Members of the Malaysian football team which made it to the 1972 Munich Olympics. Out of three games played, Malaysia won one, 3-0 against the United States. FILE PIC

I cover you! This should be the tagline for all Malaysians as we strive to move forward as a team.

I picked up this term from the Ola Bola: The Musical two weeks ago.

It was a smashing performance by the actors from the Harimau Malaya football team.

Harimau Malaya learned the “I cover you” tagline from an army boot camp where they were sent to embrace the spirit of togetherness and play as a team.

There is just no “I” in a team.

I agree.

It was an honour and humbling experience to have the chance to share the laughter, sadness, commitment and determination of Harimau Malaysia.

And, the musical scores were simply great.

One of my favourites was the patriotic song Perajurit Tanah Air or widely known as Inilah Barisan Kita.

It instantly brought back memories of my childhood as this song was aired almost daily then.

I could still clearly recall how my friends and I would get into character and act out the lyrics as we sang it at the top of our lungs. It was fun!

The song has kept me grounded by reminding me that it was crucial to work as a team in today’s context and we should never back down from any task as well as challenges that are thrown at us.

Teamwork is a significant value to have, even for those in politics.

When I was told that Harimau Malaya had to go to boot camp to re-learn the value of teamwork, I thought perhaps those in politics should do the same.

Crazy as it may sound, boot camp may be the answer to recapture the spirit of togetherness.

There are just too many “I”, “me” and “myself” nowadays, which has turned many of us into self-centred and selfish individuals.

Leading a team, either a football team or a country, is one and the same.

We cannot have “I” in a team. We cannot have “I” in politics.

Period.

To make sure that Malaysia remains a great nation, the leaders and the people must move as one.

In an Atlantic magazine’s cover story, How American Politics Went Insane, Brookings Institution senior fellow Jonathan Rauch tells the story of the American government suffering from a “chaos syndrome”.

Rauch defines it as “a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organisation.

“It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers — political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees — that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time.

“As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomises. Chaos becomes the new normal — both in campaigns and in the government itself,” Rauch argued.

For Malaysia’s sake, we can ill afford a chaos syndrome.

This is where teamwork comes into play, to maintain peace and harmony in every aspect of our beloved country’s progress and development.

Calls after calls have been made by the country’s leaders, urging Malaysians to safeguard their unity and uphold Eastern values.

And, I, too, join in the chorus to call for teamwork.

Also, this may not be a known fact to many but studies have shown that teamwork can make one smarter. Yes, I kid you not.

Scientists have found evidence that cooperation and teamwork boost intelligence. And, brain sizes, too.

The study was reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and was led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin, PhD student Luke McNally and Assistant Professor Dr Andrew Jackson at the School of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Dr Sam Brown of the University of Edinburgh.

The war drums for the 14th General Election have been sounded with the ruling party and the opposition making preparations for it while waiting for the dissolution of Dewan Rakyat.

Personally, I am keen to explore the possibility to boost my brain power through teamwork.

azuraa@nst.com.my

With more than 15 years in journalism and a master’s in Counselling Psychology, Azura Abas is always drawn to the mystery of the human mind and behaviours.

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