Category Archives: sports

Of Fauna, Flora and Bola…

This article may rile some folks.

Football (aka Soccer) is a game that is accorded a near-cult status these days – with the players almost being worshipped like gods. 

But strangely, to me it is nearly impossible to understand what is so exciting about 22 specimens of living Fauna chasing after 1 spherical piece of dead Fauna (footballs used to be made of leather), on a flat patch of Flora (the field).

My psychologist told me that perhaps it has to do with my childhood encounter with the game.  My skin was (still is) allergic to grass – once the bola* has touched grass and hit my legs, an unstoppable itch developed.  Haiz, this particular Fauna indeed has an aversion to some Flora.

So since that first day of Standard One in school, I had to avoid contacting grass, even in PE lessons. 

*bola = Malay word for ball

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What’s The Name Of The Game?

In Malaysia and Singapore it used to be “Sepak Raga” but in other SE Asian countries the game went by other names.

Then in 1960, these nations got together and after much kicking, head-butting and bickering (or maybe wickering), decided to adopt the Thai version.  Hence Sepak Raga became Sepak Takraw.  Perhaps, “Sepak Raga” sounded dangerously close to “Kicking The Bucket” when translated into English.

I have always been fascinated  by the high-flying upside-down kicks executed by the experts.  But as a kid I was also warned not to do head-butts, as too many hard knocks “could lead to PHD (permanent head damage)”

I have not played a game for ages now; and was surprised to learn that the old rattan ball is now superseded by colourful ones made from synthetic resins.