Tweeting twits will not spoil the nation's praise for Datuk Lee Chong Wei
ALL AROUND the country, people of all colours and creeds were glued to the television on Sunday evening, all urging on their champion shuttler to victory and Malaysia's dream of bagging its first-ever Olympic gold, craving to see their ensign raised at London's Wembley Stadium and the national anthem ringing in the air. A much wished-for historic moment was cementing a nation together. And, Datuk Lee Chong Wei as that shuttler was almost singlehandedly trying to fulfil a nation's aspiration: that of arriving on the Olympic threshold as having produced a mighty Olympian. Indeed, here was an individual who has captured the people's imagination, embodied 1Malaysia and, at least for a moment, solidified it into a reality as palpable as the much hoped for gold medal. That the match was so closely fought between our sporting hero and his Chinese nemesis helped make the support more passionate and the pride in being Malaysian truly heartfelt.
Such a slim victory for Lin Dan was proof undeniable that the few contrarians were not only ignorant and contemptuous of the national mood, but also oozing in mischief. For, what else could explain that defining moment of the game when the shuttlecock trickled over the net in favour of China if not luck? An invisible hand intervened to floor Lee and us, his countrymen and women. Lee had visibly and valiantly done all he could and if he had taken gold, those happiest would be us, the Malaysians for whom he was playing. Of course, he would be over the moon having achieved his crowning glory as an Olympic gold medallist. But his profuse apologies and held-back tears for not delivering clearly showed that the 2012 Olympic badminton final went beyond personal ambition and glory. He wanted to give Malaysians their dearest wish.
Of greatest importance, however, is that this event has clearly demonstrated how possible unity is and what actually can threaten it. On the one hand, we the people want nothing better than being one nation united in its endeavours. On the other, is the unembarrassed opportunism of petty-minded politicians. "Insensitive" is the gentlest of the epithets to have been thrown at them, not least by their own parties. An apology to our hero is their only redemption and some plausible explanation for their unsound judgment. Maybe voters ought to beat some sense into them at the next election. In the name of national integration and unity, Malaysians cannot suffer political leaders who lack patriotism and a sincere appreciation of sacrifice because every sporting effort by a Malaysian in international meets is another step towards 1Malaysia.