Ola Bola reflective of DAP Firster desperation
First off, let’s lay the facts on the table lest the usual suspects (them sneaky bastard stalkers) maliciously twist my writings to smear me as disrespecting the national squad.
(a) True. The 1980 football team was captained by a Chinese.
(b) The team was indeed fantastically multiracial.
(c) The players were our sporting legends regardless of race.
(d) It was the heyday of Malaysian football when even members of the public who were not soccer fans could recognize the first eleven because their faces were often in the newspaper sports pages and on TV.
(e) The squad made the Olympics. That was a real achievement, and all kudos to our football greats.
So that’s the ‘historical’ details dispensed with above.
Okay, now fast forward to our real-life present day.
James Wong, the striker who donned national jersey No.9 and Hassan Sani, No.10, today gave interviews to the press in Kota Kinabalu. Both are Sabahans.
Malaysiakini reported James as saying that Ola Bola should have stuck to facts.
Fact: Player No.9 – Chinese guy – scored the winning goal. Fiction: In the movie, No.10 – Malay guy – scored.
Speaking to Bernama, Datuk Hassan Sani noted that some of the facts had been changed by the film producer.
“He [Hassan] said the player who scored the goal then had worn the jersey bearing the number 9 and not 10 as in the film.”
Some Chinese were disgruntled by this distortion of historical fact. Malaysiakini refers to the Chinese disgruntlement as “controversy” — see tweet below.
If however the factual distortion went the other way around, i.e. suppose it was Hassan Sani who scored the winning goal in Malaysia’s 1980 qualifying match against South Korea but Ola Bola chose instead to depict Eric (the movie character based on James Wong) as the final goal scorer, then the public outcry would have been even louder.
The film director would surely have been accused of falsifying history to promote Chinese supremacy.
As it is, there have been some allegations that director Chiu Keng Guan distorted a fact in order to pander to Ketuanan Melayu and curry favour with the Umno government.
But the dissatisfaction and condemnation have been muted while by and large, the Chinese community has raved about the film and praising its multiracial nostalgia sky high.
Would the Malay community overlook a converse factual distortion – i.e. movie taking away rightful glory from real-life Malay striker – and still lavish a mountain of praise on Ola Bola?
As a side note, we should bear in mind that many movies do apply artistic license to liberally dramatize or make a melodrama out of real events. And secondly, Ola Bola is a movie conceived to earn its filmmaker oodles of profit in box office takings. It is not a documentary where a more exacting standard of accuracy is mandated.
In terms of production value, Ola Bola is pedestrian, predictable, strained and contrived. It even had a stereotypical buck-toothed character to provide comic relief.
So why the delirious ecstasy shown by the Chinese who are going in droves to watch the movie?
Ticket sales has been phenomenal and Ola Bola looks on course to surpass Polis Evo as the highest-grossing local film.
Malays are watching it because orang Melayu memang gila bola. Indians viewers may have been enticed by Muthu (based on goalie Arumugam) – who has a significant role – and his wise-cracking, cutesy younger sibling(s).
And the Chinese? Well, Ola Bola has taken on the mantle of a trendy social event, much like Chinese selfie attendance at Bersih 4.0.
The ‘moderation’ vehicle of the evangeliSTAR even appeared in the closing credits as one of Ola Bola‘s media sponsors. Other pro-Christian, English-language news portals have been promoting Ola Bola to the hilt as well.
The lead is played by a leng chai actor and his onscreen girlfriend is very pretty. Would Chinese have flocked to the cinema if the hero had not been not a fellow Chinese?
Would the producers have made this film if the captain of the squad were not a Chinese?
But the more interesting point to ponder is why the Chinese have been willing to close one eye to the factual distortion of Ola Bola when they had dissed Tanda Putera, which they claimed distorted a historical event.
Remember, there was a major move by the Chinese to boycott and badmouth Tanda Putera.
[Note: Dyana Sofya was so incompetent that Kit Siang snatched the microphone away from her to take a reporter’s question, and on another occasion, Tony Pua interrupted to speak on Dyana’s behalf at a press conference during the Teluk Intan by-election campaign.)
My theory of the Chinese reaction is that their response has been along the lines of embracing Hannah Yeoh’s tudung wearing. If it was a Wanita MCA leader who had done the same, she would have been mocked, vilified and cursed seven generations.
Another parallel is the Chinese embrace of Dyana Sofya Samad as the DAP candidate in the Teluk Intan by-election. If it was MCA that made way for a Malay candidate (from Umno) – as happened in Wangsa Maju – then the Chinese would have kicked up a ruckus on how our ethnic minority is being made to kowtow and give way to Big Brother.
Underscoring the central theme running through the events listed above is the element of Chinese acceptance of the unpalatable.
(i) Wearing tudung is unacceptable if any of the Chinese-based BN components had done it but endorsed when DAP does it because the bigger agenda – fishing Malay votes – is kept in focus.
(ii) Ceding a Parliament seat where the incumbency is traditionally Chinese is unacceptable if MCA relinquished it to Umno. However, it is acceptable when the unqualified Dyana Sofya leapfrogs over Hew Kuan Yau (the DAP hopeful).
Again, this capitulation is in view of the bigger agenda, which is that DAP needs to display a Malay window-dressing among the ranks of its YBs.
[Note: Out of the DAP’s 143 Yang Berhormats elected to the DUNs and Dewan Rakyat 2013, only two are Malay — Ariff Sabri YB Raub and Tengku Zulpuri YB Mentakab. This works out to a mere 1.4 percent of the DAP’s elected reps being Malay.]
ABOVE: Papa Dapster, Grandpapa Dapster and Baby Dapster
(iii) Chinese are disinterested in the current Harimau ‘Malaysia’ national football squad and very few today play football. But they wax lyrical over a team that was fielded 36 years ago.
As in scenarios (i) and (ii), the Chinese have a bigger agenda of supporting and pushing the DAP political narrative.
And just like the anomalous and artificial situations manufactured in (i) and (ii), the Chinese are tripping over themselves with regard to Ola Bola for the same ulterior motive.