less than a win with the automatic place in next season Champions’ League is at stake. We just have to wait which red will be on top this weekend…..n for my ego and heart sake, let it be the Manchester Red….

White Rose.....Red Rose

I received an sms from a friend back home yesterday and it sounded like this (after a bit of adjustments)…….

“A sparrow was in love with a white rose. One fine day, the sparrow found the courage to confess his love to the white rose. The white rose who doesn’t have the same feelings told the sparrow that she will only love him if she turns red, knowing that this is impossible. The sparrow did the unthinkable. He tares his body and slowly spreads his blood on the white rose which turns her red. The rose was touched and fell in love with the sparrow but the sparrow was no more. This is true love......”

Is it true love? Does anyone even know the real meaning of true love? Did the sparrow actually showed the real meaning of true love… make sacrifices for your love and not expecting anything back? Or did the sparrow just proved that love is a dangerous thing that makes people do stupid things without realizing the consequences?

I personally don’t know what the meaning of true love is. The meaning of true love changes with every relationship we have…but one thing has always been the same. Love is a strange thing…..when u find that special someone, it is either sometimes you just want to kiss and hug them all the time but there are some times when you just want to shut them up and strangle them….but deep down inside, you just can’t imagine your life without them beside you……

As Jerry McGuire famously said line………………… “YOU COMPLETE ME”

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Inhale If You Dare

It came unannounced. I didn’t see it coming and I was not ready for it. I almost fainted as a result of it. It was my fault anyways because I should have not talked to him when he was too close. It was a fatal mistake on my part and I have to inhale the consequence. He was already beside me when he opened his mouth to answer my question…….everything was a blur after that because I was trying my very best not to breath for the next 1 or 2 minutes.

It was nasty. That was the epitome of bad breath. I wasn’t even concentrating on what he was saying because my brain just stopped. I have a sudden urged to elbow him and knock him out. I swear if he continued talking for another minute I would just collapsed. No way am I gonna take the risk to inhale the contaminated air from this man.

Did he forget to brush his teeth? Was he in a rush that he just though he skips brushing his teeth or is it just not in his daily routine to brush his teeth when he wakes up in the morning? How could he stand not brushing his teeth? Whatever the reason is, I just couldn’t be bothered because something has to be done. I have to talk to this bad breath man every single day and I don’t think I can stop breathing every time he talks…or can I?

What should I do? Should I be straight forward and maybe a bit rude and tell him to his face? Should I take the indirect approach like offering him sweets or chewing gum every time we have to discuss? Arghhh…. A dilemma. Well, I have to think of something because here comes the man with the rubbish truck breath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Good Night....Sweet Dreams

I slept around 5.30am today and woke about 3 hours later. That has been the ritual for me this last month. Sometimes I didn’t sleep at all. I am having trouble sleeping they call it insomnia. Gone are the days where I can just sleep after 5 minutes I put my head on the pillow.Oh….how do I miss those days. Now, I can’t even force myself to sleep no matter what I do.

I tried counting sheeps but after the 1000 times jumping over the fence, the sheep got tired but I wasn’t. Jessica Alba took over from the sheep but man...the thought of Jessica Alba jumping over a fence..... Well, I don’t think any guy would even want to go to sleep with that image in his head. In the end, I would end up staring at the ceiling in the dark trying to figure out the best way for me to go to sleep. I would hit my pillow to make it much comfy. I would change my sleeping position and even going to the extreme of changing my “sleeping uniform”.

The funny thing is I have never felt sleepy during the day. Not a single bone in my body ache for a nice fluffy pillow and a drowning Dreamland mattress. I don’t have any problems waking up in the morning. It will be 8am sharp. No problem. A few weeks ago I was afraid that I would not be able to keep my eyes opened till the end of the day but somehow keeping it closed was more of a problem. The first few days when my sleeping problem haunted me, I was rushing back from work just to try getting some sleep before Maghrib. Instead of sleeping, I end up watching cartoons or Chinese drama that would be showing on TV. After that, I just quit and fill that time by working out at the gym and also my futsal game.

Am I too tired? Am I stressed? Am I thinking too much? Those are the reasons that I have heard that might cause insomnia but I don’t think I am experiencing any of that. I wish it was one of those so I don’t have to figure out what and why I am not sleeping. I just miss sleeping and maybe a dream or two or even now a nightmare will do. It is so frustrating not being able to give ur body and mind a deserved rest after a hectic day at the office. Something is wrong but I just don’t know what the problem is.

Not being able to sleep, in an empty dark apartment without any satellite TV is not fun…trust me. After failing to go to sleep, trying to think of a fun and best way to let the time pass that early in the morning is a task on its own. Reading a book, watching DVDs, listening to the radio, singing to the song on the radio, entering sms contest on the radio….all of that I have tried for the past month. Sometimes…well almost every night I would just amuse myself by interviewing myself….sounds nuts I know but when u are still awake at 4.30am and not knowing what else to do, it is fun imagining urself as the Oscar winner for Best Director, scored the winning goal that won United the Champions’ League and sometimes as the new man in Jessica Alba’s life…..and the list goes on and on and on…like the Energizer batteries.

Despite of all that crazy fun, I still want my sleep. I still want that pillow face when u wake up in the morning. I still want that sensational smell when u open ur mouth for the first time in the morning. I still want to complete the continent of Africa on my pillow. Jokes aside, I miss waking up fresh and rested after a good night sleep. It has been a long time since I can say I had a good night sleep and had a truly rested body. I am still feeling ok now and I hope for my own health sake, I can get back my sleeping routine.

Till then, I have to come up with new questions and also new characters for my “The Early Morning Show With The Red Raven……Huak…Huak…..”

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Happily Ever After

It has always been an age old debate. Does age matter in a relationship? Most of us will say it d oesnt but when confronted by the sight of that odd couple, we would cringed and wonder why and what are the reasons? Money, power, status or is it really true love? I can bet true love would not be a popular answer but histories all over the world seem to support it. Anna Nicole Smith does not really help the cause with her antics.

I had my own fair share of stares and constants whispering before. I was in a relationship with an older woman. She was 10 years older than me. She was a divorcee with 4 young daughters. The eldest was 10 years younger than me, twins who were entering their teenage years and the youngest was 10 years old when I met her. We were a couple for a good 3 years before it all ended.

In any relationship, there will always be obstacles and challenges that you might have to face but being in a relationship that society deemed to be wrong not just in Malaysia but everywhere else in the world was something else. At first it was hard as going for movies or having a dinner outside were a challenge for us as we have to ignore staring eyes watching our every move and being judge d on the way we acted. Try as you might to be comfortable but when you just feel every single pair of eyes were fixed on you, it was a struggle. You thought after awhile it would stop but it never did and t became impossible to ignore. It became stressful and we usually opt for takeaways and vcds or dvds.

Other than trying to avoid the public scrutinizing us, convincing your family especially parents were not a smooth ride as well.When I told my parents, well, my mother actually that I was going out with a divorcee with 4 kids, she was taken aback but she accepted it and told me that I am mature enough to make my own decision….at first. But I guess family pressure and my father 's constant “advise”, she decided that I should be guided in making my decision. Parents know best and my grandma supported my parents ' “advise”. To be honest, I am not mad at them for not accepting the relationship. It was just sad that I was never given a chance to prove to them that I am matured enough to make my own decisions. But being the eldest and also a Muslim son, I am always taught that anything that is not blessed by your parents or older members of the family, it is advisable not to proceed further…which I followed.

Friends being part of the society and also human being were not that fond of our relationship. We were never in each other friends ' circle. We tried to fit into each others social life but it was impossible because there were too many sarcasms and awkward moments. My friends would be pushing me to leave her for someone younger with a brighter future and start a family of my own, not a ready made family. Her friends would be telling her that I was actually going for her money, her house and some even accused me of using her to get to her daughters. That also contributed to our already conflicted relationship. I don’t trust her friends and she doesnt trust mine. Our friends would find ways to introduce us to someone new which at first was funny but down the road jealousy took controlled. Trust was not there anymore and it was hard convincing each other that going out with friends were just an innocent night out or a social event.

We knew it was never going to be easy but we tried our best to make it happen. Making a relationship work by itself was hard enough. Trusting each other was hard enough. Trying to solve conflicts within was hard enough. Just ignore all those talks and stares, some people might say. Trust me, you can’t especially when family comes into the picture. We went our separate ways. It was hard for both of us but we do have to admit that we have to be fair to each other needs and future. Somehow, I think it was a blessing in disguised for us. She met a guy soon after that, who is also a divorcee with 2 kids and are now engaged to be married. I found myself a terrific and lovely lady who I thanked Allah SWT for letting our paths crossed.

Until the day when we are ready to accept love unconditionally, age will always be an issue to us. I learn that the hard way but I cherish the time we had. I had closed that book a long time ago and now I am opening a new book in my life. This time I wish it will end with…………………………

Happily Ever After

Monday, January 09, 2006

David 1 Goliath 0

The giant scoreboard showed that 0-0 was the final result. No, I am not talking about a Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester United at Highbury. It was a 3rd round FA Cup game between Burton Albion and Manchester United at the Pirelli Stadium. Burton what? Yes, not just for non-football fan but to football enthusiast Burton Albion is not a name familiar to many of us.

Burton Albion came into the limelight when they booked their 3rd round FA Cup clash with United after beating fellow non-leaguers Burscough back in December. Burton is managed byNigel Clough, the son of the legendary Forest manager, Brian Clough. When Burton won the game, the odds where against them and everyone was predicting a landslide win for Manchester United, one of the top team in the world. A team of teachers, policemen, postmen or a local bartender who plays football part time does not really match up to professional players who earned £40,000-50,000 a week. Well, the end result of the game just proved to everyone that passion and determination can win u match anytime.

Looking at the United team sheet, it was more like a reserved team were being put out on the field. Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Saha were the only first team regulars while youngsters were filling up the rested players with the likes of Gerard Pique and Phil Bardsley in the defence, Ritchie Jones in the midfield and Giuseppe Rossi upfront. The absent of Neville mean Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who started his first game after almost 2 ½ season out with a serious knee injuries was the captain for the day. Although the team were a pale comparison of the regular squad but there were enough quality in the team to win the match and book United place in the 4th round but obviously Burton had other ideas.

From the kick off, Burton looked more like the team that can win the match. Brown and Pique were having torrid times trying to hold off Gilroy and Harrad who were terrorizing with their runs. United looked more like a conference league team than Burton. Ole was ineffective in almost the entire game when he was on and obviously he was still far away of being match fit. Jones was not the creative play maker needed to break down a tight and discipline Burton defence. Saha and Rossi were struggling to get a pass to do any damage. The condition of the pitch made it even harder for United to play their usual passing game and they have to opt for long balls to get any move going but that should not be a reason for a group of professionals to play badly. At the end of the first half, it was a moral victory for a Burton side who could have gone 2 goals up if not for the clearance on the line by Bardsley who worked his socks off for the team.

I was expecting a different performance by United after some “hair-drying” reminders from the gaffer. United started the half by trying to imposed themselves on the pitch with their passing but again on a sub-standard pitch, it was a hard objective to accomplish. Burton continued their pressing and with the minutes ticking away, the team grew more in confidence. United were chasing and struggling to keep up with the pace of the game as the ball failed to reach the final third of the field. An hour of the game passed when the gaffer realized he needed his big names to up the tempo or get humiliated. Out came Rossi and Ole and in came the 2Rs….Rooney and Ronaldo. Within the 1st minute of their introduction, United were almost one up but Saha threw the chance away with a miss kick. Burton were suddenly chasing and United were having it their way. As the time ticked away, Burton were having 10 men inside their half with Deeney have to save shots by Rooney and Saha and were also reduced to counter attacks. But with United pouring themselves upfront to get that all important goal there were times when United were left wanting at the back. Pique, Brown and Bardsley did a fantastic job in holding off the attacks.

Chances after chances came United way but all were in vain. United were lucky when a handball appeal on Pique was waived off for a foul on him and a deflected shot by Gilfroy did not have the power to guide it past Howard. The best chance for a winner for United came in the injury time when Ritchie Jones was denied by Burton’s keeper Deeney trailing legs when it was on its way in. That would be a cruel blow to a memorable and spirited performance by the non-leaguers. When the whistle was blown to mark the end of the game, the stadium exploded into cheers. Nigel was congratulated and smiling, the team were hugging each other and the fans were crying. Even United fans in the stadium were applauding their opponent but at the same time feeling disappointed and frustrated with the showing of their stars.

It was a game nobody would expect any different scenario. United strolling through another easy victory over a conference league team and it should be a damage limitation exercise for Burton. After 90 minutes of an exciting and pulsating football game, the scoreboard and the reaction of the stadium showed a different ending. It was the same last year with Exeter City although they stumbled in the replay when United pull out all the big guns. It might be the same case for Burton at Old Trafford in a couple of weeks but today it is Burton’s day. Today passion and spirit overcome big money. It may be a draw but for a team like Burton, it was the pinnacle for some of the players that they will tell to their children and grandchildren… the day a postman stop Wayne Rooney from scoring a goal.

Will the fairy tale continue for Burton Albion or will Goliath triumph in the 2nd battle? Neutrals and fairy tale lovers would definitely welcome a Burton win at The Theatre of Dreams but with the likes of Nistelrooy, Scholes, Giggs and a determined Rooney coming into the team, I personally don’t think it will be another upset. United will once again adopt their passing game and that would be hard for Burton to handle. I predict a win for United maybe a 2-0 or 3-0 win but Burton should be proud of their achievement and build on their new found confidence and also the shared profit they will get from the replay at Old Trafford.

Friday, January 06, 2006


An sms greeted my morning yesterday. It was from a close friend back home, Rose. It was quite a surprise as I would not expect her to sms me that early. She sent the sms at about 6 am. I was in tears after I finish reading it. Her daughter, Shaqirah Aqilah had just passed away because of lung infection. She was supposed to be 2 years old on the 14th of January. I saw her last during the Hari Raya when I went to Rose’s house

I was sad and confused. I thought it was supposed to be a simple tonsil operation. What happened? What went wrong? Later that day, rose and her hubby told me what happened. Rose just couldn’t stop crying while Saiful was trying to be strong but from the sound of her voice, he was just devastated.

Adik had her tonsil operation last week on the 28th. I remembered cos Rose sms me to tell me that it was a success. I was glad cos her operation was postponed twice before.The news yesterday was a shock to me because I never thought that anything would go wrong but kita hanya mencuba but Allah S.W.T. yang menentukan.

Rose told me that there were no signs that anything was wrong after the operation. The doctors only realize her lung was infected a day after. It was too late because the infection was spreading fast. Antibiotic was given but it was not working. On Sunday, her right lung collapsed. The doctors tried to instill some hopes dengan menebuk both her lungs. She was breathing with the help of the machine by then. Rose and family just can’t bear to see Adik suffering and they decided to stop the machine and she was gone.

I hope I would never have to make the same decision as Rose and her hubby did. A decision to let go of ur child because u can’t bear to see her suffer. Watching her little body trying to fight and stay alive. I am gonna stop here because….. I don’t know what else to say.

Semoga roh Adik dicucuri rahmat oleh Allah S.W.T. dan semoga Adik ditempatkan di kalangan golongan orang-orang yang beriman. Amin.

To Rose and Saiful, I hope u guys will be strong and terima semua ini sebagai qada’ and qadar daripada Allah S.W.T. Dia menjemput Adik awal untuk bersama-Nya sebab Dia menyayangi Adik.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Morning After

I am sleepy. I only got about 4 hours of sleep before waking up at 8am for work. I am trying to cut down on my caffeine but today, I just have to forget about it because I am in dire need of a black coffee. After 4 days of holidays, I don’t want to start the first day of work in the New Year will a puffy red eye and non productive day. It is not my fault but all this happen because the papers gave the wrong information.

According to the papers yesterday, at 3.55am today, one of the much awaited and biggest match of the season should be played, well for me it is. It was Manchester United Vs Arsenal at Highbury. As I don’t have Astro at my place and I have and a must for me to watch this game, I just have to go to one of the mamak around town to catch it. I mean, if it is United against Sunderland, I wouldn’t even bother to wake up and watch the game even if I do own Astro. Well, I would actually wake up and watch that game if I own Astro…hehehehe. Let me make it a little bit clearer. I would not wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, and drive around Damansara at 3.45am till 4.45am to watch that game. Arsenal V United, missing that match was like having a date with Maya Karin and u stood her up because of work commitment.

So at 3.30am, I woke up after I forced myself to sleep at around 1am. I went straight to the window in my room to check if the kedai mamak kat depan my apartment were open. To my relief, it was and I quickly went to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. No way I was taking a bath at 3.30am so powder and a bit of cheap perfume will do. I thought of wearing my bermuda shorts but I thought better of it. I decided to wear my jeans and my baju melayu.

At first I thought of walking je but it was 3.45am I am in no mood of walking, so I drove. There were three mamak that was still open. I decided to stop at the mamak that set up a big screen. There were a few other people and I took a strategic seat, just two tables from the screen. I was happy cos I can watch the game without distraction and also in comfort. I ordered myself a teh tarik and also roti canai. It was 3.50 and the game was about to start in about 5-10 minutes time. The screen was still showing the movie “Jeepers Creepers 2”. I guess they were just waiting for the game to start before they change the channel, I thought in my head. So I just sat and watched the movie with about 5-6 other guys. My order came and I checked my watch. Hmmm… it was 3.55am but they have yet to change the channel to ESPN. Maybe they will change it at 4.00am so I drank my teh tarik and enjoyed my roti canai. Both are hot and my whole body was thanking me for adding some heat.

10 minutes passed but I am still watching Jeepers Creepers 2 and the other patrons were enjoying the movie. I am getting restless. At the same time, I saw the waiters were cleaning up. Tables were folded, chairs were stacked up and the food was being cleared. Hey, what is going on? Dang, are they closing shop already? Just when the game was starting, they decided it was time to closed shop. Arghh….so I finished up my order and paid. I am getting out of here and look for another place. So like a mad man, at 4.15am, I was driving from Taman Tun to Uptown for the next 30 minutes looking for a mamak that opened and hopefully showing the game. To my frustration, none was. WWE was showing at one mamak while one was showing a Spanish telenovela. Arghhhh…they were not showing the game. I am gonna miss the game. So in frustration and despair I drove back to my apartment. It was almost 5am. I am tired, sleepy and feeling gloomy. I went to sleep straight away but before I doze off, I am still thinking of the reasons why they were not showing the game. The game being postponed or were the satellite connection not working were some of the reasons. I guess I will have to wait for later to know the reasons and also the result.

My alarm woke me up at 8am. I was contemplating of skipping work or maybe just apply for a half day leave cos I was sleepy and tired. 15 minutes after that I just forced myself up and took a cold shower, well, I don’t think I had a hot shower for ages. I got ready for work and when I was already inside the car, I realized that I forgotten to bring my socks along. Arghhh…so I have to go up to the 17th floor, opened the locked door and get the socks.

It was already 9am and as always, I will be listening to the news at 104.9fm. After the usual bad news about accidents and everything else comes the sports news. “Birmingham beat high flyers Wigan 2-0 to ease the relegation battle. Other EPL results are …………..”. Well, the Arsenal and United result must be the last one, I thought. “With Arsenal waiting for United tomorrow morning, Chelsea are 14 points ahead of their closest rival”

Guess, I’ll be having teh tarik and roti canai again at 4am again tomorrow.