(Lydia Teh 01 December 2005)
I'm writing this from Manila. Tonight we had the biggest cheer of all. We had just reached the restaurant for dinner when Lee Hui Seng, the Famemas chairman received an SOS call saying that our presence was needed at the badminton hall. Our male shuttlers were playing the team event. We took off immediately and only reached two hours later due to the peak hour traffic jam. The minute we arrived at the hall, we were told by some people loitering around the gate, "Malaysia needs you now. They're losing 2-0."
Yikes, losing against our arch rival, Indonesia? This was unthinkable. when we walked into the hall, Hafidz Hashim was playing the third match. He was playing his firt set. We cheered like crazy, banging kompangs and drum, flailing and beating our thundersticks and yelled like lunatics. And he won in straight set!!. The tide is changing, yeah!! some of us immediately rushed to the toilet to release all our pent-up bodily liquid, then rushed back to the auditorium again. Our hunger was forgotten. As Lee said later, we sacrificed our tummies for our country.
Next Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah took the court. They won in straight sets too!!. Double yeah!. Now we're tied at 2-2.
When Wong Choon Hann went down to the courts, we were delirious. The gold medal is in within touch. We egged Choon Hann on with our "Go, Malaysia, go!" and shouts of "Malaysia Boleh!!". This time round, the Indonesian supporters were lesser in number compared with the last SEA Games in Vietnam where we were overpowered in number but not in enthusiasm.
Datuk Azalina Othman, Youth and Sports Minister at the VIP stand, kept waving and gesturing to us to cheer some more and we didn't let her down. When Choon Hann won, again in straight sets, she came to us and danced with the Famemas members. Choon Hann, draped in the Jalur Gemilang, came over and highfived us. We were so happy the we've managed to help our shuttlers turn defeat into victory.
Malaysia Panalo! (Tagalog for win.)
After the win, we went back to the restaurant for dinner. Our tour guide had pleaded with them to extend their opening by one hour to accommodate us. We arrived at eleven, guzzled down the food and were on our way to the hotel at midnight.
What a night. As the Beatles sang (in the karaoke dvd in the bus), "It had been a hard day's night. It was time to celebrate. Tomorrow we have a free day off sight-seeing and shopping.