The Appreciative Man Of Zanylon

Sometimes it’s a blessing to touch base with the notion that your life is perhaps so much better.I think you can identify with me on this.On the fact that a sense of appreciation is actually a sense of feeling coming from within.Yes,truth is sometimes we do need that tinge of appreciation from those around us.Friends,colleagues,loved ones and so forth.But what happens,when those gratifications from an external source is no longer granted,or have perhaps never been given at all?

Syahrein,gave me an insight today.Well,the conversations with him did actually.I had invited him along for the friendly match I had today.Just a preview of who Syahrein is.He was a close friend of myself and Kai in our secondary years.Close enough for me to actually regard him as one of the original trinity way back then.Anyway,Syahrein had went through  a dark period of teenage angst during those years.In my casual words of description,he mentally ‘snapped’.As a result he was stopped from school and given psychiatric treatments.Even to this very day.

My point is this.Here is an individual,who at 17 years of age,was taunted,called crazy and mad,shunned by the school and friends.He was seen as the perennial psycho who would snap at the slightest provocation and the extreme loner.The intensity of a failed emotional encounter,can bring many to their knees,which in this case,was far worse.Over the past years,I’ve tried my best to keep that congenial touch with him.Messaging him.Asking him how he was doing.Kai,also got in the act occasionally.That’s the best,we friends could do.

As I was walking with him to the designated school for the match,I managed to catch up with him on his current life.My heart bled when he mentioned casually that he was probably not in top notch condition to play.I asked him why and he said that he had just been discharged after a 5 weeks stay in the mental hospital.Apparently his father had admitted him,upon the belief that his son,(Syahrein) was delusional.He was clearly exasperated,as he mentioned that his father’s obsession about getting him cured for mental illness was overwhelming,when in actuality,he was now all sound and healthy.The medications he had been taking,has contributed to a ferocious appetite that made him eat to a ballooning size.His speech is slightly slurred and heavily whispy.The medications,he said.He told me about the verbal and physical abuses he received from,patients and caretakers at the institute he was in.He told me about how his sibling shuns him like a leper.He told me about his dad,whom he believes is the one with the mental illness,(which I’m inclined to believe).He only plays soccer at the street soccer court on weekends from 4 to 8 pm.He had just been thrown out of Ngee Ann polytechnic.And he is deeply interested in writing articles for the New Paper,which he has been doing quite reqularly for years now.He’s been called “pig” from the 18 year old boys from his street soccer escapades.He’s been branded kental(wuuse) and even resigned to playing a goalkeeper because he was rated as only 3/10 in terms of playing ability.So in my simple words,he’s clearly not appreciated by his family members,friends or the few that he calls them and by far and large,a judgemental society.

But has that made this bloke resentful and revengeful?Angry and full of disdain and blame?

Or is he in his own words,”I know where I stand.I’m good in something,and that’s all that matters.”

Now,that’s so insightfully curt coming from a man deemed as deranged and mentally unstable.It’s a slap on that pathetic face of those clamouring for attention or those not absolved of the blaming game.It’s a good hammer knock on the empty heads of those seeking for the glamorised world of attention and appreciation.Because in that short sentence from an “unsound man” rings the ultimate truth in self affirmation.

That the best person to appreciate you is you.

I felt humbled and appreciative of my life,for that matter.Syahrein is resigned to the conclusion that he may not get married considering his history.His last online relationship was shortly ended when his dad decide to do the kind deed of sending “thank you” gifts to the girl,and notifying her of Syahrein’s history,and in so doing,gently imploring that the relationship should end.Whilst we were walking in,he asked,”Eh Kai married already?” I said no. “But does he have a girlfriend?” I said yes. And his answer was,”He should ah.He’s good looking what.” That’s how a deranged man says it,in appreciation of his friends.

Syahrein played for a mere 10 minutes today,but it was so nice seeing a fellow football enthusiast just putting on his football boots for the sheer passion of it.Without that clamour for glamour.He even offered to pay for the game fees which I rejected,citing that it will be on me.For a person who’s not working,deranged,staying at Hougang and coming all the way…his efforts mean more to me than collecting that $10.

Today’s game of football,left a lot of reflection on my part.The process of rebuilding a new bunch of players can be painstaking,but it has also left a deeper impression on me,on that legacy building of leadership.I have a distaste in my mouth at the fact that,the team will be in the process of looking out for players.From a pretty paper number of having at least 25 players,we are now looking at collecting players from every corner of the island.But as I looked around at the faces that greeted me today at the field,I grasped an essence,which I’ll employ in my workshops and seminars in the future about team building.It is that essence called perpective.

I highlighted to Capt that the exodus of players,could be down to lack of playing time,the team not being appreciative of super individuals or just plain commitments.But Capt highlighted a poignant point which I agreed and upon which I am reflecting on now.How do we appreciate the efforts of someone like Kai,who had been painstakingly,yet not complainingly,updating the site?How do we appreciate the presence of Abang Sani,who came back in slightly less than two months after a major accident?How do we appreciate the organizational skills of Azam,who will be better off tending his farms on the weekends?How do we appreciate the leadership and strategy guidance of the Capt when he has a vibrant family life,he can attend to?How do we appreciate such on and off the field presence?Have a website dedicated fully to them,adorned with statistics and info on their contributions?Or how about having them not contributing to the team funds?Or have them installed as the Championship Manager of Redbacks FC,with full reigns over tactics and substitutions?How?Even I cannot answer to that question.And coming from the ever opiniated Jaz,that is something.

Perhaps my sentiments and attachments to the team is called for.For,even after years of bitching and whining,I am still one leg kicking in the team.I’ve grown to appreciate the individual contributions we have all put into.Clearly,I see the castle as building blocks of bricks and mortar,and everyone that came and build it to be a part of its illustrious grandeur.I’m not particularly bothered as to who built the ivory tower.It still had to rest on the foundations of bricks and mortar.It’ll be so nice to survive through seasons of football,with just one team,but that is not realistic.For even in the context of Manchester United,it’s evidently seen that the team is till there even after mass exoduses of big time Charlies such as Ince,Cantona,Beckham,Stam,Veron,Bosnich,Nistelrooy and Barthez.And of course,they all had their versions of reasons as to why they left.Players like Scholes,Giggs,G Neville and Van Der Sar just makes sure that the current crop of players do not let their oversized egos get the better of them.I think that in this era of info overload,Fergie is right.Some players just believe their own hype.

Moving forward,it’s a rush to feel so bare as a team once again.I think the penultimate conclusion will be about seeing my Fikri lead his own band of Redbacks Junior FC.With Kai’s and Azam’s coming along,it’ll be fun to watch the little toddlers create that brand of “possesive football”.Oh well,time to plan…

My day has been enlightened.Syahrein with his brand of deranged philosophies.Redbacks with their brand of brotherhood formalities.From an individual and a unit,I felt a deep sense of appreciation and being appreciated.It’s an “in”thing.There is a time for everything,and I believe the time is now to do something worthwhile with a life.Yours or mine…

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2 thoughts on “The Appreciative Man Of Zanylon

  1. That’s beautiful man. It made me think too. I was taken aback by the gratitude that Syahrein showed when I gave him my boots. It was like a boy getting the toy he always wanted for his birthday. I’m quite harsh on him sometimes but in that moment, I had a humbling experience. There’s is something magical about giving to others. I’m looking forward to our “date” soon.

    Somehow, Redbacks will always be a big part of me. The attachment I have to the team is unlike any other and no matter what happens, we will always try our best to make sure that this team survives. As long as people like Azhar, Abang Sani and Azam keep up the support unit that we have, I believe there will be a day when our juniors will continue the legacy of the Spiders. This may be something that is hard to understand for some due to their own personal motives but we can’t blame them. We’ve been around since Day One and insyaAllah, we’ll be here for many years to come.

  2. Apparently,we do not need to give anything in monetory terms to appreciate the act of selflessness.It’s in such moments,that we appreciate the act of growing up too.Heh.

    Redbacks is summed up by our trips.We’ve been playing long enough to know that no amount of goals and assists can replicate or buy the euphoric experiences of bond building.

    KL trip is still the best trip in my entire life.

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