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Published: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 9:43:00 PM
Updated: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 10:31:49 PM

GLASGOW BEAT: Kilts and bagpipes but no Nessie – yet

THE men in kilt are a sight to behold. They do look good, honestly!

The music from the bagpipes is soothing to the ears. I can still hear this one man playing the tune of “Amazing Grace” ... oh! how sweet it sounded.

The taste of their local food – haggis, especially – ah well, it all depends on whether one can stomach the intestines of sheep.
I have grown to like it.

So far, Scotland has been how I had imagined it to be – eye-catching sceneries and breathtaking architectures, old buildings that stand out majestically, good food and friendly people – well most of them, anyway.

It is simply beautiful – more so because of its rich history.

The only thing that I have yet to experience – or rather see – is their mystical monster Nessie.

I was told that if I downed two glasses of Scotland’s famous whisky, I can see this big and long creature emerging from one of the lochs’ (lakes)!

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I do not drink.

Seriously, Scotland has been portrayed to be an ideal place to host this year’s 20th Commonwealth Games.

They have taken a whole lot of trouble to make it as comfortable as possible for the 6,500 athletes.

They have gone to great lengths to get all walks of people in Scotland to serve as volunteers (and without any dough, mind you) – from students to retirees and even those on wheelchairs – a total of 15,000 of them.

They may have gone over the top with some of their rules – but that’s Scottish eh!

Come this Sunday, it will be declared the “best Games ever” during the closing ceremony – even if the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt of Jamaica had been reported to have said otherwise (and as quick as a lightning bolt, he denied that he had said it).

But will these Games be the “best ever” for Malaysia? Will Glasgow hold special memories for a nation that is gripping with so much heartache after being hit by one tragedy after another?

Many Malaysian sports officials are having cold sweat – can Malaysia even meet the seven gold-medal target? Forget about surpassing the 12 golds won at the last Games.

We have missed some chances of adding to the gold medal tally in rhythmic gymnastics, shooting, cycling and lawn bowls. The whipping of the rugby boys and the awful performances of the men’s hockey team have already taken some shine out of the Games for Malaysia so far.

Winning medals is important. Playing with pride is also important.

To me, the stories of heart-warming performances by athletes, great team work and kind acts of the officials are the ones that will be remembered for a long time – even after leaving this Scottish land.

Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang for one, stood out for me.

Did any of you catch a glimpse of Azizul, the men’s sprint bronze medallist gesturing with his hands to show the height difference between him and champion Matthew Glaetzer of Australia on the podium during the medal ceremony?

It brought laughter to the crowd at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome but it made such a strong statement.

He may be shorter and smaller than the others, but his will power and determination is simply greater than many – a fine quality that many youngster these days lack – and should emulate.

He has a heart of gold too – promising to auction off his bronze medal for charity.

There is veteran shooter Nur Suryani Taibi, a mother of one.

At every Games, she rises to the occasion, no matter how strong the field is. She proves that there are Malaysian athletes with strong mindset in the house too.

In badminton and table tennis, a special bond among the team members was evident.

That could have been one of the major contributing factors for the Malaysian badminton team, without Lee Chong Wei, beating England 3-1 for the mixed team gold.

And it was absolutely amazing to see the table tennis team win a breakthrough silver despite being so dependent on old-timer Beh Lee Wei and the still-recovering Ng Sock Khim.

While most of the action was in Glasgow, not many know how team manager Datuk Musa Omar had to battle it out with the chefs in the hotel where the shooters stayed at Carnoustie – to get them to provide food for the athletes during Ramadan.

Some of the athletes broke fast at 9.54pm but the kitchen was closed at 9pm.

Yes, there were disappointments. Yes, there were athletes in the contingent who were mere passengers. Yes, there were officials here just out for a joy ride.

But to the athletes who gave their best; to the officials who did their best to serve the athletes – Well done!

The Games will hold a special spot in your hearts.

The writer will not forget how a few volunteers walked with her for 30 minutes alongside a scenic golf course – that was the only way out from the shooting venue – to send her back to the nearest train station after she missed the last bus from Carnoustie to Glasgow. That Scottish goodness will be treasured – as will the Games.

Tags / Keywords: Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, Glasgow Beat


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