Maradona spoiled me. 

Mexico ’86 was the first full football tournament I watched. The excitement began well before, when every recess time a bunch of us nine-year-olds would huddle in the Saint Andrew’s School canteen, sometimes near the char kway teow uncle’s corner, sunlight creeping in to light his halo. 

We would pull little Panini packets out of our navy blue shorts and conduct the daily sticker exchange. By then school had become a distraction, our emotional cycles guided by football sticker fate. 

Even if the packet that you nervously tore open the evening before did not deliver, there was a chance that during recess you could trade. Some show offs would show up with rare commodities such as Gary Lineker or the glittering golden team stickers, insisting that they were strictly not for trade; only to later accept some ridiculous five-stickers-for-one offer. We were starting to learn about which friends would one day make great salesmen; and which friends should forever be kept far from the money.

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The last time Liverpool won the league

The last time Liverpool won the league I had just entered secondary school in Singapore. And my dreams of playing football were about to be crushed. 

The father thought that football would distract me from my studies. And the principal thought that football would distract us from rugby. St. Andrew’s School, founded in 1862 by the British, had a rich rugby heritage that seemed to be in decline, caught pincer-like between traditional rivals Raffles and the new upstarts at Dunearn. 

Harry Tan, an ageing patriarch with viewpoints as stiff as his weak back, one day decreed that he was banning school football so that young athletes could focus on rugby. Upon hearing the news Indra Sahdan Daud, the football phenomenon in our team who would go on to captain Singapore, packed his bags and left for St. Gabriel’s.

So while we played rugby inside the school, we played football outside the school, using a plastic ball that drifted in the wind, on a cement handball court that was primed for bruises and sprains, smack in the middle of Potong Pasir, then proudly the only opposition ward in the whole country. 

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Dear football fans: a video

  For fans of the English Premier League. From the perspective of a Singaporean. Before I begin work on a series of socio-political videos, I wanted to make one video at home by myself, from camera and lighting to editing. Partly so I know what’s involved, and also partly so I’m self-sufficient with video if need be. I know all this comes easily to many … Continue reading Dear football fans: a video

human frailty as told by Zinedine

let me preface my World Cup Final observations by admitting how much I admire Zidane. His swansong I awaited like a numbed coke head, yearning for the highs of yesteryear, yet never truly expecting much more. that it ended bittersweet was very French, very fitting and very forgettable, the effects of whisky having a far more brutal effect on my memory than age did on … Continue reading human frailty as told by Zinedine

football in america

like most of you, i have been glued to the world cup. following it here, in the US, has been a particularly fascinating experience. Speaking to Americans and listening to American commentators has given me some insights into their thoughts on football, and maybe, life. americans have an obsessions with stats. at many inopportune moments during a game, ESPN will indulge in a computer graphic … Continue reading football in america

The Ticket Auntie only strikes fear in the hearts of some

“What la, these fellas, spend hundred dollars on petrol, one two dollars also cannot put,” said the Skinny Tamil as he walked past me. I was sitting on the Astroturf at St. Wilfred’s Sports Complex, off St. George’s Rd, Bendemeer. I quite like playing there. Except for the micro black rubber sand that squirms into every possible crevice on your person – shorts, shirts, boots, … Continue reading The Ticket Auntie only strikes fear in the hearts of some