WHEN SPORTS AND ARTS COLLIDE

by - Hesmel Faznee Faisal

Salam, to fellow bloggers and readers of this self proclaimed blog!

I was quite surprised when Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, announced recently that beginning next year, all sports activities are compulsory to students.

This decision is quite drastic and will lead to marginalizing students who are not very keen in sports or have health problems with the active and robust ones. Tun Dr Mahathir, the fourth Prime Minister is not an avid sports fan or was very active in sports in school (there were stories that suggests the Tun, as a teenager were very active in rugby, which I found it hard to believe!) but in the end he became one of the most respected leaders in our country. Only when he was in his 60’s he then decided to take up horse riding as a hobby.

One thing I believed is that there will always be a flip of the coin to this decision. More importantly, the Government must also encourage students to be active in arts as well.

We have to realize that the declining admiration towards arts within the younger generation is worrisome. Not all are well too versed with the traditional art form, namely the Wayang Kulit, Makyong, Wayang Gedek, Katakali, Dragon Dance, Chinese Opera or Awang Batil. I do not want to see my children be brought up akin to that of a living corpse (atau macam Zombie Kampung Pisang, Jose!) and have zero appreciation on arts.

If the Government insists on making sports a compulsory for students in school, they must also at least consider arts as a compulsory activity for the indoor curriculums.

The Government may have a righteous intention to produce hundreds or thousand of athletes but to create an excellent one needs hard work and talent at the same time. How can we afford to concentrate on all of them if they do not have the desire or the consciousness to become a patriotic person? To become an excellent sportsman one must have strong patriotic feeling for his country. Period!

Where art is concern, everyone is born with a gift of talent and in order to nourish it the Government should provide more facilities for them to expose it.

We can’t brush off the fact that it will take more than a generation to produce great athletes who can shiningly perform well in the international sports arena. Our future generation does not have the perseverance, determination or courage compared to athletes from China, Japan or other third world countries like us.

By saying this, I am not trying to belittle our athletes. The fact that their inability to perform well and have never made to the final in track and field in the international arena is thought provoking! The furthest they can go is getting gold medals from the SEA Games which I don’t find it something to be proud of or to shout at!

I suggest that the Government would emphasize arts an activity that is as important as sports. When a child knows how to appreciate arts, he too will appreciate the nature as these two elements jived well with each other. A painter needs nature to paint and will paint it on a canvas to express his appreciation towards the beauty of scenery.

At the same time an artiste can promote his works and his country through the beautiful painting of landscapes. The late Datuk Ibrahim Hussien was a well known artiste through his art work and was well respected by world class artistes!

At the end of the day there is pointless to produce excellent sportsmen; they are unable to stop the jungle of their backyard from being torn down in order to make way for a new stadium or sports facilities.

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