PERSPECTIVE: Always look on the bright side of life
TO me, the finest moment during the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony was Monty Python's comedian Eric Idle singalong Always Look On The Bright Side of Life -- a tune from the comedy troupe's film Life of Brian.
The movie was a box-office success, reportedly the fourth highest grossing film in the United Kingdom in 1979 and highest of any British film in the United States that year. Some dubbed it the "greatest comedy film of all time".
The London 2012 Olympics in many ways mirrored the lyrics of the song, for example: "Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad/Other things just make you swear and curse/ When you're chewin' on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle/And this'll help things turn out for the best/And always look on the bright side of life/Always look on the light side of life."
This is certainly true of Malaysian Olympians who have tried their best but still found their achievements wanting, except perhaps the first female Malaysian medallist for diving, Pandelela Rinong, who sprang a surprise on almost everyone! She took the bronze in the 10m diving event at the recent Olympics when all were, until then, fixated on winning a gold in badminton.
She is a jaguh kampung (village champion) from Kampung Jugan in Sarawak who turned jaguh dunia (world champion). Malaysians generally have a very poor perception of jaguh kampung and are naive of the fact that all jaguh dunia began as jaguh kampung.
In other words, without a village champion, there is no world champion.
I am also particularly pleased that she is one of us; not an imported version just because Malaysia desperately wants to be highlighted at the Olympics.
This seems to be the practice adopted by many countries, at times in direct contradiction to their immigration policies.
I am sure if the Rohingyas, whose sufferings are being ignored by the international community, can promise a gold medal or two, many will rush to their rescue. Such is the hypocrisy of sport which became even more apparent during the London Olympics.
Just look at the scandal brought about by the female doubles badminton teams of China, South Korea and Indonesia. Instead of playing to win, they did the reverse by throwing matches so that they will lose!
Started by the Chinese, despite official warnings, the South Koreans unashamedly followed suit, so too the Indonesians!
All eight players were charged with misconduct and subsequently expelled from the Games.
For them, these lyrics from Idle's song seem fitting: "When you're feeling in the dumps, don't be silly chumps/Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing/And always look on the bright side of life/Come on, always look on the bright side of life."
The bright side is that they are not banned from the next Olympics, or for life!
Olympics women's shot-put champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk from Belarus was stripped off the gold medal after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid (metenolone), reported the International Olympic Committee.
The gold medal was awarded to New Zealand's Valerie Adams, while Russian Evgeniia Kolodko won silver and China's Gong Lijiao got the bronze.
Doping is always sensitive any way you cut it. Carl Lewis' statement referring to the Jamaican athletes, especially Usain Bolt, is an example.
Lewis was quoted as saying: "So when people ask me about Bolt, I say he could be the greatest athlete of all time.
"But for someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don't question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you're a fool. Period."
Bolt's replied: "I'm going to say something controversial. Carl Lewis -- I have no respect for him. The things he says about the track athletes are very downgrading. I think he's just looking for attention, because nobody really talks about him. I've lost all respect for him. All respect."
Indeed, the Olympics is about respect, more than anything else. Respect for human endurance and hard work, respect for the rules of sport in healthy competition and, finally, respect for the spirit of camaraderie that always looks on the bright side of life!