Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shamim's travelogue

Loose cannon had the good fortune to see with his own eyes the fervour and passion espoused by the Ultra Nippons, the group of die-hard fans when they travelled with the Japanese Olympic team that boasted Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono, Junichi Inamoto and Shunsuke Nakamura, among others, to Hong Kong exactly a decade ago.

They moved in herds and were unabashed in their support for their fellow Japanese as loose cannon observed, wide-eyed in amazement. "No way can this take place in Malaysia and among Malaysians," the pessimist in loose cannon said.

But of course there are exceptions to the rule. Take Shamim Imran for example. This chap took the trouble to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Laos via train to witness the historic moment as Malaysia ended the 20-year wait for the gold medal in football, the gold that really matters in SEA Games, whereas loose cannon was in the comforts of the IBC at Wisma Angkasapuri. Pictures courtesy of Shamim's facebook.

Datuk Subahan Kamal, coach K. Rajagobal, Lt Jen Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad and Tan Cheng Hoe may not believe it but the two chaps in the picture travelled via Danok to reach Vientiane

Shamim's travelogue should be made into a book. On the right is Eric Samuel, football writer from the Star.

Excerpts from Part 1 of his LONG TREK TO VIENTIANE

Campeone! Campeone! Ole, ole, ole...

Campeone! Campeone! Ole, ole, ole...

The cheers that disturbed the gloomy mood of the Vietnamese fans outside the Main Stadium in Laos (I can't remember the name..) when Khairi, Tom and myself, sang like crazy idiots following the historic reclamation of the gold medal that mattered for most Malaysians (no disrespect to other disciplines that rewarded the country too). We are champions again in SEA Games football..the first time in 20 years, our football's greatest achievement since Trevor Hartley's boys bagged the top place in KL 89' (beating the old enemy Singapore), when the three of us were in Form 1 at BBBS..

For myself and Tom, definitely this was the pinnacle of a crazy journey that began 3 days earlier, unplanned, Amazing Race styled, from KL..For Khairi, I'm sure it was a highlight, but probably the Lao Girl shared plaudits too..hahahaahahah..

The Idea
When Malaysia hammered Timor Leste in the group stage, I said to Tom, "kalau Malaysia masuk semi, amacam kalau kita pi Laos", and this man, in an instant (please note, he's been to the Olympics before), said "okay". Well we didn't think too seriously of it, especially after losing 3-1 to Vietnam, but the narrow win over Thailand in the do or die battle guaranteed our place there and the deal was back on!

The menu was typically recognisable...I had a masala tosai, but I can't remember what did Tom and Khairi have...I think Tom had beriani though..the taste buds were certainly turned on, as everything looked so sedap..haaaha..I also ordered a Banana shake..memang sedap nak mampus...prices were fair...ohhh I forgot to mention, due to the lack of Bahts, after wasting 80000kip on lunch, we changed another 1000Bahts immediately after makan...we got about 250,000kip for that...boleh lah...kip is like our ringgit at one time, nobody wanted it outside country borders, it's the same with no point in changing too much of it, since Baht is still accepted in Laos...back to dinner, Tom made friends with 3 older Kedahans (who were dining next to us) and had been in Vientiane for the past three days, but they failed to gain tickets to watch the match..they said it wasn't sold at venues, and had no idea where to find..they said they even tried to ask from Mr.Fahmi, but Fahmi couldn't help..finally it hit Tom that this were the 3 blokes who asked Fahmi's help, as Fahmi described in the stadium earlier today...small world man!! But it's not exactly difficult to find a Malaysian in halal is the common denominator for Muslims..
Shamim and friends, loose cannon tabik lu orang la!

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